Integrating ergonomics knowledge into business-driven design projects: The shaping of resource constraints in engineering consultancy

Lene Bjerg Hall-Andersen, W. Patrick Neumann, Ole Broberg

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The integration of ergonomics knowledge into engineering projects leads to both healthier and more efficient workplaces. There is a lack of knowledge about integrating ergonomic knowledge into the design practice in engineering consultancies.
This study explores how organizational resources can pose constraints for the integration of ergonomics knowledge into engineering design projects in a business-driven setting, and how ergonomists cope with these resource constraints.
An exploratory case study in an engineering consultancy was conducted. A total of 27 participants were interviewed.

Data were collected applying semi-structured interviews, observations, and documentary studies. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and categorized into themes.

From the analysis five overall themes emerged as major constituents of resource constraints: 1) maximizing project revenue, 2) payment for ergonomics services, 3) value of ergonomic services, 4) role of the client, and 5) coping strategies to overcome resource constraints.

We hypothesize that resource constraints were shaped due to sub-optimization of costs in design projects. The economical contribution of ergonomics measures was not evaluated in the entire life cycle of a designed workplace. Coping strategies included teaming up with engineering designers in the sales process or creating an alliance with ergonomists in the client organization
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)335-346
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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