Automation Technology and Human Performance: Current Research and Trends

By Mark W. Scerbo | Go to book overview

organizational performance by emerging information technologies.

Human dimensions assessment of a warfighting experiment investigating the potential for digitizing land combat forces. Three successive surveys were conducted of up to 8,000 soldiers and leaders. The results show that in spite of dramatic increases in work hours, perceptions of increased work-family conflict, and a general belief that the new technology would increase the complexity of their jobs and the amount of training required, respondents felt they were able to adequately cope with new work demands caused by their participation in the experiment. Factors that might account for high levels of job satisfaction and commitment include the belief that their missions were important and that the new technology would benefit their own and their unit's performance.

The relationship among factors affecting the effectiveness of Span Of Command and Control (SOCC) in Army organizations. Fifty-five Army officers from Captain to Full General were interviewed regarding factors that have been identified as affecting the effectiveness of SOCC and the difficulty of command and control. The results show interacting effects of SOCC factors, level in the hierarchy, and type of unit. These results have several implications for designing future high technology forces.

Lessons for inserting information technology from the business and management science literature. The results of an analysis of the literature on possible effects of information technology insertion were synthesized with the Army's digitization objectives and experiences. Two major points are developed: (a) factors other than the potential of the technology interact with one another and the technology itself to determine the resultant nature, form, and functionality of the "digitized" organization; and (b) the most immediate impact will not be quantum increases in operational performance but, rather, the insertion process itself, with sustained performance gains possible only after a process of mutual adaptation and convergence between the new technology and existing organizational and contextual forces.


ARSENAL SHIP: SHIP AND MISSION OPERATIONS CENTER (SMOC) OPERATOR WORKLOAD MODELING

Kelly O'Brien Rome Research Corporation

Arsenal Ship, a forerunner to the Navy's SC21 initiative, was a joint Navy/DARPA program to acquire a new capability for delivery of large quantities of ordnance (approximately 500 Vertical Launch System cells) in support of land and littoral engagements. Arsenal Ship was not to be fitted with long range surveillance or fire control sensors, but was to be remotely controlled via robust datalinks to other assets, such as Aegis and AWACS. The objectives of this project to develop high leverage technologies and improve acquisition methods have far-reaching implications for the future of surface ships for the US Navy. However, development of the virtually unsinkable ship with massive firepower capabilities was a challenge due to the design goal of a very small crew (less than fifty). In January 1997, three defense contractors, including the Northrop Grumman team, were selected to compete for a contract to design, construct, and test one Arsenal Ship demonstrator. During Phase II Functional Design, a preliminary workload analysis was conducted to verify the Ship and Mission Operations Center (SMOC) manning allocations. The workload analysis was developed to examine the potential impact of defining operator roles non-traditionally and introducing automation in an effort to reduce manning for various operating conditions. An interactive PC-based model was developed using functions identified and data collected from domain experts. Tasks specific to the functions were assigned to candidate SMOC operators. Each task was categorized by type (such as monitoring or decision/action) and the average time to complete the task was used to arrive at a certain workload value. Variables specific to the operator position, such as the number of missiles launched over a time period for the weapons control operator, were introduced. From here, the analysis was run and an overall workload value was compared with a workload threshold value to determine if the operator could

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