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Simulation of communicative behavior
Luleå tekniska universitet.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Developing tasks and organizations involves risk, and investments in planning, equipment, and training evoke expectations that may not be fulfilled. Therefore, it would be desirable to use an experimenting approach, and successively try and test new courses of action under realistic conditions. Simulation of task behavior should be one component in such an approach. In this study simulation is based on a model description of real events and preferred new states. Simulation involves design of situations and tasks that mirrors the model in essential respects. Thus, the advocated approach to simulation admits independent manipulation of situations, testing of behavioral consequences, and training for skill mastery. Simulation has commonly been used as an isolated method for training of individual skills or group behavior. In this study the aim was to develop and apply the simulation method for improving complex communication tasks and organizational systems. Two projects were conducted with a starting point in field studies of actual core operations and modeling of new systems objectives. In both cases the model-based simulations involved testing and training of communicative behavior to develop tasks and to fulfill organizational objectives. The first project concerned how labor inspectors handled new demands on a complex inspection task of the employers’ internal control of the working environment. Field studies indicated that negative transfer of old inspection strategies hampered the adjust-ment to the new task demands. However, the inherent weaknesses of field observations made it difficult to separate the effects of natural context from the consequences of inspection strategies. Consequently, simulated inspections were designed for control of possible sources of bias and contextual conditions. The simulations involved roleplays between inspectors and actors in prepared roles in a conference setting. The results confirmed that individual differences could be related to deficient inspection strategies. In a new simulation study think-aloud techniques were used, which improved training and made it possible to examine an inspector’s reasoning. The interpretation was that the inspectors developed a conscious action schema to handle inspections of control systems. Thus, the simulations succeeded in unraveling some important conditions of monitoring inspection behavior. This would make the training results more practically sustainable. In the second project simulation was used in a program for organizational development. The program aimed at implementing a system for quality control in an elderly care organization. Modeling of formal requirements and results from field observations of deficient quality control monitored the simulation design. Two coordinated quality systems were included in the simulation model, one at the individual resident level and one for self- assessment at department level. Essential communication situations were identified, and a simulation design of integrated studio sessions and controlled applications was set up. Initially the focus was on testing and developing leader skills. In the following simulations the focus was on establishing permanent organizational effects through training of individual and group tasks. An evaluation design monitored the development process. Data collection involved observations, judgments, interviews and protocol analysis. The design put emphasis on process evaluation but ended with an independent outcome evaluation. The results showed that simulation activities enhanced transfer of training effects to actual improvements of core operations. In total 43 departments participated in the program. Practical conditions of personnel mobility and shifting work-schedules required a flexible design of sampling participants in order to maintain continuity in the quality development. A crucial methodological conclusion from this study is that a systematic but flexible design of simulations is necessary for the results to be sustainable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2004. , 141 p.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544 ; 2004:30
Research subject
Engineering Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-25925Local ID: bb998440-6f62-11db-962b-000ea68e967bOAI: diva2:999083
Godkänd; 2004; 20061026 (haneit)Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30Bibliographically approved

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