Title: Cognitive engineering: a theoretical framework and three case studies

Authors: Kim J. Vicente

Addresses: Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King's College Road, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8, Canada

Abstract: Cognitive engineering is an interdisciplinary area of research and practice concerned with the analysis, design, and evaluation of complex sociotechnical systems. As such, it differs from other disciplines that are also concerned with people-technology interaction (e.g., ergonomics, human factors engineering, human-computer interaction). This paper argues that there is a good fit between the intellectual toolbox of cognitive engineers and the challenges faced by industrial and systems engineering practitioners and researchers. This thesis is illustrated by three case studies showing how a particular cognitive engineering concept – Rasmussen|s framework for risk management – can address a diverse set of issues that are of central importance to industrial and systems engineering: analysis of adverse events, development of cumulative, unified knowledge, and understanding organisational change. The unique contributions of these case studies suggest that significant benefits could be obtained by devoting more attention to the application of cognitive engineering principles to industrial and systems engineering problems.

Keywords: cognitive engineering; human factors engineering; public health; water quality; sociotechnical systems; industrial engineering; systems engineering; risk management; organisational change; water pollution; patient safety; healthcare; unified knowledge.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISE.2006.009055

International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering, 2006 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.168 - 181

Published online: 21 Feb 2006 *

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