Phase 4: Social Organization and Cooperation Analysis
For years, Human Factors research has been focusing on the interaction between the individual user and a computer-based system. On the basis of this paradigm, considerable progress has been made in the design of human-computer interfaces. The individualistic presupposition of this paradigm is obviously invalid, however. Work is (an) inherently social phenomenon.
-- Schmidt ( 1991b, p. 75)
It is possible for the team to organize its behavior in an appropriate sequence without there being a global script or plan anywhere in the system. Each crew member only needs to know what to do when certain conditions are produced in the environment.
-- Hutchins ( 1995a, p. 199)
The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the fourth phase of CWA, social organization and cooperation analysis, in detail. Now that we have described the field of activity (i.e., the work domain), what needs to be done (i.e., control tasks), and how it can be done (i.e., strategies), we can address the important issues of how these requirements can be distributed across human workers and machine automation, and how such actors could communicate and cooperate. The objective is to determine how the social and technical factors in a sociotechnical system can work together in a way that enhances the performance of the system as a whole. This phase of CWA is particularly important because organizational factors are being increasingly recognized as having the most pervasive influence in complex, sociotechnical systems (e.g., Leveson, 1995; Moray & Huey, 1988; Perrow, 1984; Pool, 1997; Reason, 1990). We show how the modeling tools introduced in the last three chapters (i.e., abstraction-decomposition space, decision ladder, and information flow maps) can all be productively used in this phase of analysis as well. These concepts cannot directly give us the answers we need, but they can be used as tools that help us obtain those answers. Several miniexamples are presented to illustrate the application of these tools.1 By the end of this chapter, you should understand how social-organizational constraints inherit, and build on, the layers of constraint discussed in the previous three chapters.____________________