Modelling and simulation of complex sociotechnical systems: envisioning and analysing work environments

Lawrence J. Hettinger, Alex Kirlik, Yang Miang Goh, Peter Buckle
2015 Ergonomics  
Accurate comprehension and analysis of complex sociotechnical systems is a daunting task. Empirically examining, or simply envisioning the structure and behaviour of such systems challenges traditional analytic and experimental approaches as well as our everyday cognitive capabilities. Computer-based models and simulations afford potentially useful means of accomplishing sociotechnical system design and analysis objectives. From a design perspective, they can provide a basis for a common mental
more » ... model among stakeholders, thereby facilitating accurate comprehension of factors impacting system performance and potential effects of system modifications. From a research perspective, models and simulations afford the means to study aspects of sociotechnical system design and operation, including the potential impact of modifications to structural and dynamic system properties, in ways not feasible with traditional experimental approaches. This paper describes issues involved in the design and use of such models and simulations and describes a proposed path forward to their development and implementation. Practitioner Summary: The size and complexity of real-world sociotechnical systems can present significant barriers to their design, comprehension and empirical analysis. This article describes the potential advantages of computer-based models and simulations for understanding factors that impact sociotechnical system design and operation, particularly with respect to process and occupational safety.
doi:10.1080/00140139.2015.1008586 pmid:25761227 pmcid:PMC4647651 fatcat:onqehqo5hzajtolq43jcv4tikq