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System response time and method of pay: stress effects in computer-based tasks.

Schleifer LM; Amick BC III
Int J Hum-Comput Interact 1989 Jan; 1(1):23-39
The effects of computer response time and method of pay (incentive or nonincentive) on stress levels of data entry employees were studied. Forty five female typists were divided into four groups and were given data to enter into a computer over a 4 day study period. The first group used computers with rapid response times (a 350 millisecond delay after each field of information was entered) and received nonincentive pay (RR/NI). The second group used computers with slow response times and received nonincentive pay (SR/NI). The third group used rapid response time computers and received incentive pay based on the number of keystrokes per minutes above a baseline; but, they were penalized for errors per minute (RR/IP). The fourth group used slow response computers and received incentive pay (SR/IP). Compared to users of RR computers, users of SR computers exhibited increased frustration and impatience levels. Degree of rush and tension increased during the 4 days in IP workers compared to NI workers. Visual, arm, and hand discomfort increased with days worked independently of worker group. Mood disturbances and somatic discomfort were higher in the afternoon than in the morning. The authors conclude that use of rapid response computer systems and nonincentive pay methods can reduce the strain associated with data entry work.
Data-processing; Job-stress; Psychological-factors; Physical-stress; Computer-equipment; Ergonomics; Work-performance
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Journal Article
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International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division