Macroegonomics: work system analysis and design

Hum Factors. 2008 Jun;50(3):461-7. doi: 10.1518/001872008X288501.


Objective: Our goal was to briefly describe how macroergonomics was developed to fill a void in human factors and ergonomics.

Background: A study commissioned by the Human Factors Society in 1978 resulted in the formalization of a new subdiscipline of human factors, called organizational design and management, which eventually was coined macroergonomics.

Method: Differentiators of macroergonomics are presented along with methods adapted from other domains as well as unique methods.

Results: Based on laboratory and field studies conducted at multiple universities, government facilities, and industries, work system factors can be manipulated in the laboratory and studied in the field successfully. Also, case studies in academia, industry, and government demonstrate 60% to 90% performance impact and positive qualitative changes such as culture change.

Conclusion: Macroergonomics offers a perspective as well as methods and tools for more successful human factors and ergonomics design, development, intervention, and implementation.

Application: Human factors engineers or psychologists and ergonomists can use the perspective of macroergonomics to achieve better results or can expand their involvement of macroergonomics through the use of methods and tools.

MeSH terms

  • Ergonomics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Systems Analysis*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workplace*