Organizational Ergonomics
- a tool for improving organizational effectiveness


Nithya E
Semester IV - MBA
Chinmaya Institute of Technology


In the present scenario, the attention for health, safety and productivity is increasing. Humans always need to interact with their environment, thus the concern for ergonomics is increasing day by day. Ergonomics is concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the proffession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well being and overall system performance.Organisational ergonomics is dealing with the wider sociotechnical system, covering organisational issues such as culture, teamwork and human resources. Relevant topics include communication and teamwork, computer-supported cooperative work, and job and task design.Ergonomics in the workplace has to do largely with the safety of employees, both long and short-term. It can decrease stress, error and frustration and can increase efficiency.This paper examines the importance of organizational ergonomics  for improving the overall outcome of an organization.


Ergonomics can be employed in organization to fulfill the two goals of health and productivity. It is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.Ergonomics draws on many disciplines in its study of humans and their environments, including anthropometry, biomechanics, mechanical & industrial engineering,  kinesiology, physiology and psycology.

Organizational ergonomics, also known as macroergonomis focuses on optimizing socio-technical systems and organizing structures, policies and processes in order to maximise organizational effectiveness.It also deals with the optimization of the designs of organizational and work systems through the consideration of personnel, technological, and environmental variables and their interactions. The goal of macroergonomics is a completely efficient work system at both the macro- and micro-ergonomic level which results in improved productivity, and employee satisfaction, health, safety, and commitment.

Today the physical environment can influence the interface between individuals and organizations. Technology and advancements in the workplaces have their negative impact on the physical environment. So efforts must be taken to provide a healthy and safety environment for the employees to keep them motivated.For this to happen, the work environment should be made free from hazards or other factors detrimental to the health and safety of employees. Hence the importance for macro ergonomics is increasing.

Beginning in 1985, many companies had started implementing ergonomics for work safety. Red Wing Shoe Company of Red Wing Minnesota was one among that, they reduced work related musculoskeletel disorders by macroergonomics. The company purchased adjustable ergonomic chairs, anti- fatigue mats for all standing jobs, instituted Continuous Flow Manufacturing which included operators working in groups and job rotation- ergonomically redesigned selected machines nd work stations for greater flexibility, elemination of awkward postures, greater ease of operation and modiffied production processes to reduce strain. As a result of this workers compensation insurance premium have dropped by 70% from 1989 to 1995 for a savings of 3.1 million.

The idea and current perspective of the discipline was the work of the U.S. Human Factors Society Select Committee on the Future of Human Factors, 1980-2000. This committee was formed to analyze trends in all aspects of life and to look at how they would impact ergonomics over the following 20 years.


According to balance model concept, every effort is made to anticipate and minimize the impact of changes. Factors that tend to impede balance can be individual or organization-wide.This model proposes that working conditions (and other environmental features) produce "loads" on the person that challenges biological resources (energy expenditure, biomechanical strain, stress responses) and psychological resources (perception, cognition, decision-making, distress). The characteristics of the load produce physiological and psychological consequences such as hormone release, muscular action, perceptions and mood states. Individual's physical capacity, health status and motivation influence the responses to the load.


  • Cognitive walk through Method: This method is a usability inspection method in which the evaluators can apply user perspective to task scenarios to identify design problems. As applied to macroergonomics, evaluators are able to analyze the usability of work system designs to identify how well a work system is organized and how well the workflow is integrated.
  • Kansei Method: This is a method that transforms consumer's responses to new products into design specifications. As applied to macroergonomics, this method can translate employee's responses to changes to a work system into design specifications.
  • High Integration of Technology, Organization, and People (HITOP): This is a manual procedure done step-by-step to apply technological change to the workplace. It allows managers to be more aware of the human and organizational aspects of their technology plans, allowing them to efficiently integrate technology in these contexts.
  • Top Molder: This model helps manufacturing companies identify the organizational changes needed when new technologies are being considered for their process.
  • Computer integrated Manufacturing, Organization, and People System Design (CIMOP): This model allows for evaluating computer-integrated manufacturing, organization, and people system design based on knowledge of the system.
  • Anthropotechnology: This method considers analysis and design modification of systems for the efficient transfer of technology from one culture to another.
  • Systems Analysis Tool (SAT): This is a method to conduct systematic trade-off evaluations of work-system intervention alternatives.
  • Macro ergonomics Analysis of Structure(MAS): This method analyzes the structure of work systems according to their compatibility with unique sociotechnical aspects.
  • Macroergonomic Analysis And Design (MEAD): This method assesses work-system processes by using a ten-step process.
  • Virtual Manufacturing and Response Surface Methodology(VMRSM) : This method uses computerized tools and statistical analysis for workstation design.


  • Organizational ergonomics can provide a fully harmonized work system that ensures employee job satisfaaction and commitment.
  • Helps employees for resolving physical as well as mental stress.
  • Improves the total quality and productivity of the work system
  • Provides a safety and healthy work environment.
  • By all these oorganizational synergism can be attained.

    Organizationl ergonomics (Macroergonomics) offers a perspective as well as methods and tools for more successful human factors and ergonomics design, development, intervention, and implementation.With real top management, and employee commitment at all organizational levels, macroergonomic interventions including systematic carry-through to the microergonomic design/modification of jobs and related human machine, human environment can result in the dramatic improvements in organizational effectiveness.


    • S. Kumar, "Advances in occupational ergonomics and safety", ISO Press, page no: 26-28
    • Hendrick.H.W , "Human factors in organizational design and mangement", Ergonomics, page no: 743-756
    • Michelle. M. Robertson, "Macroergonomics: a work system design"
    • Pascale Crayon, "handbook of human factors and ergonomics", page no: 44 & 45

    Nithya E
    Semester IV - MBA
    Chinmaya Institute of Technology

    Source: E-mail July 20, 2011




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