Core-Task Design

Core-Task Design

A Practice-Theory Approach to Human Factors

Leena Norros, Paula Savioja, Hanna Koskinen
ISBN: 9781627055741 | PDF ISBN: 9781627055758
Copyright © 2015 | 141 Pages | Publication Date: March, 2015

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This book focuses on design of work from the human-factors (HF) perspective. In the approach referred to as Core-Task Design (CTD), work is considered practice, composed of human actors, the physical and social environment, and the tools used for reaching the actors' objectives. This book begins with consideration of an industrial case, the modernization of a nuclear power plant automation system, and the related human-system interfaces in the control room. This case illustrates generic design dilemmas that invite one to revisit human-factors research methodology: Human factors should adopt practice as a new unit of analysis and should accept intervention as an inherent feature of its methodology.

For fulfillment of each of the design functions, several CTD methods are introduced. The methods are aimed at modeling the core task and analyzing how the actors actually take the core task features into account in order to achieve balance between potentially conflicting demands in action. Thereby, new understanding of the core task is acquired. Further methods focus on projecting the roles and functionality of technologies in the future work and on implementing changes to the work. Specific studies of the nuclear power plant's control-room renewal constitute an example demonstrating a core task and the associated methods. We argue that the CTD approach offers clear utility for the design of future technology, work, and everyday services and environments.

CTD utilizes achievements of practice theory in the social sciences to generate a creative synthesis of Cognitive Work Analysis, semiotic analysis of practice, and the cultural-historical theory of activity. Core-Task Design facilitates dialogue among human-factors experts, design engineers, and end users in their joint development of work. The intended audience of this book is students, researchers, and practitioners of human factors, industrial art and design, and instrumentation and control-system design.

Table of Contents

Core-Task Design Methodology
Understandings: How to Generalize from Empirical Enquiry about Actual Work
Foreseeing: How to Uncover the Promise of Solutions for Future Work
Intervening: How to Develop the Work System
Core-Task Deign in Broader Perspective
Author Biographies

About the Author(s)

Leena Norros, VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland
Research Professor (emerita) Leena Norros is an industrial psychologist working on human factors of complex industrial systems. She received Dr.rer.nat. at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, and Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She created a human factors research team at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and spent most of her career leading the team. Her main interest is the understanding of work activity in real-life contexts, for which she has created new concepts and methods. She acts as docent at Helsinki University and lectures on human factors at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. She has published widely and participates actively in international forums of human factors/ergonomics.

Paula Savioja, VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland
Paula Savioja works as a Research Team Leader at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. She received her Master's degree from Helsinki University of Technology from the department of Automation and Systems Technology. She completed her doctoral studies at Aalto University School of Science with a dissertation labeled "Evaluating Systems Usability in Complex Work." Savioja has worked over ten years at VTT in different research and development projects in various safety critical domains. Her expertise is human factors approach to design and development of complex socio-technical systems.

Hanna Koskinen, VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland
Hanna Koskinen is a Research Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Her research focuses on human factors in complex systems and in particular design and development of tools for professional use in safety critical work. She holds a Master of Arts in Industrial Design from University of Lapland with a minor in work psychology and management from Helsinki University of Technology.


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