Cognitive Work Analysis: Toward Safe, Productive, and Healthy Computer-Based Work

By Kim J. Vicente | Go to book overview

with the discretion to meet the demands of the job in a variety of ways that suit their preferences or the particular needs of the moment. Finally, for the reasons already discussed, work domain analyses also provide workers with the support they need to recover from errors.


Conclusions

Two points are worth highlighting from this comparison. First, work domain analyses are absolutely essential for complex sociotechnical systems. They provide a way of supporting worker adaptation to novelty, thereby addressing the criterion of safety, and they provide discretion--not complete freedom--to workers, thereby addressing the criterion of health. Second, because they have complementary strengths and weaknesses, it would be useful to include both work domain analysis and constraint- based task analysis techniques in a single, integrated framework for work analysis. The framework described in the remainder of this book achieves this goal by including a work domain analysis phase (see chap. 7) and a constraint-based task analysis phase (see chap. 8) in one integrated, overarching framework.


SUMMARY

What type of work analysis is appropriate for complex sociotechnical systems? In this chapter, we evaluated the suitability of normative approaches to work analysis in the form of task analysis. We learned that the vast majority of existing task analysis techniques are instruction based. Yet, such techniques are not well suited for complex sociotechnical systems because they underestimate context-conditioned variability, and if used, can lead to unusable or ineffective computer information systems. Thus, most existing task analysis techniques are not very useful for our purposes. Constraint-based task analysis techniques are better suited for complex sociotechnical systems. Moreover, they are more likely to lead to improvements in flexibility, productivity, worker health, and on-the-job learning. However, they are not capable of dealing with the demands imposed by unanticipated events. Fortunately, work domain analyses provide a basis for dealing with such events. Thus, a work analysis framework for complex sociotechnical systems should include both work domain analysis and constraint-based task analysis techniques. The bottom line is that constraint-based task analysis techniques are necessary, but they are far from sufficient. In the next chapter, we see if additional insights can be garnered from descriptive approaches to work analysis.

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Cognitive Work Analysis: Toward Safe, Productive, and Healthy Computer-Based Work
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xviii
  • Introduction- I 1
  • What''s in a Word? (Glossary) 3
  • 1- What''s the Problem? Scope and Criteria for Success 33
  • Why Work Analysis? an Ecological Perspective 2 47
  • Summary 57
  • Conclusion 58
  • II- Three Approaches to Work Analysis 59
  • 3- Normative Approaches to Work Analysis. "The One Best Way?" 61
  • Conclusions 86
  • 4- Descriptive Approaches So to Work Analysis 101
  • 5- Toward a Formative Approach to Work Analysis 136
  • III- Cognitive Work Analysis in Action 137
  • 6- Case Study- Process Control 147
  • 7- Phase I- Work Domain Analysis 155
  • Phase 2- Control Task Analysis 8 181
  • 9- Phase 3- Strategies Analysis 215
  • 10- Phase 4 245
  • 11- Phase 5 296
  • 12- Implications for Design and Research 303
  • Summary 334
  • Final Words IV 335
  • 13- Designing for Adaptation 337
  • Appendix- Historical Addendum 361
  • References 367
  • Author Index 383
  • Subject Index 389
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