Title: Avenues of entry: how industrial engineers and ergonomists access and influence human factors and ergonomics issues

Authors: Cecilia Berlin; W. Patrick Neumann; Nancy Theberge; Roland Örtengren

Addresses: Division of Production Systems, Department of Product and Production Development, Chalmers University of Technology, Hörsalsvägen 7A, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden ' Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria St., Toronto, ON, M5B 2K3, Canada ' Departments of Kinesiology and Sociology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, Canada ' Division of Production Systems, Department of Product and Production Development, Chalmers University of Technology, Hörsalsvägen 7A, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden

Abstract: This study compares how Canadian industrial engineers (IEs) and ergonomists 'position themselves' to influence human factors and ergonomics (HFE) issues. The study examined how these stakeholders perceived their influence on HFE issues, constraints they operated under, and strategies used. The results contribute to an understanding of decisions and processes surrounding HFE practices, showing that organisational entry points and stakeholder expectations on IEs and ergonomists affect their influence on HFE issues. Ergonomists influenced HFE issues by leveraging their knowledge of other stakeholders' priorities, and were more dependent on accessing the issue via a 'problem owner'. IEs were often entrusted with greater freedom to act on improvements. Expressing HFE improvements in terms of business benefits was a successful strategy for both. It was found that ergonomists operated as 'partial solution builders', trying to influence the HFE issue as an expert, lobbyist or facilitator. Based on the results, an existing framework was modified. [Received 5 August 2011; Revised 10 October 2011; Revised 28 March 2012; Accepted 30 October 2012]

Keywords: human factors; ergonomics; occupational health; organisational politics; industrial engineering; influence; stakeholders; qualitative research; macroergonomics; goal hooking; Canada; industrial engineers; ergonomists; business benefits; experts; lobbyists; facilitators.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIE.2014.060999

European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 2014 Vol.8 No.3, pp.325 - 348

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 24 May 2014 *

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