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Balancing act – Interview study of decision-making in the Swedish vehicle industry
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Humans and technology. (Engineering Psychology)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0626-1116
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Humans and technology. (Engineering Psychology)
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Humans and technology. (Engineering Psychology)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1705-8615
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Within industrial environments, a number of different decisions need to be made on a daily basis regarding product development. These decisions will have an impact on, for example, safety, efficiency and customer satisfaction in different ways. It is of interest to investigate how decision makers within the Swedish vehicle industry experience the line of action for making decisions and how they experience possible concerns and improvements in decision-making. Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with different experts within the vehicle industry. The results showed that everyday decision-making is a balancing act between normative and descriptive decisions, often depending on available knowledge and guidelines and whether there is time and money available to acquire new and complementary knowledge. If the resources needed to acquire knowledge are lacking, one of the most important resources is networking, both internally and externally. Well- functioning communication between teams and key actors in the development process is also reported to be crucial for efficient decision-making. Also, a more agile work approach could impact decision-making due to different resource requirements for hardware and software.

Keywords [en]
Decision-making, Descriptive decisions, Normative decisions, Dynamic industrial environments, Swedish vehicle industry
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Engineering Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-81512OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-81512DiVA, id: diva2:1502938
Available from: 2020-11-23 Created: 2020-11-23 Last updated: 2021-04-20
In thesis
1. Driving technology and development: Usability studies of gear shifters with variations in pattern, stability and design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Driving technology and development: Usability studies of gear shifters with variations in pattern, stability and design
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Driven teknologi och utveckling : Användbarhetsstudier av växelväljare med variationer i mönster, stabilitet och design
Abstract [en]

Over the last few decades, the development of technology used in cars has moved forward at a very intensive pace. The focus has started to shift from the technology to the human as a user. The work done earlier regarding, for example, driver’s capabilities to process information, has now become a focus when developing modern cars in order to make driving more safe, efficient, and pleasurable. With increased knowledge comes new questions. With advancing technology and opportunities, questions about the user and how to adapt the technology to humans has become increasingly detailed and complex. One of these technological devices is the novel gear shifter used in passenger cars. Today, there is a transition taking place. Traditional gear shifters, which use a mechanical connection to the transmission, are being replaced by gear shifters that rely on electronic systems. This will allow for greater variation in both the function and design of modern cars. However, there is still a lack of knowledge about this new technology; we know little about what effects these variations can have on users. The aim of this thesis is to contribute with knowledge regarding this new technology by studying the conditions for technological development in general and the usability of modern gear shifters in passenger cars in particular.

One field study, two laboratory studies and one interview study will be described in this thesis work. The field study, which was conducted with traditional shift-by-wire gear shifters, showed that the joystick shifter was the most preferred gear shifter type since it was familiar, however, the largest number of errors was made with the joystick and stalk shifter. Familiarity and the car environment seemed to influence the overall acceptance and attitude towards the gear shifters. The second and third study showed evidence of driver difficulties with the monostable gear shifters. Difficulties concerned the lack of dedicated positions, which withdrew both visual and haptic aid for the driver and could presumably increase the driver’s cognitive load, causing the driver to feel lost in the shifter pattern and to direct too much attention towards the gear shifter instead of the road. Participants described how extensive use of gear shifter modes that are lined up in a row could be cognitively demanding and that the single fixed position of the gear shifter did not provide the type of haptic or visual feedback that could help the driver become oriented with the shifter pattern. The third study compared the performance of the gear shifters in younger and older participants. The older participants made more errors and had longer task completion times than the younger participants. However, the older participants rated the gear shifters with higher ease-of-use scores than the younger participants. The older participants seemed to learn how to use the polystable gear shifters quite quickly, but not the monostable gear shifters. The fifth paper used a different approach and methodology to describe the complexities of decision-making in the Swedish vehicle industry. It revealed a situation where decision-making was a balancing act between normative and descriptive decision-making, often dependent on available knowledge and guidelines and whether there was time and money to acquire new and complementary knowledge. If resources for knowledge acquisition were lacking, social networking was described as a way to compensate. Well-functioning communication between teams and key actors in the development process was also revealed to be crucial for efficient decision-making. Also, a more agile way of working has the potential to impact decision-making due to different resource requirements for hardware and software.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå University of Technology, 2020
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords
Usability, Gear shifter, Monostable, Polystable, Shift-by-wire
National Category
Applied Psychology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Engineering Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-81207 (URN)978-91-7790-699-5 (ISBN)978-91-7790-700-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-12-18, A109, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Life On Board
Available from: 2020-10-23 Created: 2020-10-23 Last updated: 2020-11-25Bibliographically approved

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Lohilahti Bladfält, SannaGrane, Camilla

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