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Problem of increasing production & making work more pleasant calls for change in work environment. Time & motion study can be one of the alternatives. But it mainly leads to change in job. But change related to Noise, Illumination, Color, Vibration, ventilation, temperature etc lead to direct effect on work environment.
When environment change takes place, it leads to: Changed environment Response to change Major problems in introduction of environmental change: Whether resulting increase in production is to be attributed to factor that is changed or To the factor that is incidental to the change
But miracles should not be expected as a result of these changes. Drastic changes in performance due to these factors are not possible.
The Arousal Hypothesis
It is a model for understanding the effects of auditory stimulation upon the worker. Duffy was one of the earliest to point out the possible importance of overall level of activation of a person in determining his task performance. Activation level is the degree of excitation of the brain stem reticular formation.
Determinants of individual’s activation level: Stimulus intensity Stimulus variation Stimulus complexity Stimulus uncertainty Stimulus meaningfulness Since noise & music are external stimuli that can be controlled in terms of intensity, variation & meaningfulness so they qualify as potential arousers.
Duffy- human performance tends to vary in accordance with general activation level of individual. This relationship is described by an inverted U shaped function.
HIGH AROUSAL HYPOTHESIS FUNCTION
Mc Bain Study
Applied this hypothesis on members of Royal Canadian Air Force who were made to perform a monotonous work task under both quiet & noise conditions. The results were ambiguous. But it was seen that noise conditions facilitated performance.
They varied the intensity of background music in two large supermarkets to see what effect it would have on purchasing behaviour. It was found that shoppers spent significantly less time in the store during loud music time periods but there was no significant changes in total sales or customers’ reported satisfaction as a function of music intensity.
Generally regarded as distractor interfering with efficiency. When noise is steady person adapts himself on it but when it is intermittent, greater effort is required to maintain efficiency. Vernon & Warner made a group of subjects to solve arithmetic problems & read material in a book of psychology during alternate periods of noise & quiet. No significant effect was found on the accuracy or speed of solving arithmetic problems. Slight increase in expenditure of energy was found as measured by oxygen consumption. Effect of noise on a job is apparently determined by whether noise is a necessary accompaniment to the job or not. Whether noise is annoying or harmful should be determined experimentally & not emotionally.
Research by Ferree & Rand: Daylight provides best illumination for work, artificial light that closely approximates daylight in colour is the next best. Important considerations: distribution & location of lights, intensity of light, combination of artificial light & daylight. One of the most common causes of visual discomfort & fatigue is brightness in the field of vision.
Popular Science Monthly in one of its articles in 1947 claimed that less fatigue, increased production & greater safety results from scientific use of colours in the factory. The ability of the surface to reflect light & contrast between the colour of the work area & wall colour may reduce eyestrain. Blue is considered as cool colour & red as warm colour.
Many work environments involve substantial amount of vibration. Limitation: visual & motor processes of workers are affected because of vibration.
Miscellaneous factors (contributing to employees’ attitudes)
Cafeteria Snack bar Automatic drinks Sandwich dispensers Drinking fountain with its cool bubbling water Rest rooms Sanitary conditions Interpersonal relations & production