Macroergonomics: A Systems Approach to Human Factors and Ergonomics (ERG150)

May 23 - July 15, 2022 (Online)

This 8-week, asynchronous online course presents fundamental concepts from multiple disciplines that are essential to understanding and implementing macroergonomics principles. The course begins with introducing core topics from systems theory, socio-technical systems approach, organizational behavior and design, participatory ergonomics, and implementing integrated organizational interventions. The class continues with an exploration of various case studies where macroergonomics interventions occurred along with recognizing successful factors in designing and implementing organizational change efforts to enhance well-being, safety, performance, and organizational effectiveness. Finally, a systems analysis planning process for designing and evaluating organizational interventions with the goal of creating greater organizational and employee commitment to improving performance, job satisfaction, safety, and quality of work-life is discussed.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this activity, the learner will be able to:

  • Define macroergonomics and the various disciplines that contribute to the field.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of using a systems approach when designing, implementing and evaluating organizational interventions.

  • Describe the various macroergonomics methods and approaches to assess work systems and to consider the systems sociotechnical characteristics

  • Discuss the rationale for integrating safety and ergonomics programs utilizing participatory approaches to improve employees' well-being and performance.

  • Conduct organizational training assessments to design effective and efficient training programs.

  • Describe macroergonomics and participatory approaches to surveillance, assessment and controls to prevent work related musculoskeletal disorders and to optimize organizational effectiveness.

  • Recognize and identify new ways of working in office and computer work environments, Working From Home, and their associated risk factors from a macroergonomics perspective.

  • Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of the macroergonomics issues in organizational change efforts.

  • Perform a systems analysis planning process for designing organizational interventions and developing business cases using the Intervention Design and Analysis Scorecard (IDEAS) tool.

Headshot of Michelle Robertson, PhD, CPE

Instructor: Michelle Robertson, PhD, CPE

Dr. Robertson is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) and holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology, M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Human Factors/Ergonomics from the University of California Santa Barbara.  She is a Fellow of the HFES and IEA. Dr. Robertson has published over 95 articles in human factors/ergonomics and has presented her work nationally and internationally. She has been the recipient of several awards, including the Best Paper Award of HFES; NORA/NIOSH innovative research award for her work on designing a macro-ergonomics training program, the NIOSH/APA Best Intervention Honorable Mention paper for her office ergonomics intervention research, and the HFES Alphonse Chapanis best paper award.