Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

July 2013    |    Volume: 45    |    Number: 7

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Home-run performance

Understanding the perception-cognition-action cycle can help you improve work systems

By Jerry L. Harbour

In my article “Understanding Human Performance” in the July 2012 issue of Industrial Engineer, I developed a macro-system model of human performance, concluding that successful task performance depends on a number of highly varied system elements. In the constructed model, I noted that task performance not only is affected by a genetically and skill-influenced human phenotype (representing an organism’s observable trait characteristics), but also by varying features of the immediate task environment, all of which interact in a highly complex manner. A key finding was that failed human performance is often more a function of a poorly designed and vulnerable work system than a supposedly fallible human being.


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