Cultural factors and implementation of ergonomics in developing countries : (an industrial psychological study of selected cultural factors with specific reference to the transfer of technology within the eastern Mpumalanga Province, one of nine provinces of South Africa)

Strydom, J. (Joyce) (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-03)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: When considering the attitude of a workforce towards their work and ways of increasing their motivation, attention must be given to their culture. Attitudes within In this study the influence of culture on the implementation of ergonomics was studied with specific reference to the transfer of technology in developing countries. Cultural diversity factors such as language/communication, religious beliefs, anthropometrics, educational background time, ethnicity values, attitude and values was measured using a specially designed questionnaire. It was completed by eighteen managers representing seven large industries in the Mpumalanga province. The cultural factor with the highest significance was 'time'. Others with high significance were educational background, attitude, language/communication and values. Ethnicity values, anthropometrics and religious beliefs were cultural factors which was not considered to be significant, however the population was very small and it is considered that they do contribute towards the implementation of ergonomICS. Training, imported technology and management are external factors, which make a useful and practical contribution to the subject of Ergonomics and the implementation thereof in organizations. If understood, cultural factors provide a much richer environment and different viewpoints, which can increase productivity by the effective use of technology. an organization are due to the attitudes that exist in the culture from which the members of the organization have come. Management practices, therefore, must cope with the attitudes and prejudices of the cultures within the organization. These cultures have been influenced by many factors like religious doctrine and history, not primarily concerned with the efficiency and productivity of the organization. Ergonomics aim at the optimization of the interaction between human and machine and the operating environment. This can provide the information necessary to promote an acceptable and efficient interaction between human-machine and environment in any form of a human-at-work system. In the process of technology transfer from Industrial Developed Countries to Industrial Developing Countries, emphasis is laid on economic progress. Although improvement of the economic situation and the standard of living is important to achieve, neglecting ergonomic considerations is both economically expensive and socially disturbing, thus creating negative effects in the country acquiring the technology. Ergonomics serve as a link between human factor considerations and the transfer of technology. A comprehensive systems model of Ergonomics was used, which indicates the interaction between facets emphasizing information as a core dynamic process, which can be useful to ensure optimality of choices of technology.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Wanneer 'n werkerskorps ondersoek word met betrekking tot hul houdings teenoor werk en wyses om hul motivering te verhoog, moet aandag geskenk word aan hul kultuur. Houdings binne 'n organisasie ontstaan uit houdings wat reeds bestaan in die kultuur waaruit lede van die organisasie oorspronklik kom. Bestuurspraktyke moet die houdinge en bevooroordelings van kulture binne die organisasie hanteer. Hierdie kulture is beYnvloed deur vele faktore soos geloofsdoktrines en geskiedenis wat nie primer gerig is op die effektiwiteit en produktiwiteit van die organisasie nie. Ergonomika het ten doel die optimisering van die interaksie tussen mens en masjien en die omgewing van funksionering, wat die nodige inligting kan voorsien wat nodig is om aanvaarbare en effektiewe interaksie te bewerkstellig tussen mens, masjien en die omgewing ten opsige van enige mens-by-sy-werk sisteem. In die proses van tegnologiese oordrag vanaf Industriele Ontwikkelde Lande na Industriele Ontwikkelende Lande, word klem gele op ekonomiese vooruitgang. Alhoewel verbetering van die ekonomiese situasie en 'n verhoging van die standaard van lewe belangrik is om te bereik, sal die verwaardlosing van ergonomiese oorwegings beide ekonomies duur en sosiaal verontrustend wees en gevolglik negatiewe effekte veroorsaak binne die land wat die tegnologie moet verkry. Ergonomika dien as 'n skakel tussen die menslike faktor oorwegings en die oordrag van tegnologie. 'n Omvattende sisteem model van Ergonomika dui op die interaksie tussen belangrike fasette van inligting as 'n dinamiese kern proses wat bruikbaar kan wees by die optimisering van keuses van tegnologie. In hierdie studie word die invloed van kulturele faktore op die implementering van ergonomika bestudeer met spesifieke verwysing na die oordrag van tegnologie. Kulturele diversiteitsfaktore soos taal/kommunikasie, gelowe, antropometrie, opvoedkundige agtergrond, tyd, etniese waardes, houding en waardes is gemeet deur 'n spesiaal ontwerpte vraelys. Dit is voltooi deur agtien bestuurders wat sewe groot industriee in die Mpumalanga provinsie verteenwoordig. Die kulturele faktor wat as die mees beduidend gemeet het is 'tyd'. Ander beduidende faktore is opvoedkundige agtergrond, houdings, taal/kommunikasie en waardes. Nie beduidende faktore naamlik, etnisiteit, antropometrie en gelowe is weI beskou as bydraend in die implementering van ergonomika aangesien die populasie wat gemeet is as relatief klein beskou kan word en moontlik in 'n groter populasie as beduidend kon meet. Opleiding, ingevoerde tegnologie en bestuur is eksterne faktore wat 'n waardevolle en praktiese bydrae maak tot die vakgebied en die implementering van Ergonomika. Kulturele diversiteit voorsien 'n ryk omgewing met verskillende uitgangspunte en indien dit verstaan word kan dit lei tot verhoogde produktiwiteit deur verbeterde gebruik van tegnologie.

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