Developing Effective Computer Systems Supporting Knowledge-Intensive Work: Situated Design in a Large Paper Mill

Developing Effective Computer Systems Supporting Knowledge-Intensive Work: Situated Design in a Large Paper Mill

Martin Müller (University of Zurich, Switzerland) and Rolf Pfeifer (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-408-8.ch010
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Abstract

The case to be discussed is a joint project between the university of Zurich and “SwissPaper,” a large paper mill in Switzerland. The paper mill had recently undergone deep structural changes after an investigation of by of the world’s leading management consulting companies. Our project is mainly concerned with support of energy management by means of computer technology. There were essentially three goals. The first one was to minimize energy consumption while keeping it at a constant level. The second goal was the exploration of a scientific hypothesis, namely that expert behavior cannot be adequately explained in terms of “information processing,” but is more adequately seen as “situated action.” The latter emphasizes the actual organizational and social circumstances. The objective of Situated Design — a particular project methodology that we have been developing in our group at the university over the last few years — is to support “situated action” by means of computer technology, rather than to formalize human expertise. Applying and refining this methodology is the third major goal of the project. In this paper we will discuss our experiences with Situated Design at Swiss Paper.

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