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Coping with Complexity: The psychology of human behavior in complex systems

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... An initial criterion concerns the possibility of obtaining understandable data or information (Hoc, 1989a, b;Roth and Woods, 1988;Brehmer, 1990). As stated by Woods (1988), a second criterion is related to the changing character of parameter value. As Hoc (1989a, b) and Woods (1988) noted, assessing the state or effects of an action requires anticipation and representation of the probable states to come. ...
... As stated by Woods (1988), a second criterion is related to the changing character of parameter value. As Hoc (1989a, b) and Woods (1988) noted, assessing the state or effects of an action requires anticipation and representation of the probable states to come. Knowledge of causal chains, allowing for quality of comprehension, prognosis and choice of action, generates the third criterion -the number of variables interacting in a process (Brehmer and Allard, 1991;Woods, 1988). ...
... As Hoc (1989a, b) and Woods (1988) noted, assessing the state or effects of an action requires anticipation and representation of the probable states to come. Knowledge of causal chains, allowing for quality of comprehension, prognosis and choice of action, generates the third criterion -the number of variables interacting in a process (Brehmer and Allard, 1991;Woods, 1988). The final criterion is connected with timeframes. ...
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The paper is devoted to the analysis of the role played by the dynamic capabilities of IT in shaping the job performance of contemporary employees. It also discusses teamwork as a factor playing a key role in such a relationship, showing that dynamic IT capabilities have the potential to support teamwork in an organisation. Empirical research was conducted in order to verify the existence of such a relationship. The research was done based on a questionnaire as a tool for data collection, and the sample contained 246 organisations operating in Poland. Statistical analysis of data was performed using linear regression analysis with mediators and moderators. The results show that teamwork is a mediator of the relationship between dynamic IT capabilities and job performance. Moreover, the level of organisational dynamics was verified as a moderator of said relationship.
... Human performance factors often contribute to the progressive nature of these incidents, either in the form of commissions (acts which increase the difficulty of patient management) or in the form of omissions (failure to act in order to forestall the factors at work on patient phsyiology). In going sour incidents, the sequential dependency of human decision and action stands out; one physician action leads to effects on physiological processes which in turn provide new indications that effect physician situation assessment and further action (Woods, 1988). 8. ...
... Monitoring the world and responding to events as they happen is a critical component of information processing in dynamic high-consequence domains like anesthesiology (Woods, 1988;Gaba, 1989). The basic unit of information processing in this type of situation can be called the perceptual or cognitive cycle (Neisser, 1976). ...
Technical Report
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This report describes research conducted during 1989 and 1990 on the cognitive characteristics of a corpus of anesthesia critical incidents. The incidents were collected by monitoring and transcribing the regular quality assurance conferences in a large, university anesthesiology department. The 57 reports of incidents were analyzed by constructing protocols which traced the flow of attention and the knowledge activation sequence of the participants. Characteristics of the resulting protocols were used to divide the collection into five categories: acute incidents, going sour incidents, inevitable outcome incidents, airway incidents, and non-incident incidents. Of these, the acute and going sour categories represent distinct forms of incident evolution. The implications of this distinction are discussed in the report. Nearly all of the incidents involve human cognitive performance features. Cognition clearly plays a role in avoiding incidents but also in aborting and recovering from incidents in progress. Moreover, it is clear that subtle variations in cognitive function may playa crucial role in anesthetic disasters, of which incidents are taken to be prototypes. Review of the corpus reveals the different cognitive functions involved in anesthesia and anesthesia incidents. These cover a wide range including classic aspects of cognition, for example the direction of attention, and complex and poorly understood aspects such as situation awareness. The cognitive features include dealing with competing goals, dealing with competing indicators, the limitations of imperfect models, knowledge activation failures, the role of learned procedures and assumptions in reducing cognitive workload, failure to integrate multiple themes, organizational factors, and planning. These presence of these different cognitive features and cognitive failures in a single discipline is significant because it enhances and supports separate findings from other domains (e.g. nuclear power plant operation, commercial aviation) and also because it provides strong support for the contention that operators acting in these semantically complex, time pressured, high consequence domains face common problems and adopt similar strategies for dealing with them. The report demonstrates the way in which cognitive analysis of incidents can be accomplished in anesthesia and in other domains and suggests a system for categorizing the results obtained. It also raises questions about the adequacy of evaluations of risk and safety that do not explicitly account for the cognitive aspects of incidents and their evolution. In order to make real progress on safety in domains that depend critically on human operators it is necessary to examine and assess human cognitive performance, a process which requires large amounts of data and careful reconstruction. Such cognitive analysis is difficult. It requires substantial experience, skill, and effort and depends on acquiring and sifting through large quantities of data. This should not be suprising, since the domain itself is one characterized by experience, skill, effort, and large quantities of data. The challenge for us and for other researchers is to perform more such analyses and extend and refine the techniques described here and to link the analyses to those from other domains.
... In the 1980 s, Hollnagel (in Scandinavia) and Woods (in the US) developed their own perspectives on cognition, human error and safety and accident models in a CSE context originally created by Rasmussen (Hollnagel, Woods, 1983, Woods, Roth, 1988, Hollnagel, 1993, 1998, Woods, Johannesen, Cook, Sarter, 1994, Woods, 1988. The two authors are conceptually close, and their collaboration leads to the proposition of Joint Cognitive Systems (JCS) in the mid-2000 (Hollnagel, Woods, 2005, a development that started in the early 1980 s (Hollnagel, Woods, 1983). ...
Article
Over the past two decades, the ‘new view’ has become a popular term in safety theory and practice. It has however also been criticised, provoking division and controversy. The aim of this article is to clarify the current situation. It describes the origins, ambiguities and successes of the ‘new view’ as well as the critiques formulated. The article begins by outlining the origins of this concept, in the 1980 s and 1990 s, from the cognitive (system) engineering (CSE) school initiated by Rasmussen, Hollnagel and Woods. This differed from Reason’s approach to human error in this period. The article explains how Dekker, in the early 2000 s, translates ideas from the CSE school to coin the term ‘new view’, while also developing, shortly after, an argument against Reason’s legacy that was more radical and critical than his predecessors’. Secondly, the article describes the ambiguities associated with the term ‘new view’ because of the different programs that have derived from CSE (Resilience Engineering – RE then Safety II, Safety Differently, Theory of Graceful Extensibility). The text identifies three programs by different thinkers (methodological, formal and critical) and Dekker’s three eclectic versions of the ‘new view’. Thirdly, the article discusses the successes of the CSE and RE school, showing how it has strongly resonated with many practitioners outside the academic world. Fourthly, the critiques raised within the field of human factors and system safety but also from different traditions (e.g., system safety engineering with Leveson, sociology of safety with Hopkins) are introduced, and discussed.
... According to Namian et al. (2016), Situational Awareness (SA) is the ability to identify, assess hazards, make projections and develop control. For workers to maintain a sound awareness of a system, they need to track how events naturally unfold (Woods 1988). MacEachren et al. (2011) classified SA into Level 1: Perception of the elements in the environment; Level 2: Comprehension of the current situation; and Level 3: Prediction of the future status. ...
... In this context, a complexityoriented perspective is more focused on relationships than on constituent elements (Hollnagel, 2012a). Specifying the scope of the aggregate complexity notion, a system analysis needs to acknowledge three dimensions: the world in which the system acts, the involved elements, and the representation utilized in the observation of the system, which contributes to complexity itself (Woods, 1988). A system representation is a certain model that is developed to offer a representation of a system, which has to inherently capture the dynamicity and intertwined nature of the system at hand. ...
Chapter
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Modern societies call for a reconsideration of risk and safety, in light of the increasing complexity of human-made systems. Technological artefacts, and the respective role of humans, as well as the organizational contexts in which they operate, dramatically changed in the last decades with an even more severe transformation expected in the future. Rooted in human factors, ergonomics, cognitive engineering, systems thinking and complexity theory, the discipline of resilience engineering proposes innovative approaches for safety challenges imposed by the dynamic, uncertain, and intertwined nature of modern sociotechnical systems. Resilience engineering aims to provide support means for ensuring that systems can sustain required operations under both expected and unexpected conditions. This chapter aims to provide a summary of the scientific field of resilience engineering, as well as a description of two methods common in the field, the resilience analysis grid and the functional resonance analysis method. Following two examples, the chapter proposes a multidisciplinary research agenda for the field.
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Meta-analyses have provided major findings about developmental predictors of offending. However, there has been little focus on their relative ability to predict offending behaviour. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of meta-analyses with two aims: 1) to summarize all well-established knowledge about developmental (explanatory) predictors of offending, and 2) to sort those predictors according to their effect size. The strongest predictors of general offending were related to family/parental dimensions. Delinquent peers, school/employment problems, family problems, certain types of mental health problems, and alcohol/substance abuse were the most important predictors of persistence in crime. Our findings suggest the crucial role of family-related developmental predictors in preventing offending. The predictors of persistence in crime highlight the multisystemic nature of persistent antisocial behaviour.
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Sonographers experience a high cognitive load in hospital-based care. High ambient noise and frequent noise-based interruptions include knocking on the room door, questions from others in the room or through communication technology, alarms, alerts from personal devices, and carts and people passing in the hallway. In addition, other providers turning on the overhead light is distracting for exams that need to be conducted in reduced lighting conditions. This article suggests strategies to improve working conditions for sonographers conducting exams on a patient in the hospital room. Our strategies emerge from human factors methods and principles, which derive from communication principles and theory. These strategies are organized by reducing noise-based and light-based interruptions in the hospital room and hallway, primarily through changes to the built environment and communication technology settings and reducing the use of speech during cognitively challenging time periods through training. Most of the strategies are low-cost and can be implemented within the current built environment and communication technology infrastructure. We anticipate that these strategies could enhance patient outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, improve sonographers’ job satisfaction, protect provider health, and increase procedural efficiency.
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Organizations deploy a team of dedicated security professionals and spend significant resources safeguarding their digital assets. Despite best efforts, security incidents are on the rise and remain a key challenge. The literature has focused inadequately on the lack of professionals’ awareness of security, system, or situational aspects. Extant literature on the impact of awareness on threat management tasks is disjointed and does not adequately consider the metacognitive awareness and self-efficacy of security professionals. To this effect, we propose and empirically validate a model to study the relationship between security, system, situational awareness, and security professionals’ ability to detect, assess, and mitigate threats. We also investigate the effects of metacognitive awareness and self-efficacy on the relationship between awareness and threat management tasks. We validate the model using a survey of 100 information security professionals. Results indicate a significant relationship between awareness, metacognitive awareness, self-efficacy, and threat management task performance. The analysis also demonstrates that metacognitive awareness and self-efficacy mediated the impact of awareness on threat management task performance. We discuss the effects and implications of this study for practice and research.
Chapter
While Africa is one of the most promising continents in the world, it is facing mounting challenges to sustainable development in terms of disaster risk, climate change, environmental degradation and demographic and socioeconomic processes. Societies are thus increasingly conceived as having to be resilient to safeguard what they value over time. However, for resilience to have any practical meaning in relation to sustainable development requires further operationalization to facilitate both conceptual understanding and practical action. This chapter suggests such an operationalization, approaching resilience as an emergent property of a society’s ability to perform different essential functions—anticipation, recognition, adaptation, and learning—and contends that advancing resilience is about developing the capacity to perform these functions. Sustainable development can therefore be pursued through deliberate capacity development efforts explicitly targeting these functions and their interconnections.
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