Avenues of entry: how industrial engineers and ergonomists access and influence human factors and ergonomics issues
Journal article, 2014

This study compares how Canadian industrial engineers (IEs) and ergonomists ‘position themselves’ to influence human factors and ergonomics (HFE) issues. The study examined how these stakeholders perceived their influence on HFE issues, constraints they operated under, and strategies used. The results contribute to an understanding of decisions and processes surrounding HFE practices, showing that organisational entry points and stakeholder expectations on IEs and ergonomists affect their influence on HFE issues. Ergonomists influenced HFE issues by leveraging their knowledge of other stakeholders’ priorities, and were more dependent on accessing the issue via a ‘problem owner’. IEs were often entrusted with greater freedom to act on improvements. Expressing HFE improvements in terms of business benefits was a successful strategy for both. It was found that ergonomists operated as ‘partial solution builders’, trying to influence the HFE issue as an expert, lobbyist or facilitator. Based on the results, an existing framework was modified.

occupational health

industrial engineering

goal hooking



organisational politics

qualitative research


human factors



Cecilia Berlin

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Production Systems

Per Medbo

Ryerson University

Nancy Theberge

University of Waterloo

Roland Örtengren

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Production Systems

European Journal of Industrial Engineering

1751-5254 (ISSN)

Vol. 8 3 325-348

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




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