The actors viewpoint

The actor's viewpoint has been developed in the rational choice theory which describes decision-making models related to the progress of individual choice processes (Pellikaan, 1994). Initially, these models were based on the image of the individual as homo economicus who ranks his preferences rationally in an economic order as the basis for his decision. Later, they came to be based on the image of the individual as homo sociologicus who has different types of considerations for his preferences and decisions: not only individual (economic) interests but also altruism, solidarity, social norms and so on. The actor's viewpoint is based on the latter image.

Moreover, according to this perspective each individual shapes his order of preferences at the moment when he has to decide, i.e. while acting. This implies that where individuals have to take a decision together, something which on paper could be considered a dilemma between them will not necessarily turn out to be so. Conversely, what appears to be a problem-free issue may well prove to be a dilemma in practice .

The actor's viewpoint is significant in team design because preferences are formed mainly during the design process. As a result, new solutions can be devised and combined in new ways. This means that designers and users can voice their preferences for such solutions only during the design process. The actor's viewpoint implies that, even without enforced social norms and commitment to constituencies, actors can adopt a co-operative attitude.

People are not selfish by definition. Individuals have their own subjective preferences, their own view of the best outcome and in a group there will always be several preference orderings for one and the same group dilemma. Only in practice will it become clear whether a specific collective issue that is a dilemma on paper will actually be so in reality. And, conversely, an issue that seems uncontroversial on paper might turn out to be a dilemma in practice.

In short, one cannot say in advance how preferences and goals will be weighted. This can only be established on the basis of concrete actions. We shall look at the optimum Open Design from the actor's viewpoint. This viewpoint means that actors (designers) must above all have the opportunity, as they work together, to weigh their preferences and goals during the design process. The design method they use must cater for this.

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