chapter
Macroergonomics
Pages 3

Many environmental and organizational factors have created the need to develop a macroergonomic perspective, cultivate macroergonomic research, and apply macroergonomic methods and tools. These forces include increased competition, restructuring, changes in technology, changing workforce demographics, increased litigation, shorter product shelf-life, increased global competition, and increased information and communication requirements for products, processes, and people. For example, in industry, increased automation has in many cases inadvertently led to technology dominant designs, creating “leftover’’ functions for operators to perform. As a result, many jobs are monotonous, boring, fatiguing, unhealthy, unrewarding, and/or unsafe. Other design and redesign efforts have been more subtle in their inattention to the sociotechnical characteristics of work systems, but the results have been equally disappointing. While there have been some who have attempted to improve organizations, systems, and jobs, most often, these components are treated as independent entities — having no relationship to one another. Macroergonomics takes the perspective that these worksystem components are interdependent. As interdependent components, work-system components need to be analyzed systematically and jointly in order to maximize performance and wellbeing of workers, groups, and organizations.