2011-09-28 Disputation Cecilia Berlin

Disputationer och lic-seminarier inom Ergonomi och Human Factors

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2011-09-28 Disputation Cecilia Berlin

Post by Lars-Ola » 2011-Aug-25 13:55

ERGONOMICS INFRASTRUCTURE
- An Organizational Roadmap to Improved Production Ergonomics

Cecilia Berlin

Akademisk avhandling som för avläggande av filosofie doktorsexamen vid Chalmers tekniska högskola försvaras vid offentlig disputation

fredagen den 23 september,
kl 10.00 i Virtual Development Laboratory,
Hörsalsvägen 7A, Chalmers, Göteborg.

Avhandlingen försvaras på engelska.

Fakultetsopponent är Doc. Ole Broberg,
DTU Management Engineering
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Lyngby, Danmark

Doktorsavhandlingen finns tillgänglig vid
Institutionen för produkt- och produktionsutveckling
Avd. Produktionssystem
CHALMERS TEKNISKA HÖGSKOLA
412 96 Göteborg
Telefon 031-772 1000

ABSTRACT
Improving production ergonomics is a pursuit common to many companies in different industrial sectors. At the core is an aspiration to eliminate risks for work-related musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs), but modern views on ergonomics have evolved the discipline from a purely physiological, instrumental concern to an organizational, holistic systems-performance discipline (macroergonomics). This modern perspective implies that it is not enough to consider ergonomics as the domain of only ergonomics specialists; nor is it advisable to try improving it in isolation, without paying attention to the influences of the surrounding stakeholders and context.

This thesis proposes that the “ergonomics infrastructure” of an organization is made up of the structural, technical, organizational and stakeholder-relational conditions that enable or hinder improvement of ergonomics. These conditions focus on the positioning of different stakeholders towards ergonomics issues, the relations between stakeholders and strategies they use for persuasion, and the influences that arise from industry-specific culture, attitudes and procedural integration (or exclusion) of ergonomics into engineering processes. This in turn affects an organization’s tendency to handle ergonomics proactively (i.e. at the design stage) or reactively (in response to injury, discomfort and compensation claims). It was found that stakeholder influence and relational interactions are of particular importance to the implementation of ergonomics improvements. Ergonomics practitioners who are politically aware and are able to link ergonomics improvements to business and production benefits are best poised to advance an ergonomics agenda.

The knowledge gleaned from the work in this thesis has been synthesized, together with relevant theoretical concepts found in the literature, into a “Tentative Framework” which guides empirical data collection aimed at mapping the “ergonomics infrastructure” in an organization. Its step-by-step systematic review of conditions at different hierarchical levels in the organization should serve ergonomics practitioners and managers alike in identifying pathways and roadblocks to improving production ergonomics. This contributes to the branch of macroergonomics literature, which to date has placed little focus on day-to-day ergonomics practice and organizational-relational influences on ergonomics work.

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