“Power Base” Tactics for Workplace Change – an Interview Study with Industrial Engineers and Ergonomists
Journal article, 2017

The work activities of Industrial Engineers (IEs) and Ergonomists drive workplace changes. The purpose of this study is to compare the work practices of the two professions and examine 1) how IEs and ergonomists gain influence over workplace changes, and 2) whether there are prevailing types of intentional interaction behaviours called Power Bases (PB), present in the interaction tactics they employ. The study identified key behavioural strategies used by the interviewees to successfully influence workplace changes; these were then mapped to their corresponding PB. Results showed that IEs and Ergonomists were successfully influencing workplace changes using several tactics across the spectrum of power bases, with the exception of Reward and Coercion. The study concludes with a list of recommended workplace change agent tactics, and proposes that a PB “analytical lens” can serve to increase the budding ergonomist’s critical and analytical skills when considering possible workplace change tactics.

Organizational Design and Management

Power bases


Organizational Ergonomics

Occupational Health


Cecilia Berlin

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Production Systems

Patrick Neumann

Ryerson University

Nancy Theberge

University of Waterloo

Roland Örtengren

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Production Systems


0014-0139 (ISSN) 1366-5847 (eISSN)

Vol. 60 5 613-627

Subject Categories

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

Work Sciences

Other Engineering and Technologies

Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance






More information