Human-machine interface : a case study to investigate the effect of a newly introduced system on the work morale of the people who interact with it

Bradshaw, Jennie (Sheila Jennie) (2003-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aims to investigate a work environment into which a new workflow system, that automates the work process, has recently been introduced. The study will focus on the level of work morale displayed by the people active in this new environment, as well as their perception of their work. The study takes the form of a case study carried out in the Nedcor Home Loans Application Processing Centre. This centre is the central area in which all home loan applications for the entire Gauteng, North West, Orange Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo regions are collated and processed. The applications from these regions translate into a total of between 9 and 13 thousand applications each month. The home loan application process is the most complex of the banking application processes as it involves a number of interfaces with external parties and systems. The workflow system was introduced in order to simplify, co-ordinate and accelerate this process. The study was conducted using D. A. De Vaus's Surveys in Social Research, Fourth Edition, a methodology for surveys in social research, as a guideline. A structured questionnaire was constructed in order to collect data regarding the opinions and behaviour of the sample members. A pilot study was conducted with 10 of the sample members in order to test and refine the survey instrument. Following this, the updated survey instrument was distributed to the sample group. The population of the case study environment consisted of less than 100 people all situated in one location. For this reason the entire survey population was selected as the sample population. The data collected described the sample members' attitudes towards work, their relationships with their colleagues, as well as their perceptions of their opportunities for personal growth, as a measure of their level of work morale. Information describing the employees perceived type of work was also collected. This was done by accumulating information regarding the level of thinking, responsibility and monotony that characterised their work, as well as the proportion of time that staff members spent interacting directly with the system. After the survey implementation, the data was collated and analysed. The reliability of the data was tested using Cronbach's alpha. Data that originated from concepts with Cronbach's alpha scores of below 0,6 were deemed to be unreliable and were removed from the dataset. A correlation analysis, using Spearman's rank correlation, was conducted on the remaining data. This analysis was aimed at establishing whether any correlations between the type of work carried out by an employee and his or her associated level of work morale exist. It was established that the level of work morale that characterised the case study environment was relatively low, as will be discussed in detail in Chapter 5. Furthermore, it was ascertained that the introduction of the system had a significant influence on the nature of the work carried out by the staff in the case study environment, and that a strong correlation existed between the type of work carried out by an employee and his or her associated level of work morale. From this it was concluded that the introduction of the system influenced the level of work morale found to characterise the case study environment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doelwit van hierdie studie is om 'n werksomgewing te evalueer waar 'n nuwe werkvloeistelsel, wat prosesse outomatiseer, onlangs geimplementeer is. Die studie fokus op die vlak van werk moraal wat vertoon word deur mense in hierdie nuwe omgewing, sowel as hulle persepsie van hul werk. Die studie neem die vorm aan van 'n gevallestudie wat uitgevoer is in die Nedcor Huislening Applikasie Sentrum. Hierdie sentrum is die sentrale plek waar alle huislening applikasies vir die Gauteng, Noordwes, Vrystaat, Mpumalanga en Limpopo gebiede versamel en verwerk word. Die hoeveelheid applikasies in hierdie gebiede is tussen 9 000 en 13 000 per maand. Die huislening applikasie proses is die mees komplekse proses van alle bank applikasie prosesse, aangesien dit 'n aantal integrasies met eksterne partye en stelsels vereis. Die werkvloeistelsel is geimplementeer om hierdie prosesse te vereenvoudig, te koordineer en te versnel. Die studie is uitgevoer deur D.A. De Vaus se "Surveys in Social Research, Fourth Edition, a methodology for surveys in social research" as 'n verwysingsraamwerk te gebruik. 'n Gestruktureerde vraelys is saamgestel om data te versamel oor die menings en gedrag van die lede in die toetsgroep. 'n Proefstudie is uitgevoer met 10 lede van die toetsgroep om die opname-instrument te toets en te verfyn. Daarna is die opgedateerde opname instrument onder die toetsgroep versprei. Die bevolking van die gevallestudie bestaan uit minder as 100 mense wat almal in dieselfde lokasie geplaas is. Om hierdie rede is die totale bevolking gekies as die toetsgroep. Die data wat versamel is het die lede van die toetsgroep se houdings teenoor hulle werk, hulle verhoudings met hulle kollegas, sowel as hulle persepsie van geleenthede vir persoonlike groei, beskryf. Die data is gebruik as 'n aanduiding van hul vlak van werk moraal. Data wat die werknemers se persepsie van hulle tipe werk weerspieel, is ook versamel. Data oor die denkvlak, verantwoordelikheid en eentonigheid van hulle werk, sowel as die hoeveelheid tyd wat personeellede spandeer het op direkte interaksie met die stelsel. Na die implementering van die opname, is die data versamel en geanaliseer. Die betroubaarheid van die data is getoets deur Cronbach se alpha toets toe te pas. Data, waar die indikator se Cronbach alpha telling minder was as 0.6, is geag as onbetroubaar en is verwyder van die datastel. 'n Korrelasie-analise is uitgevoer op die oorblywende data, deur gebruik te maak van Spearman se korrelasie mode. Die analise is daarop gefokus om te bepaal of daar enige ooreenstemming is tussen 'n werknemer se tipe werk en sy of haar verwante vlak van werkmoraal. Daar is gevind dat die vlak van werkmoraal wat hierdie studie kenmerk, relatief laag is. Dit sal verder bestudeer work in hoofstuk 5. Daar is ook bevind dat die instelling van die stelsel 'n beduidende invloed het op die werk wat uitgevoer word deur die betrokke personeel in die gevallestudie-omgewing. Daar is 'n sterk korrelasie tussen die tipe werk en die vlak van werk moraal van werknemers. Die gevolgtrekking is dus dat die instelling van die stelsel die vlak van werkmoraal beinvloed het in hierdie gevallestudie.

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