Computerization and Some Psychosocial Factors in the Work Environment.
NIOSH 1978 Apr:30-40
A study to determine the effect of computerization (an extensive EDP system) on different psychosocial components of the work environment has been conducted. Groups of employees within the organization which differ from one another in respect to their relationship to EDP were interviewed. The method for data revision was qualitative analysis of interview material, descriptive statistics, and certain multivariate methods of analysis. A stratified randomly sampled group of 424 people from different departments with fundamental differences in computer technique was selected. The following departments were included: bookkeeping (operating departments, ABDE and C), EDP department, accounting, auditing, and investigation. Nearly one-half of interviewed subjects had their tasks altered within their section as a result of introduction of the computer system. The principal effect upon job content was noted in the operating departments which seem to have a lesser sense of satisfaction, meaningfulness and independence than other departments. The work is thought to be less interesting, have fewer work operations, and is experienced as being monotonous. The work is considered to be unqualified, less meaningful and with lesser opportunity for personal initiative. Other departments are more satisfied with aspects of job content. Computerization increased stress resulting from heavier workload, daily deadlines, faster paced work and increased formalization and control of employee tasks. Psychological stress was greatly increased by the impact of error making. Disruptions in computer procedures increase the risk of overtime. Of those surveyed, 83% believe the computers will in the future decrease the possibilities for people to influence their work and life situations. Questions regarding health symptoms directly related to the work environment included: 1) muscle pains of the shoulders, neck and back as a result of poor work posture; 2) headache and irritation as a result of extensions of working hours; and 3) sleep problems and tiredness resulting from the work itself and its content.
NIOSH-Contract; Contract-210-77-0041; Psychological-factors; Occupational-psychology; Behavior; Psychological-responses; Tension; Sociological-factors; Ergonomics; Automation;
Reducing Occupational Stress, Proceedings of a Conference May 10-12, 1977, at Westchester Division, New York Medical Center, White Plains, New York, Division of Biomedical and Behavioral Science, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, DHEW Publication No. 78-140, NIOSH Contract No. 210-77-0041