An Ontology-Based Competence Model for Collaborative Design

An Ontology-Based Competence Model for Collaborative Design

Vladimir Tarasov (Jönköping University, Sweden), Kurt Sandkuhl (Jönköping University, Sweden) and Magnus Lundqvist (Jönköping University, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-110-0.ch013
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Collaborative design in dispersed groups of engineers creates various kinds of challenges to technology, organization and social environment. This paper presents an approach to description and representation of the competences needed for a planned collaborative design project. The most important competence areas are identified starting from the nature of design work, problem solving in design teams, and working in distributed groups. The competence model is built structuring these areas according to three perspectives: general, cultural, and occupational competences. An ontological representation is proposed to implement the described model for collaborative design competence. Using an ontology language for representation of collaborative design competence models makes it possible to identify those individuals who are best suited for the collaboration by ontology matching. Furthermore, a software design team consisting of two persons was interviewed and competence profiles were created using the developed ontological representation. Modeling of the team members has confirmed that the proposed approach can be applied to modeling competences needed for collaborative design in engineering fields.
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Importance Of Competence: Findings From An Empirical Investigation

During March – June 2005, an empirical investigation was carried out in Sweden aimed at studying how information is used in Swedish authorities and small- and medium sized enterprises. The main objective of this investigation was to identify the connection between information use and different work related aspects rather than to focus on collaborative design or formation of teams in collaborative design. The aspects considered in the investigation were work processes, resources, and organizational structures, with the purpose of better understanding the information demands that motivate demand-driven information supply. Nevertheless, the investigation resulted in some interesting findings regarding the importance of competence in the creation of informal information exchange channels.

The investigation comprised 27 interviews with individuals from three different organizations, The Swedish Board of Agriculture, Kongsberg Automotive, and Proton Engineering, the last two being suppliers within the automotive industry. It was performed as a series of semi-structured interviews. Because the results were intended to be used in other research projects, these 27 individuals where chosen in such a way that they constitute a sample of all levels of the investigated organizations, i.e. from top-level management via middle management down to production- and administrative personnel.

To understand and analyze information demands, it is important to examine not only activities, roles and available resources but also in what situations and for what reasons individuals chose to retrieve the needed information from other individuals rather than from existing information systems (Lundqvist, 2005). Without taking into account that all work situations also have a social aspect that is not addressed by means of technology alone, information demand and the fulfillment thereof can never be fully understood. The investigation was expected to result in a number of interesting findings considering this aspect and it really confirmed this idea to a high degree.

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