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The report itself dealt with future trends in work and implications for HFE, but importantly it sparked a discourse on the critical importance of considering factors beyond the human, machine, or human-machine interface. This special issue is dedicated to the late Professor Karsh. In particular, the included articles collectively examine macroergonomics as an indispensable whole-systems perspective on human work; a source of practical tools, methods, and approaches; and an evolving science and practice that draws on other fields but is developing its own identity.
Macroergonomics, also known as organizational ergonomics, shares many of the principles of HFE at large Dul et al. It takes a systems approach: performance results from interactions in a sociotechnical system, of which the person is one component.
The systems perspective includes the concept of interactions between components of the system. Wilson argued that expertise in assessing and designing these interactions is a unique competence of the HFE discipline and Hendrick noted that a strength of macroergonomics is understanding these interactions in the context of a broader sociotechnical system, such as an organization or a community.
The definition of sociotechnical systems varies from model to model Carayon, , yet it is noteworthy that several models of systems include high-level community, political, regulatory, and sociocultural factors Carayon et al. The concepts of nesting and cross-level effects actually reveal a subtle point about the definition of macroergonomics: it is not concerned purely with high-level factors such as organizational safety culture but rather with multiple factors including high-level ones and the interactions within and between these multiple layers Karsh et al.
This is illustrated in Figure 2 using the metaphor of the matryoshka Russian nesting doll. Depiction of the multiple-level sociotechnical work system. Macroergonomics as a subdiscipline concerned with both systems and phenomena across levels left not at lower levels middle or higher levels right alone. Wilson argues that, when context is considered, the breadth and complexity of most systems of interest to HFE professionals cannot be replicated in the laboratory.
Consistent with this, it is fair to say that most macroergonomic endeavors take place in the field of practice, where the complexity of systems is preserved and even embraced by researchers or practitioners.
The scope of macroergonomics is large, as illustrated by the special issue articles. Kubek, Fischer, and Zink implicate entire international supply chains in their conceptualization of macroergonomics for sustainable work systems. The papers also address a wide range of topics:.
Larson et al evaluate the nature of successful HFE interventions with implications for assessing and promoting corporate ergonomic programs. Weidman, Dickerson, and Koebel develop a conceptual model and survey instrument for assessing the factors that influence industry adoption of a national macroergonomic initiative.
Ghosh and Dickerson adapt a measurement approach for interpersonal interactions to describe communication in construction project meetings. Fray et al. Kubek et al. This range of topics is not unusual in macroergonomic research and practice. For comparison, a recent review of macroergonomic research in healthcare Carayon et al.
The level of analysis in the special issue papers ranges from individual to team to activity system to organization to global system. In a series of papers, Karsh argued both for examining phenomena at various levels of analysis and applying theories and multilevel statistical methods to understand the relationships between these levels Holden et al. Following suit, Fray et al. Furthermore, the papers address phenomena that are physical, social, organizational, and often some combination of these.
Indeed, Larson et al. Ghosh and Dickerson situate an ostensibly cognitive phenomenon of team communication in the broader social context governed by politics, status, and relationships. Therefore, macroergonomics provides the conceptual frameworks and approaches for understanding the whole system to be designed, not just its individual components. As an alternative, we could embrace all of these areas as the primary colors of HFE that blend in different proportions in each HFE endeavor.
Among them are defining value, linking value to macroergonomic interventions and specific intervention components, and measuring value—especially across settings. Fischer et al address this topic and ask, for example, are employee, organizational, and environmental stakeholders equal recipients of value and at whose expense is value created? They conclude that ergonomic interventions appear associated with both operational efficiency and WMSD reduction.
This is a promising evaluation that bears repeating. It is important to demonstrate and document value to key stakeholders, especially for a discipline that may not be a household name. Weidman et al. Methods and measures should be at least as diverse and complex as the phenomena they attempt to address cf.
Ashby, Having described the broad scope of macroergonomic and the complex sociotechnical systems where marcroergonomic phenomena occur, it is no surprise that macroergonomic methods are diverse, evolving, draw on many other fields of science and practice, and are often combined in a given project.
Macroergonomic methods also range from broad approaches such as participatory ergonomics Brown Jr. Several papers in the special issue have a methods focus. We encourage both approaches: adapting what exists and developing and testing new methods, tools, and theories.
Other useful approaches are being newly developed, such as the Prevention by Design approach described by Weidman et al. Implementing macroergonomic methods, whatever their origin, can be its own challenge. There are many way of doing it, as Larson et al. A decade ago, Karsh reflected on the challenges of conducting macroergonomic research in the field, the politics and social issues related to these studies, and the potential disruptiveness.
He likened a macroergonomic project to any other change process, even when no intervention is introduced. Karsh concluded that if macroergonomic research is an organizational change, it can be managed as an organizational change.
Other models can be helpful to think about how macroergonomics and macroergonomic projects are innovations that must be diffused, accepted, and sustained Carayon, ; Weidman et al.
There appears to be value added by the use of macroergonomic approaches, theories, tools, and methods, for local and global change Scott, There is also much opportunity to clearly and rigorously determine and document this value Hendrick, in a variety of domains, e. We see much promise in the ongoing adaptation and new development of theories and methods for conducting macroergonomic projects. We aspire to continue what he started with an equal level of passion, intelligence, and pride.
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. IIE Trans Occup. Author manuscript; available in PMC Apr Richard J. Joy Rivera , 2 and Pascale Carayon 3, 4. Joy Rivera. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Copyright notice. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. The fundamental principles of macroergonomics Macroergonomics, also known as organizational ergonomics, shares many of the principles of HFE at large Dul et al.
Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Figure 2. The scope of macroergonomics The scope of macroergonomics is large, as illustrated by the special issue articles. The papers also address a wide range of topics: Larson et al evaluate the nature of successful HFE interventions with implications for assessing and promoting corporate ergonomic programs.
Health information technology and medical devices. Violations and patient safety. Care coordination across the continuum of care. Healthcare system design and redesign. Usability in the organizational context. Organizational learning and resilience. Healthcare quality and patient safety.
Macroergonomic methods and approaches Methods and measures should be at least as diverse and complex as the phenomena they attempt to address cf. Self-reported violations during medication administration in two pediatric hospitals.
An Introduction to Cybernetics. Macroergonomic methods: Participation. Macroergonomics: Theory, methods and applications. Human factors of complex sociotechnical systems. Applied Ergonomics. Human factors in patient safety as an innovation. Sociotechnical issues in the implementation of imaging technology.
Macroergonomics in healthcare quality and patient safety. Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics. Work organization, job stress, and work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Human Factors. Human factors systems approach to healthcare quality and patient safety. Ergonomics contributions to company strategies. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science. Human factors in management. Ergonomics in organizational design and management. Good ergonomics is good economics. An overview of macroergonomics. New York: Psychology Press; Social and personal normative influences on healthcare professionals to use information technology: Towards a more robust social ergonomics.
Occupational Macroergonomics: Principles, Scope, Value, and Methods
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Hendrick and Brian M. Hendrick , Brian M. Kleiner Published Engineering. Contents: Preface.
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Macroergonomics: Theory, Methods, and Applications