The vulnerability of rules in complex work environments: dynamism and uncertainty pose problems for cognition

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10545/565101
Title:
The vulnerability of rules in complex work environments: dynamism and uncertainty pose problems for cognition
Authors:
Clewley, Richard; Stupple, Edward J. N. ( 0000-0001-8545-9504 )
Abstract:
Many complex work environments rely heavily on cognitive operators using rules. Operators sometimes fail to implement rules, with catastrophic human, social and economic costs. Rule-based error is widely reported, yet the mechanisms of rule vulnerability have received less attention. This paper examines rule vulnerability in the complex setting of airline transport operations. We examined ‘the stable approach criteria rule’, which acts as a system defence during the approach to land. The study experimentally tested whether system state complexity influenced rule failure. The results showed increased uncertainty and dynamism led to increased likelihood of rule failure. There was also an interaction effect, indicating complexity from different sources can combine to further constrain rule-based response. We discuss the results in relation to recent aircraft accidents and suggest that ‘rule-based error’ could be progressed to embrace rule vulnerability, fragility and failure. This better reflects the influence that system behaviour and cognitive variety have on rule-based response. Practitioner Summary: In this study, we examined mechanisms of rule vulnerability in the complex setting of airline transport operations. The results suggest work scenarios featuring high uncertainty and dynamism constrain rule-based response, leading to rules becoming vulnerable, fragile or failing completely. This has significant implications for rule-intensive, safety critical work environments.
Affiliation:
University of Derby
Citation:
Clewley, Richard, Stupple, Edward J.N. (2015) The vulnerability of rules in complex work environments: dynamism and uncertainty pose problems for cognition, Ergonomics, 58 (6):935
Journal:
Ergonomics
Issue Date:
15-Jan-2015
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10545/565101
DOI:
10.1080/00140139.2014.997804
Additional Links:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00140139.2014.997804
Type:
Article
Language:
en
ISSN:
0014-0139; 1366-5847
Appears in Collections:
Centre for Psychological Research

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorClewley, Richarden
dc.contributor.authorStupple, Edward J. N.en
dc.date.accessioned2015-08-05T08:10:02Zen
dc.date.available2015-08-05T08:10:02Zen
dc.date.issued2015-01-15en
dc.identifier.citationClewley, Richard, Stupple, Edward J.N. (2015) The vulnerability of rules in complex work environments: dynamism and uncertainty pose problems for cognition, Ergonomics, 58 (6):935en
dc.identifier.issn0014-0139en
dc.identifier.issn1366-5847en
dc.identifier.doi10.1080/00140139.2014.997804en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10545/565101en
dc.description.abstractMany complex work environments rely heavily on cognitive operators using rules. Operators sometimes fail to implement rules, with catastrophic human, social and economic costs. Rule-based error is widely reported, yet the mechanisms of rule vulnerability have received less attention. This paper examines rule vulnerability in the complex setting of airline transport operations. We examined ‘the stable approach criteria rule’, which acts as a system defence during the approach to land. The study experimentally tested whether system state complexity influenced rule failure. The results showed increased uncertainty and dynamism led to increased likelihood of rule failure. There was also an interaction effect, indicating complexity from different sources can combine to further constrain rule-based response. We discuss the results in relation to recent aircraft accidents and suggest that ‘rule-based error’ could be progressed to embrace rule vulnerability, fragility and failure. This better reflects the influence that system behaviour and cognitive variety have on rule-based response. Practitioner Summary: In this study, we examined mechanisms of rule vulnerability in the complex setting of airline transport operations. The results suggest work scenarios featuring high uncertainty and dynamism constrain rule-based response, leading to rules becoming vulnerable, fragile or failing completely. This has significant implications for rule-intensive, safety critical work environments.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.relation.urlhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00140139.2014.997804en
dc.rightsArchived with thanks to Ergonomicsen
dc.subjectErgonomicsen
dc.subjectFlight safetyen
dc.subjectRule-based cognitive controlen
dc.subjectComplexityen
dc.titleThe vulnerability of rules in complex work environments: dynamism and uncertainty pose problems for cognitionen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Derbyen
dc.identifier.journalErgonomicsen
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