Effect of Individual Cognitive Styles on Control-Display Device Ability: An Experimental Study by ProQuest


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									240     International Journal of Management              Vol. 26 No. 2       August 2009

Effect of Individual Cognitive Styles on Control-Display
Device Ability: An Experimental Study
Chun-Wei Chen
National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Chang-Franw Lee
National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Chien-Cheng Chang
Department of Industrial Design, Huafan University, Taiwan

The purpose of this study is to explore the feasibility of applying the Cognitive Styles
Analysis (CSA) scale to measure the individual operation ability of operators to use a
control-display device. Because competent operators may be able to reduce the possibility
of serious accidents from the control room, it is important to effectively measure the
individual differences among the operators. For this reason, we adopted a 2 (cognitive
styles) × 2 (control-display pairing patterns) split-plot design for our experiment. This
paper examined the differences between the performances of participants with field-
dependent (FD) cognitive styles and field-independent (FI) cognitive styles in control-
display pairing tasks and the correlation between CSA scores and performances. Sixty
control room operators (30 participants per cognitive style) from five control rooms in
Taiwan were recruited to participate in the experiment. The results of the experiment
suggest that the CSA scale is capable of distinguishing between employees in their
capacity to operate control-display devices effectively. Therefore, it is suggested that the
CSA scale serve as a measurement criterion for screening control room operators.

                                    1. Introduction
In this paper a control-display device refers to the control panel used in nuclear power
plants, air traffic control tower, and the like. It is the communication channel between
various machinery and operators in the control room and is often made up of a large
number of control and display units (Sanders and McCormick,1992). Often, the
unsafe and inefficient operation of complex control-display device is closely related
to a disastrous event in the control room. It is, therefore, essential to explore how to
maintain a safe and efficient operation when using a control-display device. The topic
of redesigning control-display devices is often explored in the literature. However,
because of various reasons, such as for example the individual ability of an operator to
control some equipment by means of a control-display device. The operator may not be
able to safely and effectively operate the control-display device. Selecting the correct
operators for the control-display device is an important issue for maintaining a safe and
efficient control room operation 
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