Design concepts of computer-aided integrated manufacturing systems: Work-psychological concepts and empirical findings

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Elsevier, Volume 17 (1994)


Computer-Integrated-Manufacturing CIM, Organizational design, Production design concepts, Socio-technical system approach, Work psychology, Work-orientation


The research project "GRIPS" is investigating the design of computer-aided integrated manufacturing systems from a work psychological perspective. The goal is to develop and empirically support adequate design concepts. The project consists of three phases. Evidence from a broad questionnaire survey indicates that most CIM implementations fail to meet expectations associated therewith. Based on the assumption that only the joint optimization of social and technical system results in humane working conditions and economic efficiency, implementations and use of CIM systems has been investigated in 60 companies in Switzerland. THe conceptual framework distinguishes technically-oriented and work-oriented design concepts on four levels; the enterprise, the organizational unit, the group and the individual. Work-oriented manufacturing systems - as opposed to technically-oriented ones - are characterized by decentralization, functional integration, work in self-regulated groups and complete and challenging tasks. The findings support the hypothesis that work-oriented design concepts are related to higher efficiency and better achievement of goals and pursued with the use of new technologies. In the third phase 12 companies have been selected for detailed case studies: The companies are comparable concerning product range and manufacturing conditions but different on the level of work-orientation.