Human Factors and the Knowledge Worker
Yesterday, I read ”Can’t We All Just Get Along? Some Alternative Views of the Knowledge Worker in Complex HCI Systems” written by Marvin J. Dainoff and published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction.
The article starts by quoting the October 1999 article, “Beyond the Information Revolution,” written by Peter Drucker. This set the stage for examining different perspectives of how human factors and ergonomics professionals understand knowledge workers. The three perspectives (Macroergonomics; Cognitive Systems Theory; and Human Systems Integration) have a fourth perspective, Sociotechnical Systems Theory, as an underlying foundation.
The author goes onto discuss several subtopics including:
- Balance Theory
- Joint Cognitive Systems
- Cognitive Task Analysis
- Situation Awareness
- Resilience Engineering
- Cognitive Work Analysis
- Ecological Interface Design
The article closes with a couple cogent comments and questions that human factors and ergonomics practitioners should strive to answer:
“Too often we perceive the benefits of the work we do as obvious, and get upset when the rest of the world does not agree. Would a shift in framing the outcomes of HFE research and intervention to correspond with higher level goals of the “customer” organization improve the current impact factor?” (p. 345)
“A basically entrepreneurial/individualistic worldview among the practitioners and researchers concerned with knowledge work has lead to an explosion of methods, approaches, and techniques. Are we, as a community of practice embodying both macroergonomics and cognitive systems engineering, ready to develop the “trading zones” that maximize the opportunity to come to some consensus/convergence within the HSI model? Can we harvest this profusion of insights to enhance individual and system performance and to have a real impact on health, safety, and satisfaction?” (p. 345)
Dainoff, M.J. (2009). Can’t we all just get along? Some alternative views of the knowledge worker in complex HCI systems. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 25, 328-347.
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