Holistic approach to work system design: Analysis and proposed model

Jose Vicente Gomez, University of Texas at El Paso


This thesis presents a conceptual framework for designing and improving work systems based on a holistic approach. Fast changes are occurring in industry, in great part due to fast changing technology. However, using the best available technology will not yield a more efficient and safe process. The different work subsystems are not taken into consideration for work system design changes, leaving out important constraints such as human capabilities, limitations and the external environment. Even when the design tries to incorporate the human component, it usually only considered at the Micro level; still requiring a Macro level system improvement approach in order to maximize benefits. Microergonomical projects have proven to result in a 10%–25% improvement; however, Macroergonomical approaches result in improvements of 60%–90%. The project was initiated based on Macro ergonomics and a multidisciplinary approach as reference to develop a framework to intensify efforts to exploit new opportunities of improvement in regard to work system design. This model would follow a holistic approach that includes Organizational Development (OD); as well as theories and empirical studies originating in sociology, economics, strategic management, and theories of change and innovation. This project contains a description of the field of Macroergonomics and other relevant disciplines to the topic of work system design and improvement; including a description of their relevance in industry. Moreover, this project describes benefits of the model proposed, the methodology followed, as well as discussion and conclusions of the model.

Subject Area

Industrial engineering|Management

Recommended Citation

Gomez, Jose Vicente, "Holistic approach to work system design: Analysis and proposed model" (2005). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1430978.