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Integrating ergonomics into production system development - The Volvo Powertrain case
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Work Science (closed 20130101).
2009 (English)In: Applied Ergonomics, ISSN 0003-6870, E-ISSN 1872-9126, Vol. 40, no 3, 527-537 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding the barriers and assists to integrating ergonomics into production system design remains a research issue. An action research case study at Volvo Powertrain/Sweden was conducted. Researchers worked collaboratively with the firm in efforts to improve the company's ability to handle ergonomics in their daily work of improving and developing production systems. Researchers observed and reflected collectively on the change process using field notes and recordings to support their observations. Observed integration barriers included both individual level issues like life events, and organisational aspects such as communication barriers between groups or assignment of tasks to people not involved in decision-making. Observed assists included the 'political reflective navigation'(c.f. Broberg, O., Hermund, L, 2004. The OHS consultant as a 'political reflective navigator' in technological change processes. International journal of Industrial Ergonomics 33 (4), 315-326) by the project owner to find new ways to overcome barriers and anchor ergonomics into the organisation. While special 'ergonomics' groups did not survive long, progress was observed in including ergonomics in regular design groups. A cross-functional workshop that fostered discussion across organisational boundaries helped shift focus from retrofitting systems to future production systems and improve engagement of engineering teams. Progress was marked by both success and setbacks and full integration appears to require more than 2 years time. it is concluded that support by senior managers should include succession planning for personnel that are key to the change effort.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 40, no 3, 527-537 p.
Keyword [en]
Production system design, Organisational development, Human factors, intervention, Macroergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders, participatory ergonomics, engineering, design, safety climate, assembly work, special-issue, soft systems, program, perspective, management
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-18276DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2008.09.010ISI: 000264453900028ScopusID: 2-s2.0-60149107015OAI: diva2:336322

QC 20150730

Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2015-07-30Bibliographically approved

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Ekman, Marianne
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