A Specific Method Developed for Carrying Questionnaire Surveys. Or, how to amalgamate operators’ perception with production system design and to organisational units within hospitals. Explanations and some short examples
Preprint, 2017

This article (or preprint not yet completed due to the retirement of one of the authors) is a more universally orientated compilation (with some short examples) of some of the authors' research and development work, than what has been published before. The content is based on some specially designed questionnaire surveys carried out by the authors during almost three decades. Thus, we explain a specific method, which has been judged necessary to make public since it makes questionnaire studies more scientifically valuable in particular senses. This method was developed and practised in the automotive and manufacturing industry, and after that refined further for yet another sector of the society (the health-care sector).

This approach means that at first (1992–2006), were a number plants/production systems (mainly Volvo operations) evaluated dealing with blue-collar employees (however, the two most recent questionnaire surveys within this sector of the society were also embracing the category of white-collar employees included). Note that all of these questionnaire surveys comprised all of the employees within the categories studied (i.e. not just a sample of operators) (the most extensive comprised 1100 blue-collar employees). Secondly (2011–2015), was Skaraborgs Sjukhus in focus for the authors' interest.

In this case, were we initially dealing with yearly questionnaire surveys dispatched to all employees regarding work and work conditions, this means that the so-called co-workers' questionnaires surveys were paid interest, as have been and still are practised within e.g. all Swedish public hospital, as well as within many other private and public sectors. After that was quite other matter within this hospital of a more geographical and organisational nature tickling our awareness. Specifically, this means, that for the automotive cases were we already from the beginning especially competent because one of the authors had earlier (1976–1984) been involved in automotive matters, while his research colleagues and he intensified this research and development work after that (1985–1992). During the latter period, where they systematically disassembling several products and compared these findings with the content in the information systems used (as a part of theirs earlier long-time research and development work to design several production systems mainly for both the Volvo Automobile and Truck Corporations).

During this particular phase where the involved in, e.g., complementation and reconfiguration of the so-called product information for the products disassembled. Thereby were the physical products, as well as the less obvious anomalies of various information systems, possible to be mastered in ways that were and still are quite uncommon for most practitioners as well as scientists. A deeper understanding of some different aspects implied being of interest were thereby gained before the method for questionnaires studies at all became important for us. They were therefore in these automotive cases, already from the very beginning, possessing a "sort of reference" for the work to understand e.g. both the product and the functions of the production systems in question (this feat was thereby achieved long before questionnaire surveys proved to be attention-grabbing).

In contrast, for the Skaraborgs Sjukhus, were such "sort of reference" not initially at hand for both of the two authors of this of this article (this sector of the society was unfamiliar for us). That is, we were (as novices) instead, in this case, required to as before for the automotive industry, cross-refer information from various sources of information using some different methods that will be clarified it this article. And, to after that compare these results with results from particular inventories of the building facilities (which thus, in this case, served as a "sort of reference" for us). The specific method to carry out questionnaire studies requires precise control out of each operator's work and workplace. Also, it is, therefore, a matter of taking advantage of auxiliary information like (1) both real-life and schematic layouts, (2) individuals and workgroups geographical positions therein. That is, all of the different questionnaire forms comprised specially constructed questions concerning where and with what the individual operator (respondent) were working (one key question was thereby how to design such questions for the two different sectors of the society). As partly already hinted, such achievements require that we must gain an in-depth, understanding of each particular plant/production system (or acquire a similar knowledge of all medical operations). One merit (or the increased scientific value) is that we were able to link subjective information with more hard facts, i.e. it has thereby proved possible for us to amalgamate operators' perception with e.g. the production system design.

A comment: Note that by means of this specific method to organize questionnaire surveys (including complementary data collection) it is feasible to couple (softer) questionnaire data to (harder) technical data like the operators perception of work and work conditions to parameters like product flow patterns and buffer functions and positions.


preconditions for hospital design

restructuring of information systems

perception of work and work conditions

materials handling

healthcare services

engineering of psychosocial preconditions

organisational changes

manufacturing technology


Tomas Engström

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management

Bo Blomquist

Göteborgs universitet


Annan naturvetenskap

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