Cognitive Ergonomics of Assembly Work from a Job Demands–Resources Perspective: Three Qualitative Case Studies
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

In manufacturing companies, cognitive processing is required from assembly workers to perform correct and timely assembly of complex products, often with varied specifications and high quality demands. This paper explores assembly operators’ perceptions of cognitive/mental workload to provide a holistic understanding of the work conditions that affect cognitive demands and performance. While the physical loading aspects of assembly work are well known, most empirical literature dealing with cognitive/mental loading in manufacturing tends to examine a few particular aspects, rather than address the issue with a holistic system view. This semi-structured interview study, involving 50 industrial assembly operators from three Swedish companies, explores how assemblers perceive that their cognitive performance and well-being is influenced by a wide variety of factors within the context of mechanical product assembly. The interview transcripts were analysed using a priori coding, followed by bottom-up Thematic Analysis. The results indicate that a variety of systemic effects on assemblers’ cognitive performance can be classified as job demands or resources. Quite often, the absence of a resource mirrors a related demand, and “good assembly conditions”, as described by the interviewees, often re-frame demands as desirable challenges that foster motivation and positive feelings towards the work. The identified demands and resources stem from task design, timing, physical loading, intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, social teamwork and the product’s “interface” design. Despite organisational differences and conditions between the three companies that took part in the study, the results are largely consistent.

occupational ergonomics

cognitive ergonomics

cognitive performance

work environment

mental workload

manual assembly

human factors


Matilda Wollter Bergman

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Design and Human Factors

Cecilia Berlin

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Design and Human Factors

Maral Babapour Chafi

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Design and Human Factors

Ann-Christine Falck

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Produktionssystem

Roland Örtengren

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Produktionssystem

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

1661-7827 (ISSN) 1660-4601 (eISSN)

Vol. 18 23 12282

Modell för prediktiv bedömning av kognitiv belastning – PreKo

AFA Försäkring (dnr 170018), 2018-02-01 -- 2021-10-01.

AFA Försäkring (dnr 170018), 2018-02-01 -- 2021-01-01.


Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi


Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin


Hållbar utveckling


Hälsa och teknik



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