IE 327 Introduction to Work Design

Dr. Andris Freivalds Class #28
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Scope of Human Factors Engineering
• Different levels of study and intervention:
– Micro-level
• Physical design of tools,

human-computer interface, physical environment
– Macro-level
• Organizational design,

job design, change management
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What is Macroergonomics?
• also called sociotechnical, the study of the society/technology interface. The study of the consequences of technology for social relationships, processes, and institutions.
(Computers and Society Glossary)

• the optimization of organizational and work systems design through consideration of relevant personnel, technological and environmental variables and their interactions.
(H.W. Hendrick)
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Goal
• The goal of macroergonomics is a fully harmonized work system at both the macro- and micro-ergonomic level which results in improved productivity, job satisfaction, health and safety, and employee commitment.

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Balance Model
Tasks

Organization

Human

Environment

Tools/Technology

• All elements interact any change in one will affect other elements • If all elements are not designed to fit together, there may be a misfit • Misfits lead to safety, productivity, efficiency, quality problems
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Possible Misfits
• Worker lacks skills/knowledge base • Employees do not agree with management policies • Technology is not well suited for the worker/task/organization • Organization is harming the environment • Outside factors influence work
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How can Macroergonomics Help?
• Analyze the whole system • Determine the “fit” of each element • Consider aspects other than just changing the job

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Tasks
• Properties
– Content – Control – Demands – Interrelationships

• Tasks are usually changed to improve safety and/or production

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Lifting Case Study
• How do you convince workers to change? • If you change this task, how does it change other tasks?

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Tools/Technology
• Properties
– Functions – Capabilities – Capacities – Usability – Friendliness – Integration

• Many companies are introducing new technology
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CPOE Case Study
• Traditional paper and pencil industry • How do you get everyone on-board? • How do you ensure success?

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Organization
• Properties
– Purposes – Policies – Procedures – Supervision – Decision making structure – Reward Structure

• Changes can have a ripple effect
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McWane
• What were the management policies? • How did the workers feel about working there?

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Department of Homeland Security
• Where is their:
– Organization? (hodge podge) – Line of communications?

• What is their reputation?
– e.g. consider TSA (Transportation Security Administration)! – e.g. consider the Katrina response!

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Environment
• Properties
– Physical
• Comfort • Sensory and Performance disruption

– Social
• Interaction with coworkers/boss • Social support • Extra-organization factors

• Internal and external factors have an affect
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Gilbane Gold
• How does the environment affect the company? • How does the company affect the environment?

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Sensory/Environmental Analysis Case Study
• How does the presence of these factors affect the worker/job? • How can the system deal with these issues?

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Human
• Properties
– Background – Attributes – Experience – Needs – Skills – Motivations – Intelligence

• Most difficult element to change
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Four Main Areas of Concern
• Physiological factors
– – – – – – Vision Height Weight Forward arm reach Strength Disabilities

• Psychological factors
– – – – – – – Attention Memory Fear Boredom Fatigue Satisfaction Stress

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• Psychosocial factors
– – – – – – – – Workload Work content Repetition Boredom Role ambiguity Role conflict Mental demands Supervisor-employee relationship – Social support at work and home/community
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– Shift work – Reward structure - pay, benefits, equity – Status

• Behavioral factors
– Reaction time – Response accuracy – Appropriateness of response – Adaptation – Endurance
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Human Element
• Can you change the human? • How do you motivate employees? • How do you get employees to accept change?

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Self Actualization Esteem Needs Social Needs Safety Needs Physiological Needs
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Macroergonomic Case Studies #1 Southwest - Pros
• Culture based on the customers, employees, and shareholders • Strong work ethic, but have fun • Keep costs low • High performance • Hire for attitude not skills?

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Macroergonomic Case Studies #1 Southwest Airlines - Cons
• Not completely nationwide • No “frills” • Ignore competition? • Hire for attitude not skills?

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Macroergonomic Case Studies #2 Wal-Mart - Pros
• • • • • Innovative Employee participation Continuous training Adapt to the environment Community involvement

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Macroergonomic Case Studies #2 Wal-Mart - Cons
• • • • • No Union? Different philosophies at each store Worker treatment “Bully” vendors Public opinion

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Macroergonomics - Review
• Examines all aspects of the system • A misfit in any area can lead to total failure • Work to ensure harmony within every part of the system

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