Conclusions and Recommendations in Summary

Toni Ivergard and Brian Hunt

CONTENTS

14.1 Old Knowledge and Slow Implementations 345

14.2 The Human User as a Component 346

14.3 Business Concepts and System Development………………………………………… 347

14.4 Some Recommendations in Summary 348

14.5 Summary of a New Perspective……………………………………………………………… 350

References and Further Reading……………………………………………………………………….. 353

14.1 OLD KNOWLEDGE AND SLOW IMPLEMENTATIONS

It is very difficult to change people to fit machines, and it is of course not desirable to do so. After all, machines are made to serve humanity and not vice versa. It is there­fore better to design the machine from the very beginning to fit the human user. That this does not happen more often depends largely on the fact that many engineers lack factual knowledge of human characteristics. There is a need for a new type of engineer with a basic knowledge of the human being—in other words, one with knowledge of the relevant aspects of psychology, physiology, anatomy, and a certain amount of medicine. An engineer with this background is known as an ergonomist.

The concept of ergonomics was introduced in 1949 as a title for the inter­disciplinary teamwork between various human scientists. It was started by a group of British scientists, primarily psychologists and physiologists, and the originator of the name was the marine psychologist K. F. H. Murrell (see Murrell, 1967). The word is derived from the Greek ergon, meaning work, and nomos, whose nearest meaning is natural law or system. The conjunction of ergon/nomos was also used in classical Greek times for a workers’ protection law, probably the world’s first Health and Safety at Work Act. The Ergonomics Society was founded in 1949. The journal Ergonomics was founded in 1957. In the 1960s there was a fast growing interest in the physical aspects of ergonomics (for example, the physical design of workplaces, such as chairs, tables, or desks) and the physical environment (such as noise and acoustics, thermal visual conditions, and lighting design). During the 1970s and 1980s there was a rapid increase in research and development in the social and psychological perspectives of people at work, and the term information ergo­nomics was coined (see Ivergard, 1982). During the 1980s to the end of the 1990s there was a change of focus from human beings at work to job and organisational design, knowledge, and the human/intellectual capital, including issues of learning at work. From the year 2000 macro aspects of work and knowledge come in focus (a new kind of labour economics). Richard Florida (for example, 2004, 2005) and others (for example, Ivergard and Hunt, 2007) claim that creativity will become the most demanded skill and valued ‘class’ of talented people. Discussions about the importance of participation, involvement, and empowerment were reinvented. As in this handbook, the need for holistic and broader approaches is in focus. This need involves a combination of real work practices, while at the same time concerns itself with individual learning and developing as well as an individual’s need to be a cre­ative contributor to the development of his or her own work, workplace, and firm.

The old edition of this handbook was published in 1989. To a very large extent it was a product of the development and research during the period from 1970 to the end of 1980. At that time a new and much deeper understanding of how human intel­lectual and perceptual capacity could be used in control room and systems design. This new edition of the handbook aims to integrate the new perspectives from the end of 1980 to 2008. But we can also notice from our studies of new control rooms/ centres that the knowledge of the old edition still has great relevance to 2008.