Abstract Title

Communication between Human Factors Psychologists and Engineers: Problems and Solutions

Presentation Type

Paper

Abstract

Communication between Human Factors Psychologists and Engineers: Problems and Solutions

K. Stowers

University of Central Florida

The field of human factors psychology has become increasingly diverse over the years, with professionals today being involved in several domains including education, healthcare, aviation, and military operation. Given the diversification of domains being explored in the field of human factors, it is commonplace to find human factors psychologists working in teams alongside engineers, computer programmers, doctors, or teachers. Such interdisciplinary teams can face many challenges, especially when it comes to the smooth execution of project tasks. For example, one case study indicated that two common disadvantages to multidisciplinary work in human-computer interaction are (1) lack of a unified view and (2) loss of focus (de Paula & Barbosa, 2004). It may be that the underlying cause of such “disadvantages” lies in issues with communication. After all, it has been found that certain types of interdisciplinary teams may have trouble with communication between members from different professional backgrounds (Bunderson & Sutcliffe, 2002).

Of particular importance today are interdisciplinary teams involving human factors psychologists and engineers who often have to work together to win the never-ending race to technological perfection. Human factors psychologists and engineers may work together on a variety of problems, including the creation of intelligent agents, interfaces, and performance standards. Many of these problems may involve safety-critical aspects, making it imperative for human factors psychologists and engineers to succeed in their joint efforts to perform well as a team to attain high technological safety and performance. However, as stated above, communication issues could impede this process. The primary purpose of this presentation is thus to explore problems that may arise in communication between these two types of functionally diverse professionals – human factors psychologists and engineers – and pose possible solutions that may aid in their communication. A secondary goal of this presentation is to advocate for more research into communication between human factors psychologists and engineers in order to identify problems and create solutions that can help these teams work more effectively.

References:

Bunderson, J. S., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2002). Comparing alternative conceptualizations of functional diversity in management teams: Process and performance effects. Academy of management journal, 45(5), 875-893.

de Paula, M. G., Barbosa, S. D. J., & de Lucena, C. J. P. (2005, October). Conveying human-computer interaction concerns to software engineers through an interaction model. In Proceedings of the 2005 Latin American Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 109-119). ACM.

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Communication between Human Factors Psychologists and Engineers: Problems and Solutions

Communication between Human Factors Psychologists and Engineers: Problems and Solutions

K. Stowers

University of Central Florida

The field of human factors psychology has become increasingly diverse over the years, with professionals today being involved in several domains including education, healthcare, aviation, and military operation. Given the diversification of domains being explored in the field of human factors, it is commonplace to find human factors psychologists working in teams alongside engineers, computer programmers, doctors, or teachers. Such interdisciplinary teams can face many challenges, especially when it comes to the smooth execution of project tasks. For example, one case study indicated that two common disadvantages to multidisciplinary work in human-computer interaction are (1) lack of a unified view and (2) loss of focus (de Paula & Barbosa, 2004). It may be that the underlying cause of such “disadvantages” lies in issues with communication. After all, it has been found that certain types of interdisciplinary teams may have trouble with communication between members from different professional backgrounds (Bunderson & Sutcliffe, 2002).

Of particular importance today are interdisciplinary teams involving human factors psychologists and engineers who often have to work together to win the never-ending race to technological perfection. Human factors psychologists and engineers may work together on a variety of problems, including the creation of intelligent agents, interfaces, and performance standards. Many of these problems may involve safety-critical aspects, making it imperative for human factors psychologists and engineers to succeed in their joint efforts to perform well as a team to attain high technological safety and performance. However, as stated above, communication issues could impede this process. The primary purpose of this presentation is thus to explore problems that may arise in communication between these two types of functionally diverse professionals – human factors psychologists and engineers – and pose possible solutions that may aid in their communication. A secondary goal of this presentation is to advocate for more research into communication between human factors psychologists and engineers in order to identify problems and create solutions that can help these teams work more effectively.

References:

Bunderson, J. S., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2002). Comparing alternative conceptualizations of functional diversity in management teams: Process and performance effects. Academy of management journal, 45(5), 875-893.

de Paula, M. G., Barbosa, S. D. J., & de Lucena, C. J. P. (2005, October). Conveying human-computer interaction concerns to software engineers through an interaction model. In Proceedings of the 2005 Latin American Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 109-119). ACM.