The cognitive use of artifacts in cooperative process management : Rescue management and underground line control
Abstract: Work performed in various types of centers of coordination is highly dynamic and requires that a team continuously take actions and make multiple decisions in real time. This type of Work is here refered to as cooperative process management. Through empirical studies, carried out in an underground line control room and in rescue management, this thesis analyzes how the various cognitive artifacts are used by the operator teams in order to match the particular nature of the tasks undertaken. The cognitive artifacts considered range from specially designed wall-mounted electronic boards and computer databases all the way to paper maps, refrigerator magnets, and Post-it notes. Of specialinterest is the local designs, redesigns, and customizations undertaken by the teams in order to create and maintain a mutually shared understanding of the situation at hand. Tiris thesis also examines thecognitive artifacts as coordination and conununication tools.The findings are presented in four articles. The first article focuses on the role of the public artifacts in rescue management, i.e. artifacts which are immediately available to the whole team at the same time and place. Special focus is placed on the role these artifacts play for the creation of common conceptual ground. In the second article, the organization of an underground line control room is analyzed, showing how the same cognitive artifacts play significantly different roles dUring the day andnight shift. The third article describes how cognitive artifacts, which are customized by rescue management teams, structure their work in ways which make the tasks less cognitively demanding. Finally, the fourth article goes through an unusual incident which occurred during underground line operations, in which the team lost its situation awareness. This was due to the difficulty of integrating information which was distributed over several cognitive artifacts.
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