Commentary: What are we looking for in the black box?

Jens Rasmussen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleCommunication


    I have been asked to contribute my observations to this special issue on human factors in manufacturing based on the reading of four contributed articles. My comments are based on our field studies in process plants, hospitals, manufacturing companies and public libraries. Theses studies were made basically to understand the cognitive process and cooperative patterns of the actors in work, and to develop a framework for design of advanced information systems. The work contributed to a CEC basic research action project; MOHAWC; modeling human activities in work context (Rasmussen et al., 1991). As it will be seen from my comments, our results have been very much in line with the issues raised by the articles in this special issue. However, the results from our detailed studies of the cognitive processes in very specific systems and task situations have forced us to suggest more fundamental changes in the research paradigms than to extend the scope of the human factors profession to encompass total socio-technical systems. This conclusion is not in contradiction to the arguments in the articles reviewed, but calls for a substantial extension.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)91-94
    Number of pages4
    Publication statusPublished - 1993


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