PROGRESSIVE CHANGE: The Productive Uses of Human Qualities

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Contents

  1. ADAPTATION to Progressive Resistance Exercise
  2. Research Reference Group
  3. Definition of Humanism
  4. Rethinking Efficiency
  5. Combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law

The entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reinforces the importance of domestic remedies to deal with violations of these rights. Such partnerships include, inter alia:. In light of the challenges faced and the large number of actors involved, pursuing a coordinated, coherent and responsive approach to combating impunity and strengthening the rule of law will remain a high priority on the agenda of OHCHR for the coming years. Enhancing equality and countering discrimination.

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Increasing implementation of the outcomes of the human rights mechanisms. Strengthening the rule of law and accountability for human rights violations. Enhancing participation and protecting civic space. Preventing violations and strengthening protection of human rights.

Advancing sustainable development through human rights. UN Human Rights Report Standing up for your rights. Turn on more accessible mode. Turn off more accessible mode. Combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law Relevance of the issue Recent events around the world have provided stark reminders of how an absence of the rule of law leads to violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as to oppressive rule and conflict.

OHCHR added value Focus areas Human rights in the administration of justice Transitional justice Torture, death penalty and deprivation of liberty Counter-terrorism and human rights Legal and judicial protection of economic, social and cultural rights. Thematic Priorities. Enhancing equality and countering discrimination Increasing implementation of the outcomes of the human rights mechanisms Strengthening the rule of law and accountability for human rights violations Enhancing participation and protecting civic space Preventing violations and strengthening protection of human rights Advancing sustainable development through human rights.

It is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines and equipment. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders , which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability. Human factors and ergonomics is concerned with the "fit" between the user, equipment, and environment or "fitting a job to a person". To assess the fit between a person and the used technology, human factors specialists or ergonomists consider the job activity being done and the demands on the user; the equipment used its size, shape, and how appropriate it is for the task , and the information used how it is presented, accessed, and changed.

Ergonomics draws on many disciplines in its study of humans and their environments, including anthropometry, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering , industrial design, information design , kinesiology , physiology , cognitive psychology , industrial and organizational psychology , and space psychology. The introduction of the term to the English lexicon is widely attributed to British psychologist Hywel Murrell , at the meeting at the UK's Admiralty , which led to the foundation of The Ergonomics Society. He used it to encompass the studies in which he had been engaged during and after World War II.

The expression human factors is a predominantly North American [10] term which has been adopted to emphasize the application of the same methods to non-work-related situations. A "human factor" is a physical or cognitive property of an individual or social behavior specific to humans that may influence the functioning of technological systems. The terms "human factors" and "ergonomics" are essentially synonymous. Ergonomics comprise three main fields of research: physical, cognitive and organizational ergonomics. There are many specializations within these broad categories.

Specializations in the field of physical ergonomics may include visual ergonomics. Specializations within the field of cognitive ergonomics may include usability, human—computer interaction , and user experience engineering. Some specializations may cut across these domains: Environmental ergonomics is concerned with human interaction with the environment as characterized by climate, temperature, pressure, vibration, light.

New terms are being generated all the time. For instance, "user trial engineer" may refer to a human factors professional who specializes in user trials. According to the International Ergonomics Association , within the discipline of ergonomics there exist domains of specialization. Physical ergonomics is concerned with human anatomy, and some of the anthropometric, physiological and bio mechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity.

Pressure that is insignificant or imperceptible to those unaffected by these disorders may be very painful, or render a device unusable, for those who are. Many ergonomically designed products are also used or recommended to treat or prevent such disorders, and to treat pressure-related chronic pain.

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ADAPTATION to Progressive Resistance Exercise

One of the most prevalent types of work-related injuries is musculoskeletal disorder. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders WRMDs result in persistent pain, loss of functional capacity and work disability, but their initial diagnosis is difficult because they are mainly based on complaints of pain and other symptoms. These types of jobs are often those involving activities such as repetitive and forceful exertions; frequent, heavy, or overhead lifts; awkward work positions; or use of vibrating equipment.

Short and long term solutions involve awareness training, positioning of the body, furniture and equipment and ergonomic exercises. Sit-stand stations and computer accessories that provide soft surfaces for resting the palm as well as split keyboards are recommended. Additionally, resources within the HR department can be allocated to provide assessments to employees to ensure the above listed criteria is met. Innovative workstations that are being tested include: sit-stand desks, treadmill desks, pedal devices and cycle ergometers. In multiple studies these new workstations resulted in decreased waist circumference and psychological well being, however a significant number of additional studies have seen no marked improvement in health outcomes.

Cognitive ergonomics is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system. Epidemiological studies show a correlation between the time one spends sedentary and their cognitive function such as lowered mood and depression. Organizational ergonomics is concerned with the optimization of socio-technical systems, including their organizational structures, policies, and processes. A good deal of evidence indicates that Greek civilization in the 5th century BC used ergonomic principles in the design of their tools, jobs, and workplaces.

One outstanding example of this can be found in the description Hippocrates gave of how a surgeon's workplace should be designed and how the tools he uses should be arranged. In the late s and early s Ramazzini visited many worksites where he documented the movements of laborers and spoke to them about their ailments.

Taylor found that he could, for example, triple the amount of coal that workers were shoveling by incrementally reducing the size and weight of coal shovels until the fastest shoveling rate was reached. They aimed to improve efficiency by eliminating unnecessary steps and actions. By applying this approach, the Gilbreths reduced the number of motions in bricklaying from 18 to 4.

However, this approach was rejected by Russian researchers who focused on the well being of the worker. Bekhterev argued that "The ultimate ideal of the labour problem is not in it [Taylorism], but is in such organisation of the labour process that would yield a maximum of efficiency coupled with a minimum of health hazards, absence of fatigue and a guarantee of the sound health and all round personal development of the working people.

Dull monotonous work was a temporary necessity until a corresponding machine can be developed.

Research Reference Group

He also went on to suggest a new discipline of "ergology" to study work as an integral part of the re-organisation of work. The concept was taken up by Myasishchev's mentor, Bekhterev, in his final report on the conference, merely changing the name to "ergonology" [24]. The war saw the emergence of aeromedical research and the need for testing and measurement methods.

Studies on driver behavior started gaining momentum during this period, as Henry Ford started providing millions of Americans with automobiles. Another major development during this period was the performance of aeromedical research. Many tests were conducted to determine which characteristic differentiated the successful pilots from the unsuccessful ones. During the early s, Edwin Link developed the first flight simulator. The trend continued and more sophisticated simulators and test equipment were developed.

Another significant development was in the civilian sector, where the effects of illumination on worker productivity were examined. This led to the identification of the Hawthorne Effect , which suggested that motivational factors could significantly influence human performance. It was no longer possible to adopt the Tayloristic principle of matching individuals to preexisting jobs. Now the design of equipment had to take into account human limitations and take advantage of human capabilities.

The decision-making, attention, situational awareness and hand-eye coordination of the machine's operator became key in the success or failure of a task. There was substantial research conducted to determine the human capabilities and limitations that had to be accomplished.

Definition of Humanism

A lot of this research took off where the aeromedical research between the wars had left off. An example of this is the study done by Fitts and Jones , who studied the most effective configuration of control knobs to be used in aircraft cockpits. Much of this research transcended into other equipment with the aim of making the controls and displays easier for the operators to use.

The entry of the terms "human factors" and "ergonomics" into the modern lexicon date from this period. It was observed that fully functional aircraft flown by the best-trained pilots, still crashed. In Alphonse Chapanis , a lieutenant in the U. Army, showed that this so-called " pilot error " could be greatly reduced when more logical and differentiable controls replaced confusing designs in airplane cockpits.

After the war, the Army Air Force published 19 volumes summarizing what had been established from research during the war. It was the climate for a breakthrough.

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The beginning of the Cold War led to a major expansion of Defense supported research laboratories. Also, many labs established during WWII started expanding. Most of the research following the war was military-sponsored. Large sums of money were granted to universities to conduct research. The scope of the research also broadened from small equipments to entire workstations and systems. Concurrently, a lot of opportunities started opening up in the civilian industry.

The focus shifted from research to participation through advice to engineers in the design of equipment. After , the period saw a maturation of the discipline. Are these sufficient, or do we need new ones? Let me submit that some new tools are necessary. To be sure, neither job is easy to do well; enormous amounts of management attention and academic research have been devoted to these challenges. But delivering a service entails something else as well: the management of customers, who are not simply consumers of the service but can also be integral to its production.

Any of these four elements—the offering or its funding mechanism, the employee management system or the customer management system—can be the undoing of a service business. This is amply demonstrated by my analysis of service companies that have struggled over the past decade. The appropriate design of any one of them depends upon the other three. When we look at service businesses that have grown and prospered—companies like Wal-Mart in retail, Commerce Bank in banking, and the Cleveland Clinic in health care—it is their effective integration of the elements that stands out more than the cleverness of any element in isolation.

Developed as a core teaching module at Harvard Business School, this approach recognizes the differences between service businesses and product businesses. Students in my course learn to think about those differences and their implications for management practice. Above all, they learn that to build a great service business, managers must get the core elements of service design pulling together or else risk pulling the business apart.

The challenge of service-business management begins with design.

Rethinking Efficiency

It must effectively meet the needs and desires of an attractive group of customers. In thinking about the design of a service, however, managers must undergo an important shift in perspective: Whereas product designers focus on the characteristics buyers will value, service designers do better to focus on the experiences customers want to have.

For example, customers may attribute convenience or friendly interaction to your service brand. Your management team must be absolutely clear about which attributes of service the business will compete on. Strategy is often defined as what a business chooses not to do. Similarly, service excellence can be defined as what a business chooses not to do well. If this sounds odd, it should. Rarely do we advise that the path to excellence is through inferior performance.

Instead, my research has shown, they perform badly at some things in order to excel at others. This can be considered a hard-coded trade-off. Think about the company that can afford to stay open for longer hours because it charges more than the competition. This business is excelling on convenience and has relatively inferior performance on price.

The price dimension fuels the service dimension. To create a successful service offering, managers need to determine which attributes to target for excellence and which to target for inferior performance. These choices should be heavily informed by the needs of customers. Managers should discover the relative importance customers place on attributes and then match the investment in excellence with those priorities. At Wal-Mart, for example, ambience and sales help are least valued by its customers, low prices and wide selection are most valued, and several other attributes rank at points in between.

Collis and Michael G. The fact that it takes a drubbing from competitors on things its customers care less about drives its overall performance. The phenomenon, of course, has a circular aspect. It is important therefore to identify customer segments in terms of attribute preferences—or as some marketers prefer, in terms of customer needs. Identifying what might be called customer operating segments is not the same exercise as traditional psychographic segmentation. Rather than stressing differences that enable increasingly targeted and potent messaging, this type of segmentation aims to find populations of customers who share a notion of what constitutes excellent service.

Look, for example, at the fit achieved by Commerce Bank, which has been able to grow its retail customer base dramatically even though its rates are among the worst in its markets and it has made limited acquisitions. Commerce Bank focuses on the set of customers who care about the experience of visiting a physical branch. These customers come in all shapes and sizes—from young, first-time banking clients to time-strapped urban professionals to elderly retirees. Commerce has added to its branch ambience with interior elements both lovely high ceilings and natural light and fun an amusing contraption for redeeming loose change.

I like to tell managers that they are choosing between excellence paired with inferior performance on one hand and mediocrity across all dimensions on the other.

When managers understand that inferior performance in one dimension fuels superior performance in another, the design of excellent service is not far behind. All managers, and even most customers, agree that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Excellence comes at a cost, and the cost must ultimately be covered. Only the customers who forfeit the extra cash can avail themselves of the premium offering. In a service business, developing a way to fund excellence can be more complicated.

Many times, pricing is not transaction based but involves the bundling of various elements of value or entails some kind of subscription, such as a monthly fee. In these cases, buyers can extract uneven amounts of value for their money. Indeed, even nonbuyers may derive value in certain service environments.

For example, a shopper might spend time learning from a knowledgeable salesperson, only to leave the store empty-handed. In a service business, therefore, management must give careful thought to how excellence will be paid for. There must be a funding mechanism in place to allow the company to outshine competitors in the attributes it has chosen. Two are ways of having the customer pay, and two cover the cost of excellence with operational savings. The classic approach to funding something of value is simply to have the customer pay for it, but often it is possible to make the form that payment takes less objectionable to customers.

Commerce Bank is open late and on weekends—earning it high marks on extended hours—and it pays for that service by giving a half percentage point less in interest on deposits. Could it fund the extra labor hours by charging for evening and weekend visits? Perhaps, but a slightly lower interest rate is more palatable. Management in any setting would do well to creatively consider what feels fair to its customers. Often, the least creative solution is to charge more for the particular service feature you are funding.

Very clever management teams discover ways to enhance the customer experience even while spending less finding, in other words, that there can be such a thing as a free lunch. Many of these innovations provide only a temporary competitive advantage, as they are quickly recognized and copied. Some are surprisingly durable, however. An example is the immediate-response service provided by Progressive Casualty Insurance. When someone insured by Progressive is involved in an auto accident, the company immediately sends out a van to assist that person and to assess the damage on the spot—often arriving on the scene before the police or tow trucks.

Customers love this level of responsiveness and give the company high marks for service. But in anticipation of such a need someday, would they pay more in insurance premiums? Unfortunately, no. People are pathologically price sensitive about car insurance and almost never select anything but the rock-bottom quote. Normally insurance providers are subject to fraud, with criminals making claims for accidents that were staged or never happened. Since deploying its vans, Progressive has seen costs in both categories plummet.

Sending a company representative to the scene pays for itself. Progressive offers another customer convenience that many competitors have so far shied away from: giving quotes from other providers alongside its own when a potential buyer inquires about the cost of insurance. If indeed its quote is spot-on, then allowing a competitor to insure the customer at a lower rate is doubly effective: It frees Progressive from a money-losing proposition while burdening its competitor with the unprofitable account.

Thus a level of service that looks downright altruistic to the customer actually benefits the company. This is an example of leveraging operations into a value-added service. How can your management team find win-win solutions of its own? When I pose this question to managers, their impulse is to imagine what new value could be created for customers and then to ponder how that could be funded through cost savings.

A good first place to look? Anywhere that time is a large component of cost.


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Removing time is often fruitful, since it can directly improve service even as it cuts costs. Call centers are expensive to staff because of the combination of technical knowledge and sociability required to field inquiries effectively. For most software makers this adds up to the obvious conclusion that customers should be charged for support. Intuit founder Scott Cook sees the matter differently. Those needy calls, he believes, are a useful form of input to continued product development—the engine of future revenues—and that justifies an even greater expense outlay.

Intuit has its higher salaried product-development people, not solely customer service people, fielding calls so that subsequent versions of its offerings will be informed by direct knowledge of what users are trying to accomplish and how they are being frustrated. Offering self-service, from pump-your-own gas to self-managed brokerage accounts, is a well-established way to keep costs low.

If the goal is service excellence, though, you must create a situation in which the customer will prefer the do-it-yourself capability over a readily available full-service alternative. Airlines have achieved this, at last, with flight check-in kiosks, although the value proposition they initially presented was dubious. At first, passengers felt compelled to use the relatively unappealing kiosks only because carriers had allowed the lines in front of manned desks to become intolerable. Today, however, frequent fliers prefer the kiosks because they provide readier access to useful tools like seat maps.

Combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law

Businesses looking to achieve service excellence in other settings should not take such an indirect route. They should set themselves the challenge of creating self-service capabilities that customers will welcome. Indeed, if a self-service option is truly preferable, customers should be willing to take on the work for nothing or even pay for the privilege. When managers designing self-service solutions are not permitted to add the inducement of price discounts, they are forced to focus on improving the customer experience.

If a self-service option is truly preferable, customers should be willing to take on the work for nothing or even pay for the privilege. Whatever funding mechanism is used to cover the costs of excellence, it is best thought out as thoroughly as possible prior to the launch of a new service, rather than amended in light of experience afterward.