Cognitive Work Analysis: Coping with Complexity

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Complex sociotechnical systems are systems made up of numerous interacting parts, both human and non-human, operating in dynamic, ambiguous and safety critical domains. Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA) is a structured framework specifically developed for considering the development and analysis of these complex sociotechnical systems. Unlike many human factors approaches, CWA does not focus on how human-system interaction should proceed (prescriptive modelling) or how human-system interaction currently works (descriptive modelling). Instead, through a focus on constraints, it develops a model of how work can be conducted within a given work domain, without explicitly identifying specific sequences of actions (formative modelling).

The framework leads the analyst to consider the environment the task takes place within, and the effect of the imposed constraints on the way work can be conducted. The framework guides the analyst through the process of answering the question of why the system exists, what activities can be conducted within the domain as well as how these activities can achieved, and who can perform them.

The first part of this book contains a comprehensive description of CWA, introducing it to the uninitiated. This book then presents a number of applications in complex military domains, exploring and developing the benefits of CWA. Unlike much of the previous literature, particular attention is placed on exploring the CWA framework in its entirety. This holistic approach focuses on the system environment, the activity that takes place within it, the strategies used to conduct this activity, the way in which the constituent parts of the system (both human and non-human) interact, and the behaviour required. Each stage of this analysis identifies the constraints governing the system; it is contended that through this holistic understanding of constraints, recommendations can be made for the design of system interaction; increasing the ability of users to cope with unanticipated, unexpected situations. This book discusses the applicability of the approach in system analysis, development and evaluation. It provides a structured process to the previously defined framework.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754670261
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Series: Human Factors in Defence Series
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

List of Contents xv

Acknowledgements xvii

About the Authors xix

Commonly Used Analysis Acronyms and Initialisms xxiii

Commonly Used Military Acronyms and Initialisms xxv

Glossary xxvii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Why CWA for Command and Control? 2

Structure of the Book 4

Chapter 2 It's a Complex World 7

Introduction 7

Complexity 7

Command and Control C2 9

What Makes CWA Different From Other Human Factors Methods? 10

The Framework 16

Framework for Conducting CWA 19

Work Domain Analysis 19

Control Task Analysis 27

Strategies Analysis 31

Social Organisation and Cooperation Analysis 33

Worker Competencies Analysis 35

Chapter Summary 38

Chapter 3 Interaction Design 41

Chapter Introduction 41

Interface Design or Interaction Design? 42

Interface Design Principles 43

Developing Displays 51

Grouping Displays 52

Physical and Functional Interfaces 54

Metaphoric References 56

When Mental Models are Incorrect 58

Standardise Approaches 59

What are We Designing? - A Case Study for Military Planning 60

Chapter Summary 65

Chapter 4 Application of CWA in Familiar Domains 69

Chapter Introduction 69

An iPod 69

Introduction 69

The Analysis 72

Work Domain Analysis 72

Control Task Analysis 76

Strategies Analysis 78

Conclusions 81

Chapter Summary 82

Chapter 5 Applications of CWA in a Complex World 83

Chapter Introduction 83

Design - CWA of Rotary Wing Military Mission Planning System 83

Data Collection 86

Analysis Results 87

Conclusions 98

Evaluation - Using Work Domain Analysis to Evaluate the Impact of Digitisation on Command and Control 100

Method 103

Results 106

Conclusions 109

Chapter Summary 109

Chapter 6 Using CWA to Design for Dynamic Allocation of Function 111

Chapter Introduction 111

CWA of the Sensor to Effecter Paradigm 111

The Domain 112

The Analysis 113

Conclusions 128

Design for the Sensor to Effecter System 129

Chapter Summary 153

Chapter 7 Designing Interfaces Using CWA 155

Chapter Introduction 155

New Warfare 156

Effects Based Operations (EBO) 156

The Comprehensive Approach 158

Synthesising CWA and EBO 159

Benefits of This Type of Representation 161

A Contemporary Planning Approach 162

Development of Visualisation Ideas 168

The Synthesis of EBO and CWA 168

Display Ideas 169

Experiments 171

Phase 1 Interpretation of Existing Displays 171

Phase 2 Ease of Generation and Usability of Displays 181

Experimental Conclusions 192

Chapter Summary 194

Chapter 8 Development of a CWA Software Tool 197

Introduction 197

Why Do We Need a Software Tool? 197

What Should the Tool Do, and How Should It Do It? 197

The Benefits of the Tool 200

Using the Tool 200

Analysis Information 201

Phase 1 Work Domain Analysis (WDA) 202

Phase 2 Control Task Analysis (ConTA) 205

Phase 3 Course of Action / Strategies Analysis (StrA) 209

Phase 4 Social Organisation and Cooperation Analysis (SOCA) 212

Phase 5 Worker Competencies Analysis 215

Compilation 216

Summary 216

Chapter Summary 218

Chapter 9 Does the Tool Make the CWA Process any Quicker or Easier? 219

Chapter Introduction 219

CWA of an Armoured Battlegroup in the Quick Attack 219

The Analysis 223

Conclusions 231

Chapter Summary 233

Chapter 10 Conclusions 235

Is CWA Useful for the Analysis, Development and Evaluation of 'Command and Control' Systems? 236

Can It Cope with Complexity and Different Units of Analysis (Artefacts to Dynamic Systems)? 236

What Are the Limits of CWA? 237

Developments and Directions for Future Work 238

Linking the Phases 240

Extending CWA 242

Closing Remarks 246

Appendix: Can it be Taught? 247

Bibliography 255

Index 265

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