Exploring the Implications of Allocation of Function for Human Resource Management in the Royal Navy

Organisational requirements definition for information technology systems (ORDIT) to determine the responsibilities within the planned socio-technical system

Automation changes the allocation of function between machines and people and there can be many concerns about the effects on individual human performance. However, these changes also have wider consequences because the number of people in the system may be reduced and the skills they require may be different with consequential impact upon . These wider implications are rarely considered in a systematic manner when a new technical system is being developed. This paper presents a method for the assessment of these wider implications during the system development process. This method has been developed and demonstrated in a Royal Navy context to explore the impact of automation in a new class of warships on the manning of the warship and on human resource planning in the Navy. The paper describes the method and the results of applying it in the naval context. The method utilizes the approach of organisational requirements definition for information technology systems (ORDIT) to determine the responsibilities within the planned socio-technical system and a scenario-based workshop approach for establishing the implications and options at each stage of the analysis. The results demonstrate that it is possible to trace the implications of a technical change of this kind for a major organization but that it is a multi-stage and multi-layered process. There are within the process many options with different implications which reveals where the organization has leverage to plan for the future.


Human Factors and Ergonomics Ken Eason Organisational Requirements Definition for Information Technology Systems


Google Books Link

STRAIN, J. and EASON, K.D., Exploring the implications of allocation of function for human resource management in the Royal Navy, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Vol 52(2), pp319-334. ISSN 1071-5819.

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