Trends in Macroergonomics Applications for Improved Work Systems

Trends in Macroergonomics Applications for Improved Work Systems

Karina Cecilia Arredondo, Arturo Realyvásquez, Guadalupe Hernández-Escobedo
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7192-6.ch013
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Macroergonomics is the subdiscipline of ergonomics that is concerned with the analysis, design, and evaluation of work systems. It means, macroergonomics focuses on harmonizing the organizational structure of a company and not only one workstation or one task, as microergonomics does. Macroergonomics is a top-down, middle-out, and bottom-up approach. In the top-down approach, the overall general work system structure may be prescribed to match the organization's sociotechnical characteristics. On the other hand, the middle-out approach focuses on the analysis of subsystems and work processes, which can be assessed both up and down the organizational hierarchy from intermediate levels, and also, up and down some changes may be done to ensure the work system design is harmonized. Finally, the bottom-up approach comprises an extensive participation of employees in the identification of problems. Currently, macroergonomics is considered an emergent subdiscipline, and there is the need to promote current theories and methods and propose new ones.
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Historical Contexts

A search in the Scopus database of the word Macroergonomics in the article title, abstract or keywords, and filtering the period from 1994 to 2013 was done. 150 documents resulted from the search and were classified and summarized in 70 conference papers, 64 articles, four book chapters and two editorials. After, the analysis was conveniently limited to only articles and book chapters so that 68 documents were used in this phase. Table 1 presents the recurrent researchers in the field.

Table 1.
Researchers with most published articles from 1994-2013 in the Macroergonomics field
Kleiner, B.M.7Azadeh, A.2
Karsh, B.T.5Clegg, C.W.2
Carayon, P.4Drury, C.G.2
Newman, W.P.4James, C.G.2
Robertson, M.M.4Nagamachi, M.2
Sainfort, F.4Smith, M.J.2
Erensal, Y.C.3Taveira, A.D.2
Hendrick. H.W.3Village, J.2
Albayrak, E.2Zink, K.J.2
Alper, S.J.2

Source: (Scopus, 2018)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Productivity: Production capacity per work unit.

Human Factors: The human factors (or ergonomics) is the study of how individuals react to certain environments, products, or services in physical and psychological terms.

Organizational Performance: Measure of efficiency and effectiveness, with which administrators take advantage of resources to satisfy customers and achieve the goals of the organization.

Macroergonomics: Macroergonomics aims to design a fully “harmonized” work system enhancing the key performance indicators for organizational effectiveness, productivity and satisfaction; where the sociotechnical systems theory is the fundamental principle, including industrial and organizational psychology approaches.

Microergonomics: The Microergonomics approach study the interaction between machine, environment, software, and job with the human.

Ergonomics: Science that studies the best adaptation of the work system to the human.

Work Systems: It is a natural unit of analysis for thinking about systems in organizations. In organizational settings, work is the application of human, informational, physical, and other resources to produce products/services.

Sociotechnical Systems Approach: It is the approach that recognizes the interaction between individuals and technology in workplaces so that it helps on the complex organizational work design.

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