Ergonomics and Sustainability: Towards an Embrace of Complexity and Emergence

Dekker, S. W., Hancock, P. A., & Wilkin, P. (2012). Ergonomics and sustainability: towards an embrace of complexity and emergence. Ergonomics,56(3) 357-364.

Technology offers a promising route to a sustainable future, and ergonomics can serve a vital role. The argument of this article is that the lasting success of sustainability initiatives in ergonomics hinges on an examination of ergonomics’ own epistemology and ethics. The epistemology of ergonomics is fundamentally empiricist and positivist. The implicit ethical questions outside the parameters of what it sees as scientific practice. We argue, by contrast, that a discipline that deals with both technology and human beings cannot avoid engaging with questions of complexity and emergence and seeking innovative ways of addressing these issues.

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