Passive versus active operator work in automated process control - a job design case study in a control center

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Methods of avoiding common problems associated with operator work in automated process control, such as understimulation and difficulties in achieving and maintaining necessary skills and competence, are addressed in this paper. The source of these problems is deduced here to be that monitoring tasks are a predominant part of the job. This case study shows how work in a highly automated process can be designed not only to avoid the traditional problems, but also provide a stimulating job within a good work situation at the same time as fulfilling efficiency demands. A new definition of active/passive operator jobs is made which is based on categorisation of the types of work tasks that make up the job. The definition gives an explanation of how different designs of operator jobs result in more or less active/passive work situations.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • Job desing, Process operator, Uneventful monotony, Psychosocial work environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-451
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch