ValueD: a model of cognitive value determination in design

M. Reber, A. H. B. Duffy, L. Hay, R. I. Whitfield

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In spite of the increasing importance placed on the creation and delivery of value, it is unclear what value is and how it is determined in design. In this paper, the first descriptive model of value determination (ValueD) is presented to clarify the key elements and mechanisms involved. ValueD describes value determination as a cognitive process that is situated and dependent on an agent's knowledge. The variables involved are: an entity interpreted by an agent; a situation of an agent; knowledge of an agent; a criteria prioritisation activity; a criteria selection activity; and a criteria judgement activity. The output of the value determination process is a value statement. Value is shown to refer to a judgement on the extent an interpreted entity satisfies an agent's criteria. The ValueD model is evaluated through comparison against seven axioms of value and a protocol analysis of an engineering design episode. The article concludes with a discussion of strengths, limitations, and future work on ValueD, and its relationship with key value concepts such as added value, exchange and perceived value, benefit, and need.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-477
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Issue number9
Early online date26 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2021


  • design
  • design model
  • protocol analysis
  • value
  • value creation
  • value criteria
  • value delivery
  • value determination
  • value model


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  • Axioms of value

    Reber, M., Duffy, A. & Hay, L., 5 Aug 2019. 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Open Access

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