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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Abstract

BACKGROUND:
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.
OBJECTIVES:
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.
PARTICIPANTS:
An exploratory case study in an engineering consultancy was conducted. A total of 27 participants were interviewed.
METHODS:

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

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.
CONCLUSION:

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
Volume55
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)335-346
ISSN1051-9815
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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