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«Proceedings of NES2011 September 18—21, 2011 Oulu, Finland Edited by: Juha Lindfors Merja Savolainen, Seppo Väyrynen ISBN 978-951-42-9541-6 (USB) ...»

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Proceedings of NES2011

September 18—21, 2011

Oulu, Finland

Edited by:

Juha Lindfors

Merja Savolainen,

Seppo Väyrynen

ISBN 978-951-42-9541-6



The 43rd Annual Conference of the Nordic Ergonomics Society rotates among the Nordic countries, and in

2011 the Finnish Ergonomics Society will host the NES2011 conference in Oulu, the technological Capital of

Northern Finland on September 18. – 21. The NES2011 conference is jointly organized by the University of Oulu, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, and University of Lapland.

The aim of the NES2011 conference is to bring together researchers and practitioners with an interest in ergonomics. This facilitates the sharing of results and contributes to the foundation of networks as well as improving the quality of ergonomics. Despite of the Nordic dimension the conference invites participants from all over the world to join this hearty and contemporary conference.

The theme of the conference is “Wellbeing and Innovations Through Ergonomics”. Besides of the keynotes given by experienced and well known ergonomists the scientific sessions contains such topics as Management and development for sustainability, Cognitive ergonomics and human factors, Visual ergonomics, physical ergonomics, Social and health care, Promotion of health and wellbeing at work, Cognitive ergonomics and human factors, Human factors in product and service development and Organisational ergonomics, Designing and organizing for all, Safety critical systems and environments, and Ergonomics in transport. Moreover, the conference includes method and OH&S workshops and several poster presentations. During the conference the NES, Nordic supervisors related to national occupational and safety affairs, and visual ergonomics network have their annual meetings.

This proceeding is the collection of the 98 scientific papers accepted to be published and presented at the conference. The papers are listed in the order of appearance in the conference itself. The editors wish that this publication was a useful tool for those participated in the NES2011 conference. We also hope that some researchers outside the Nordic ergonomics community find this edition useful with its very extensive scientific and practical content.

We as the editors would like to express our sincere thanks to all authors and all those who made the NES2011 a successful international academic and professional event.

Editors Juha Lindfors Merja Savolainen Seppo Väyrynen KEYNOTES Stakeholder-oriented Management Concepts as Challenge for Macro-Ergonomics - How can macroergonomics successfully contribute to quality and sustainability?

Klaus j. Zink Over, under, optimal: how to manage with cognitive load?

Kiti Műller Management with wellbeing and ergonomics - the mission impossible?

Jari Stenvall Visions of ergonomics for globally operating business.

John Abeysekera User experience as a challenge for cognitive psychology and ergonomics.

José J. Cañas Participative development - production and ergonomics.

Mikael Forsman





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The goals of ergonomics and macro-ergonomics have been traditionally connected with human well being and productivity or efficiency. In a sense this was mostly a duality between people and company goals. Otherwise within the IEA and HFES Technical Group macro-ergonomics broader concepts like Total Quality Management (TQM) are discussed. In recent times the concept of sustainability also attracted more interest within ergonomics. To make a real progress regarding quality and sustainability old and new approaches of human factors in organizational design and management now described as macro-ergonomics are needed. The paper will show how macroergonomics can successfully contribute to quality and sustainability.

Keywords: Macro-ergonomics, quality, sustainability

–  –  –

During the last years the world of business was dominated by a wrongly understood concept: the shareholder value. In contrary to the founder of this concept, Alfred Rappaport (1998), who was interested in improving the shareholder-value of a company in a mid- or long-time perspective, the financial analysts at the stock-exchanges focused on short-term results which led to a wrong and short-term oriented behavior of managers. As results downsizing with lay-offs, suppression of suppliers or reduced investments in R&D could be recognized. A growing number of people criticized this policy because of its danger for securing the future of the companies. This led to an increasing discussion about the necessity to focus on all stakeholders instead of only the shareholder. In this context stakeholder-oriented management concepts gained more and more importance.

Therefore, first of all the terms ―stakeholder‖ and ―management concept‖ have to be defined.

Starting with Freeman, one of the basic sources in strategic management, stakeholders are defined as ―individuals or groups which depend on the company for the realization of their personal goals and on whom the company is dependent.‖ (Freeman 1984, p. 13) Or from a risk management perspective: ―Those groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist.‖ (Freeman 1984, p. 31) An even broader definition based on the re-definition of the corporation with a stakeholder-focus formulated Post et al 2002: ―The stakeholder in a corporation are the individuals and constituencies that contribute, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to its wealth-creating capacity and activities, and therefore its potential beneficiaries and/or risk bearers.‖ (Post et al 2000, p. 17) If we look at relevant stakeholder for ergonomics customers, employees, shareholders or company owners and society could be named in a first approach. Later in the paper these stakeholders will be discussed again. Why is it important to integrate macro-ergonomics in a management concept? The answer is given by looking at the main pre-conditions for a management concept: It should be or have: a systematic approach with defined feedback control systems instead of isolated activities, embodied in corporate strategy to show the relevance of the topic, top management support to secure the contribution to competitiveness, appropriate organizational structures to incorporate the feedback systems, a learning concept being able to be further developed, a stakeholder-orientation and securing effectiveness as well as efficiency. (Bleicher 2004, p. 361ff) The relevant management concepts in this context are Total Quality Management and Sustainability respectively Sustainable Development. The specific relevance for the further discussion can be seen in the stakeholder-orientation of both approaches. An old, but no longer valid ISO definition of Total Quality Management reads as follows: ―Management approach of an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and society.‖ If we go back to the above definition of the stakeholders of ergonomics we can see the coincidence. The same picture is given, if we analyze international business or organizational excellence concept like the EFQM Model for Excellence – having the same set of stakeholders. (EFQM 2009) As both approaches are based on a stakeholder conception, in the following the discussion shall be reduced to sustainability.

2. Sustainability and Corporate Sustainability

Before discussing sustainability in the context of macro-ergonomics the history and term of sustainability has to be clarified: Sustainability is an old economic principle coming from forestry in the Middle Ages, when timber served as a main source for several economic processes (e.g. as energy source, building material etc.). The growth of population led to excessive overuse and clearings causing an economic and ecological crisis. As a consequence forestry anchored different regulations of felling and systematic afforestation balancing the regeneration of timber resources and their use (Nutzinger 1995). Sustainable forestry shows that sustainability is a primal economic principle and is finally necessary for the long-term survival of societies. Of course, our modern understanding of sustainability is much more complex than the example of forestry in the Middle Ages. Sustainability or sustainable development (as a process) is characterized by the normative claim for intra- and intergenerational fairness as it was stated in the well-known definition of sustainable development by the WCED in 1987. It further means the concurrent combination of economic, ecological and social goals: Therefore one can also describe it as a three pillar model (UNCED 1992). Transferring this general definition on a corporate level leads to the concepts of ―corporate sustainability‖ or ―corporate social responsibility‖, coming along with the following

definition elements (Dyllick and Hockerts 2002):

Not only economic but also social and environmental prerequisites and impacts as well as the interdependencies between them have to be taken into account.

Corporate sustainability requires a long-term business orientation as a basis for satisfying stakeholders' needs now and in the future.

The rule to live on the income from capital, not the capital itself has to be applied for all kinds of capital: financial, natural, human, and social capital.

Stakeholder orientation and Corporate Social Responsibility are similar concepts.

3. Sustainable work systems

As human factors is dealing (among others) with work systems it might be helpful to look at the current discussion about sustainable work systems (Docherty et al. 2009): It is not surprising that again the concurrent development of economic, ecological, human, and social resources engaged in work processes is the main goal. Therefore sustainable work systems have to be able to function in their environment and to achieve economic or operational goals, while there is also a development in various human and social resources engaged in their operations. Employees‘ capacity to deal with new demands in this context grows through concepts of work-based learning, development, and well-being. The growth of social resources is secured through equal and open interaction among various stakeholders, leading to better mutual understanding and a greater capacity for collaboration. The diversity and regeneration of ecological resources is safeguarded as well. There is no simple satisfaction of certain needs of certain stakeholders, but the need to satisfy the needs of many stakeholders. Here again the focus should not be only on short-term, static efficiencies, like productivity and profitability, but also on long-term, dynamic efficiencies like learning and innovation. There are no simple trade-offs between short-term and long-term goals or between different stakeholders, but there is a need for a just balance in development for them all. One important task is to bring the (often more short-term) requirements of competitiveness and those representing a long-term sustainability together. Sustainable work systems aim to regenerate all resources utilized. The development of one type of resource does not exploit resources of other types. And a sustainable work system does not build its existence on the exploitation of external resources.

4. Human Factors and Sustainable Work Systems

If we now ask, whether this understanding of sustainability is already a part of human factors thinking, we can conclude that theoretically all three pillars are included in ―traditional‖ ergonomics

approaches as the following examples show:

The design of work processes is realized under time aspects (productivity; economic goals) Job satisfaction and personal growth are also goals for job design (social goals), and environmental aspects like noise or pollution are considered in the design of work systems (ecological goals)

But there are also some questions:

Do human factors call for a concurrent realization of all three dimensions of sustainability?

Do we not exploit external resources (e.g. in international value creation chains)?

How do we deal with changed frame conditions like short-term orientation, work intensification, permanent change?

If we really want to design sustainable work systems which fulfill the demands of a comprehensive

quality management there is a need e.g. for:

a systemic and holistic approach regarding whole value creation chains a systemic and holistic approach regarding the impacts on society (e.g. because only people and groups who operate sustainably are able to grasp, prioritize, and work toward ecological sustainability) a life-cycle-perspective regarding product (and work systems) design more complex tools for understanding what a sustainable work systems is and how it functions

5. The relevance of a macro-ergonomics approach

How can we solve these new demands for human factors? As described above this is only possible with a systemic and holistic approach, which is given by macro-ergonomics. The early definition of macro-ergonomics by Hendrick (2002, p. 3) includes a socio-technical systems approach which could be a first basis to solve the problems concerned with sustainable work systems.

Taking an even broader approach by understanding macro-ergonomics as a stakeholder-oriented human systems interface-design (Zink 2002), including a socio-technological systems approach (Zink 1999), one can specify the contribution of (macro-)ergonomics to the above discussed stakeholders:

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