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Our goal is to understand and support what makes a good work system. To achieve this goal, we continuously reflect the methodological and theoretical toolbox of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E) as well as our own research agenda. To do so, we follow two steps.

In a first step, we investigate practice patterns in work systems to identify relevant problems and their underlying challenges. Because traditional methods, such as experiments and simulations in the laboratory, are only partially suited to identify relevant problems in practice, we extend the HF/E toolbox, for instance, by performing observations and interviews in the field. To understand related challenges, we consider not only the human and technical factors underlying a problem but also its socio-cultural and historical context.

In a second step and based on the knowledge and understanding acquired during step one, we inquire intothe factors that are essential for a well-functioning work system and how they can be supported as well aspotential inhibiting factors. Based on this analysis, we focus our research and its application on those factors where our efforts will likely have the greatest benefit for the work system at hand.

In this sense, we do not limit HF/E to be an applied science that only reacts to problems, which have emerged from the interplay of humans and (new) technology. We rather consider HF/E to be a science that understands the history and presence of a work system and thinks about its future. Such a science identifies and helps shapedevelopmental potential in the work system as well as in its own methods and theories.

At present, we are following these two steps in two domains:



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Division of Ergonomics
Office MAR 3-2
Room 3.041
Marchstr. 23
10587 Berlin
Fon +49 (0)30 314 73 777
Fax +49 (0)30 314 73 772