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An ergonomics action research demonstration: integrating human factors into assembly design processes

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 10:51 by Judy Lynn Village, M. Greig, Filippo A. Salustri, Saeed Zolfaghari, W. P. Neumann
In action research (AR), the researcher participates ‘in’ the actions in an organisation, while simultaneously reflecting ‘on’ the actions to promote learning for both the organisation and the researchers. This paper demonstrates a longitudinal AR collaboration with an electronics manufacturing firm where the goal was to improve the organisation’s ability to integrate human factors (HF) proactively into their design processes. During the three-year collaboration, all meetings, workshops, interviews and reflections were digitally recorded and qualitatively analysed to inform new ‘actions’. By the end of the collaboration, HF tools with targets and sign-off by the HF specialist were integrated into several stages of the design process, and engineers were held accountable for meeting the HF targets. We conclude that the AR approach combined with targeting multiple initiatives at different stages of the design process helped the organisation find ways to integrate HF into their processes in a sustainable way. Practitioner Summary: Researchers acted as a catalyst to help integrate HF into the engineering design process in a sustainable way. This paper demonstrates how an AR approach can help achieve HF integration, the benefits of using a reflective stance and one method for reporting an AR study.

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