Representing situation awareness in collaborative systems: a case study in the energy distribution domain

Ergonomics. 2008 Mar;51(3):367-84. doi: 10.1080/00140130701636512.


The concept of distributed situation awareness (DSA) is currently receiving increasing attention from the human factors community. This article investigates DSA in a collaborative real-world industrial setting by discussing the results derived from a recent naturalistic study undertaken within the UK energy distribution domain. The results describe the DSA-related information used by the networks of agents involved in the scenarios analysed, the sharing of this information between the agents and the salience of different information elements used. Thus, the structure, quality and content of each network's DSA is discussed, along with the implications for DSA theory. The findings reinforce the notion that when viewing situation awareness (SA) in collaborative systems, it is useful to focus on the coordinated behaviour of the system itself, rather than on the individual as the unit of analysis and suggest that the findings from such assessments can potentially be used to inform system, procedure and training design. SA is a critical commodity for teams working in industrial systems and systems, procedures and training programmes should be designed to facilitate efficient system SA acquisition and maintenance. This article presents approaches for describing and understanding SA during real-world collaborative tasks, the outputs from which can potentially be used to inform system, training programmes and procedure design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Ergonomics
  • Industry
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Observation
  • Power Plants / organization & administration*
  • United Kingdom