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Ergonomics and technology transfer into small and mediumsized enterprises

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The role of ergonomic interventions is discussed in relation to technology transfer into small and medium-sized enterprises within an economy and from industrialized to industrially developing countries. In view of the flexibility and other advantages of these enterprises, there is a growing potential to develop ergonomics interventions adjusted to their technology transfer needs. Recent positive experiences in technology transfer situations in small and medium-sized enterprises have shown that successful ergonomics interventions have some common features. These features include building on local practice, looking at multiple needs together and focusing on practicable solutions. Advances are further seen in action-oriented procedures where participation is especially important and in a range of low-cost solutions. It is essential to develop an integrated change strategy emphasizing (1) enabling methods that can lead people to immediate action in multiple aspects of work, (2) participatory steps with active participation of local people, and (3) flexible use of support tools and techniques and training about how and when to use these tools and group work techniques. Particular efforts are needed in utilizing effective support tools and techniques for finding work design alternatives and training to facilitate their appropriate use. Sharing design processes of such 'field ergonomics' with a focus on local and innovative action in this direction will be important.
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Keywords: CHANGE STRATEGY; DEVELOPING COUNTRIES; ERGONOMICS; LOW-COST IMPROVEMENT; PARTICIPATORY APPROACH; SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES; TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1997

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