Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

The impact of technology on the mental content of work in industrial operations Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8k71nm48g

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  • Industrial operations are becoming more mechanized and automated. The increasing complexity of work affects the proportion of physical to mental effort which workers spend in the performance of their jobs. Traditional work measurement techniques which are primarily designed to measure the individual's physical load have to be complemented with other techniques to evaluate his mental load. This study is aimed at developing a methodology which can be applied to the analysis and measurement of the mental contribution of workers and its associated effects. Information Theory and the Theory of Communication are used to provide a conceptual framework in which information processes employed in the performance of industrial tasks are identified and evaluated. Depending on their complexity, the various information processes called mental therbligs, are classified according to four levels of integrative behavior. Information processing rates are calculated on the basis of the amount of information transmitted in the performance of these therbligs. Average and, where possible, peak rates are obtained for typical jobs representing two or more technological levels in four different segments of the forest products industry: a. Lumber Sorting b. Lumber Grading c. Groundwood Pulp Production, and d. Sulfate (Kraft) Pulp Production. Thus, the mental content of jobs in each of these industry segments is evaluated. The mental contribution of industrial workers is then analyzed in terms of some of the following: 1. The effects of the repetition cycle rate and the variability of the tasks' sequence. 2. The effects of increased system complexity on the ability of operators to cope with the high informational load, equipment malfunctions and emergency situations. 3. The effects of increased system entropy on the operator's speed. of responses and on the requirements of system design. 4. The effects of the addition of a process control computer on the variability of the process parameters and on the operator's mental load. 5. The implications regarding training and compensation of workers slated for the jobs created by new technology.
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