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Change processes and ergonomics improvements in SMEs
Linköping University, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
2004 (English)In: Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, ISSN 1090-8471, Vol. 14, no 2, 135-155 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article deals with the question of how change processes can create ergonomic improvements in small- and medium-sized industrial enterprises. Drawing on experiences from two described and analyzed case studies in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and from ISO 9000 implementation processes previously studied, a hypothetical change framework is suggested through a theory generating approach. It separates change into action-driven change, which is an active experiential improvement process, and into vision-driven change, which is of a visionary design character. The ability to bring about problem solving into action was important for the success of the change processes. Furthermore, the nature of different hampering mechanisms concerning ergonomic improvements is discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 14, no 2, 135-155 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14673DOI: 10.1002/hfm.10055OAI: diva2:24215
Available from: 2007-10-01 Created: 2007-10-01
In thesis
1. On Stage: Acting for development of businesses and ergonomics in woodworking SMEs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Stage: Acting for development of businesses and ergonomics in woodworking SMEs
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis reports findings and results from studies of development work and change processes in the secondary woodworking industry. The purpose with the research is to increase the knowledge on how companies can initiate change and to increase their ability to change. The dual aim of improving both business and working conditions served as a guiding condition for the research. Case studies and action research were performed in small companies, mainly with less than 100 employees and in some cases less than 20 employees.

The thesis encompasses six papers addressing different topics within the framework of development work and change processes. Topics elaborated are how performance concerning the ergonomic situation in a company can be measured and how the content and process of ISO 9000 implementation as well as standardisation influence system performance and working conditions. Furthermore, a framework for how change is enacted in SMEs and its effects on ergonomic considerations is suggested. A methodology for initiating change efforts in complex and ambiguous problem situations is presented. Finally the different expert and participant roles in an organisational change effort are elaborated and analysed with reference to experiences from previous case studies and theory.

Together, the papers and the thesis emphasize the importance of action and work activities as a base for change. It is in the conflicting work activities or work conduct of differing perspectives where many of the drivers of change can be found. I also argue that this is a main reason to give good working conditions utmost importance for organisation performance. Further, I conclude that the six papers together contribute to a theoretical basis for developing small firms and attractive workplaces. It is indicated that the results are relevant to small manufacturing firms, while neither organisational structure nor resources available are the same as in larger companies. Moreover, the organisational size has a number of implications on aspects like visibility, available theoretical knowledge, vulnerability, formalisation, institutionalised organisational inertia etc. that will alter the demands on the change process. Many of the results are not limited to woodworking industry; the technical content of the ergonomics problems will however be different in other firms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling, 2007. 140 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1123
organisational change, ergonomics, woodworking, SME
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-9894 (URN)978-91-85831-18-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-10-05, C3, Hus C, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2007-10-01 Created: 2007-10-01 Last updated: 2010-01-14

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