Exploration of the Mirroring Hypothesis as an Early Design Phase Parameter

2019-06-11T16:13:29Z (GMT) by Alexandra Marie Dukes
The mirroring hypothesis states the organization architecture and the product architecture tend to “mirror” or mimic each other. There are two types of investigations into this phenomenon: descriptive and normative. Descriptive studies ask whether mirroring is present in an organization/product pair. Normative studies ask whether mirroring affects the performance of an organization/product pair. Much of the mirroring hypothesis literature claims to observe mirroring or claims mirroring improves the performance of the product. While there is still work to be done in the descriptive and normative realms of mirroring hypothesis research, there is a distinct gap in research investigating mirroring in the design phase of products and whether it can be used as a strategy during that phase. This work aims to demonstrate that differently mirrored organization/product pairs working the same example problem produce different design solutions. This demonstration leads into an investigation on where in the life cycle mirroring would be most useful as a design parameter when designing a product. The results of this thesis show that for this specific example problem, mirroring has an effect on the design solutions, and given a Department of Defense acquisition life cycle, there are opportunities where mirroring could be advantageous to use as a design strategy. This work challenges others interested in the topic to not just ask why does mirroring occur in design, but how can it be used to make the design better.