Are ‘Human Factors’ Human Revisited

Comment from Ken Eason on the paper

‘This paper is a contribution to the 60th birthday celebrations for Niel’s Bjorn Andersen to recognise his many contributions to the development of information systems. In 1984 Niel’s wrote a paper called ‘Are ‘Human Factors’ Human?’ in which he challenged the human factors community, then helping to develop different forms of human-computer interaction, to be more humanistic in their approach and to take a more holistic view of people in systems. This paper reflects on developments in human factors since 1984 in the light of Niel’s challenges. It traces the history of research and design practice since 1984 and, although there are signs of a broader based approach to human beings in systems, it concludes that much of the work is still about specific issues, for example, the recognition of icons,. Major progress has been made in the way users participate in design work and on methodologies for usability and accessability evaluation. However, much less progress has been made in changing overall design processes from technical procedures where human and organisational issues are dealt with, if at all, at the implementation stage. The objective of sociotechnical sysems design. which takes a humanistic view of the people in the system, becoming mainstream practice is still a long way off.’

 

EASON K.D. Are ‘Human Factors’ Human Revisited In Andersen K.V. and Thanning Vendelo M. (eds) The Past and Future of Information Systems, Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann, pp123-136

Changing Perspectives on the Organizational Consequences of Information Technology

Abstract:
Early predictions of the impact of computers on organizations ranged from ‘human – computer symbiosis’ to automation and the collapse of jobs. The findings from impact research show that there was evidence for all predictions that were made. This demonstrated that the technology is very flexible and can be deployed to facilitate many different organizational outcomes. However, more recent research shows that the design process despite significant progress in the adoption of user-centred methods remains technocentric and organizational outcomes are often unplanned and unwanted. The paper concludes that current predictions about the development of virtual organizations are likely to be over simplistic and that the usage of methods to assess organizational options and design socio-technical systems are necessary if emerging forms of technology are to be effectively deployed.

EASON K.D. Changing Perspectives on the Organizational Consequences of Information Technology, Behaviour and Information Technology 20(5) pp 323-328

Understanding the Organisational Ramifications of Implementing Information Technology Systems

Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction (Second Edition)

Publisher Summary:
Information technology is a major force for organizational change. Every organization that applies the technology experiences organizational ramifications. This chapter charts the development of different models of organizational effects over a 40-year period. During the 1960s and 1970s, many studies of organizational impact were undertaken that produced conflicting results. As a result, a contingency model of computer impact emerged that accounted for the different impacts by reference to different forms of technology and application. In the last decade, it has become clear that this is also an inadequate model because it does not allow for the active nature of organizations that act to shape the impact of the technology. The chapter examines nine case studies to explore the processes by which organizational impact takes place. The active manner in which these processes operate is summarized in model three. This is an organizational assimilation model in which the three sub-systems of an enterprise interact and create outcomes in each sub-system. The chapter ends with a review of the many methods now available to support this approach and outlines the need for organizational stakeholders to play significant roles in new system developments.

Human Computer Interaction User Centred Design Organisational Impact Information Technology

Google Books Link

Science Direct Link

Eason K. D. (1997) Understanding the organisational ramifications of implementing information technology systems. In ‘Handbook of Human-computer interaction’ M.G. Hollander, T.K. Landeaur and P.V. Prabhu (eds) , Amsterdam, Elsevier

DOI Link

Managing Computer Impact

Managing Computer Impact: An International Study of Management and Organizations

Managing Computer Impact describes research undertaken in eight organizations in five countries. The approach determines the impact of computer-based information systems on organizations and management. Results at several levels of analysis support the conclusion that few changes are determined by computer technology.

Managing Computer Impact: An International Study of Management and Organisations Ken Eason

Link to Google Books

BJORN-ANDERSON, N. EASON, K.D. & ROBEY, D. (1986) Managing Computer Impact, Ablex, Norwood NJ.

Early Evaluation of the Organisational Implications of CSCW Systems

Evaluation of Computer Systems which Support Cooperative Work (CSCW)

Abstract:
Computer systems which support cooperative work will undoubtedly change the way people interact with one another in a working setting. In stimulating these changes, the CSCW system will be a force for organisational change. Over the past twenty years there has been a tradition of impact research, in which investigators have studied the impact computer-based information systems implemented within organisations have had upon those organisations. The results have been many and varied. Some studies show that computer systems lead to the centralisation of power, while others show decentralisation of power. At the level of the individual job there are studies which show the empowerment of the individual and the opposite: the creation of the “white collar assembly line.” A study from 1983 demonstrated both job enrichment and deskilling from two different computer systems in the same organisation. There is widespread agreement that there can be substantial change, but very little agreement on the form that it takes. We have argued elsewhere (Eason 1988) that the reason for these diverse results is that computer systems are not deterministic, and that they can be used to achieve many different organisational effects. There is an opportunity in the design and development process to plan the organisational outcomes and to achieve the impact that is desired by the members of the organisation.

Early Evaluation of the Organisational Implications of CSCW Systems Ken Eason

Springer Link to Article

Eason K.D. and Olphert C.W. (1996) Early evaluation of the organisational implications of CSCW Systems, In Thomas P. (ed) ‘CSCW Requirements and Evaluation, Springer-Verlag, London 75-89

Psychological Processes in the Use of Electronic Journals

Paper presented at the UKSG 23rd Annual Conference, Keele, April 2000

Abstract:
Evidence of user behaviour with electronic journals from the SuperJournal project is reviewed to identify the psychological processes being employed. The article reviews patterns of use, the dominance of browsing as the means of seeking information, the depth, breadth and range of use and the tendency to print. The article concludes that the dominant user approach is a coping strategy that maximises success for minimum psychological effort.

PDF Link to Paper

Eason K.D. and Harker S.D.P. Psychological processes in the use of electronic journals, Serials 13(2) 67-72

The Use and Usefulness of Functions in Electronic Journals: The Experience of the Superjournal Project

Value to users of a range of functions of electronic journals and their usefulness in the specific context of the SuperJournal Project.

Abstract:
For the evaluation of each of the functions three types of data were analysed in relation to each other and in light of other contextual data: logged data of usage, survey data on user satisfaction, and survey data on the perceived importance of the function. The analysis shows that basic browsing, printing and search make up the core functions of electronic journals; other functions, such as saving of bibliographic data, alerting, customising, links with external resources and communication, serve as peripheral functions. The usefulness of both the core functions and the peripheral functions in a specific service is influenced by various implementation factors. However, it is the realised usefulness of the core functions which determines the use of a service.

Emerald Insight Link

Eason K. D. Yu, L. and Harker S.D.P. The use and usefulness of functions in electronic journals: The experience of the Superjournal Project. Program 34(1) 1-28

 

Patterns of Use of Electronic Journals

This paper classifies a spectrum of user behaviour with electronic journals into a typology of eight categories of user/use.

Abstract:
On the basis of a twenty‐two month transaction log of SuperJournal and using K‐Means cluster analysis, this paper classifies a spectrum of user behaviour with electronic journals into a typology of eight categories of user (or eight patterns of use): the searcher, the enthusiastic user, the focused regular user, the specialised occasional user, the restricted user, the lost user, the exploratory user and the tourist. It examines the background and experience with SuperJournal of each type of user to illuminate its formation. The examination shows that the contents (both coverage and relevance) and ease of use of a system as they were perceived by the user were the most significant factors affecting patterns of use. Users’ perceptions of both factors were affected by a range of intervening factors such as discipline, status, habitual approach towards information management, availability of alternative electronic journal services, purpose of use, etc. As any service is likely to attract a great variety of users, so will it lead to differing patterns of use. This paper demonstrates the need for a service to meet the requirements of users with these varied patterns.

Emerald Insight Link to Paper

EASON, K.D., RICHARDSON, S, YU, L., Patterns of use of Electronic Journals, Journal of Documentation, Vol 56(5) pp 477-504. ISSN 00220418.

Patient Safety in Community Care: e-health systems and the Care of the Elderly at Home

Handbook of Research on Patient Safety and Quality Care through Health Informatics

This chapter reviews a number of technologies used for remote care: telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, electronic patient record systems, and technologies to support mobile working.

Abstract:

The increasing number of elderly people in need of health and social care is putting pressure on current services to develop better ways of providing integrated care in the community. It is a widely held belief that e-health technologies have great potential in enabling and achieving this goal. This chapter reviews a number of technologies used for this purpose: telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, electronic patient record systems, and technologies to support mobile working. In each case, technocentric-design approaches have led to problematic implementations and failures to achieve adoption into the routine of delivering healthcare. An examination of attempts to implement major changes in the service delivery of integrated care shows that e-health technologies can be successfully implemented when they are seen as an intrinsic part of the creation of a complete system. However, the design process required for successful delivery of these services is challenging; it requires sustained and integrated development work by clinical staff and technologists coordinating their work on process changes, organisational developments, and technology implementations.

Patient Safety in Community Care: e-health systems and the Care of the Elderly at Home Ken Eason

Link to IGI Global

Eason K. D. and Waterson P.E Patient Safety in Community Care: e-health systems and the care of the elderly at home In Michel V., Gulliver S., Rosenorn-Lang D. and Currie W. (eds) Patient Safety and Quality Dimensions of Health Informatics. IGI Global 198-213

The Sociotechnical Challenge of Integrating Telehealth and Telecare into Health and Social Care for the Elderly

Published in ‘Healthcare Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications’

Abstract:
Telehealth and telecare have been heralded as major mechanisms by which frail elderly people can continue to live at home but numerous pilot studies have not led to the adoption of these technologies as mainstream contributors to the health and social care of people in the community. This paper reviews why dissemination has proved difficult and concludes that one problem is that these technologies require considerable organisational changes if they are to be effective: successful implementation is not just a technical design issue but is a sociotechnical design challenge. The paper reviews the plans of 25 health communities in England to introduce integrated health and social care for the elderly. It concludes that these plans when implemented will produce organisational environments conducive to the mainstream deployment of telehealth and telecare. However, the plans focus on different kinds of integrated care and each makes different demands on telehealth and telecare. Progress on getting mainstream benefits from telehealth and telecare will therefore depend on building a number of different sociotechnical systems geared to different forms of integrated care and incorporating different forms of telehealth and telecare.

The Promise and Disappointment of Telehealth and Telecare

There is widespread belief that telehealth and telecare applications can be used to help people live independent lives at home even when they are suffering from multiple conditions that are severely disabling. In England the Department of Health has launched the 3 million lives programme to encourage their widespread deployment in community care. There are a variety of names given to technologies that support the health and social care of people in their own homes and in care homes. Telecare applications, often associated with social care, typically provide monitors and alarms in the home or on the person that can alert external agencies, e.g. in a call centre, when the person has a fall or another kind of emergency so that help can be sent. Telehealth and telemedicine are tools for health practitioners to deploy which, for example, enable test results to be collected at home and monitored by healthcare agencies or, in the case of telemedicine, enable remote real-time conversations between a patient and a medical specialist.

The Sociotechnical Challenge of Integrating Telehealth and Telecare into Health and Social Care for the Elderly Ken Eason

IGI Chapter Link

Eason K. D., Waterson P. and Davda P. (2013) The Sociotechnical Challenge of Integrating Telehealth and Telecare into Health and Social Care for the Elderly International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development 5(4) 14-26