From Prescription to Regulation: What Workers’ Behavior Analyses Tell Us About Work Models

  • Lisa JeansonEmail author
  • J. M. Christian Bastien
  • Alexandre Morais
  • Javier Barcenilla
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 825)


In 2004, PSA developed PSA Excellent System, an organizational system based on the Lean Manufacturing principles to optimize vehicle production. One of the pillars of this system is the follow up of a “work standard” designed by the methods engineers. In theory, work standards allow for the balancing of shifts, i.e. the organization of tasks that operators can perform within a given period. The objective here is to maintain the operators’ performance and health.

Despite this approach, errors and complaints on the assembly lines have emerged. In order to understand these phenomena, we carried out a detailed analysis of the operators’ activity on workstations. For the data collection, we adopted a bottom-up approach by combining several methodologies: hierarchical task analysis of the prescribed and actual operators’ tasks, filmed observations, behavioral coding and interviews with the operators and methods engineers.

Data analyses revealed discrepancies between work standards and actual tasks. “Anticipated” and “individual” regulations could explain these differences. Although these regulations are essential to the production, they involve additional actions and are not taken into account in the design of workstations. Similarly, they escape the methods engineers and are symptomatic of a dichotomy between the Lean Manufacturing rules shaping workstation design and real production constraints. We attempt to identify these constraints to improve the PSA Excellent System’s predictive performance models. In this paper, we present the results of an analysis on a workstation in the assembly plant in Sochaux (France).


Mental workload Regulations at work Behavior analysis Work model 


  1. Antis W, Honeycutt JM, Koch EN (1973) The basic motions of MTM, 4th edn. Maynard Foundation, MogadoreGoogle Scholar
  2. Clot Y (2010) Au-delà de l’hygiénisme: l’activité délibérée ‘Beyond hygienism: free activity’. Nouvelle revue de psychosociologie 2:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clot Y, Fernandez F (2005) Analyse psychologique du mouvement: apport à la compréhension des TMS ‘Psychological Analysis of movement to understand musculoskeletal deseases’. Activites 02(2)Google Scholar
  4. Faverge J-M (1977) Analyse de la sécurité du travail en termes de facteurs de risque ‘Security at work in terms of risk factors’. Revue Épidém. et Santé publique 25:229–241Google Scholar
  5. Hart SG, Staveland LE (1988) Development of NASA-TLX (Task Load Index): results of empirical and theoretical research. In: Peter AH, Najmedin M (eds) Advances in Psychology, pp 139–183. North-HollandGoogle Scholar
  6. Jeanson L, Morais A, Barcenilla J, Bastien C (2017) N’oubliez pas de brancher les connecteurs: automatismes et traitement de l’information ‘Don’t forget to plug in the connectors: automatims and information processing’. In: 53ème Proceedings Congrès de la SELF - Présent et Futur de l’Ergonomie, pp 229–234, ToulouseGoogle Scholar
  7. Kostenko A, Rauffet P, Chauvin C, Coppin G (2016) A dynamic closed-looped and multidimensional model for mental workload evaluation. IFAC-PapersOnLine 49(19):549–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lapassade G (2016) Observation participante ‘Participating observation’. In: Vocabulaire de psychosociologie, pp 392–407. ERESGoogle Scholar
  9. Leplat J (2006) La notion de régulation dans l’analyse de l’activité ‘The concept of regulation in work analysis’. Perspectives interdisciplinaires sur le travail et la santé (8–1)Google Scholar
  10. Lindblom J, Thorvald P (2014) Towards a framework for reducing cognitive load in manufacturing personnel. Adv Cogn Eng Neuroergonomics 11:233–244Google Scholar
  11. Loft S, Sanderson P, Neal A, Mooij M (2007) Modeling and predicting mental workload in en route air traffic control: critical review and broader implications. Hum Factors 49(3):376–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Maynard HB, Stegemerten GJ, Schwab J (1952) MTM [Method-Time-Measurement]: méthodes de travail et tables de temps ‘MTM [Method-Time-Measurement]: work method and time tables’. Gauthier-Villars, ParisGoogle Scholar
  13. Maynard HB (2001) Industrial engineering handbook, 5th edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Morais A, Aubineau R (2012) Articulation entre l’ergonomie et lean manufacturing chez PSA ‘Articulation of ergonomics and lean manufacturing in PSA Group’. Activites 9(2)Google Scholar
  15. Morrison RS, Hemsworth PH, Cronin GM, Campbell RG (2003) The social and feeding behaviour of growing pigs in deep-litter, large group housing systems. Appl Anim Behav Sci 82(3):173–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Noldus LP (1991) The observer: a software system for collection and analysis of observational data. Behav Res Meth Instrum Comput 23(3):415–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Noldus LP, Trienes RJ, Hendriksen AH, Jansen H, Jansen RG (2000) The observer video-pro: new software for the collection, management, and presentation of time-structured data from videotapes and digital media files. Behav Res Meth Instrum Comput 32(1):197–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ohno T (1988) Toyota production system: beyond large-scale production. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  19. Ross D, Womack JP, Jones DT (1990) The machine that changed the world, 1st edn. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Sperandio JC (1971) Variation of operator’s strategies and regulating effects on workload. Ergonomics 14(5):571–577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stanton NA (2006) Hierarchical task analysis: Developments, applications, and extensions. Appl Ergon 37(1):55–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Theureau J (1992) Le cours d’action: analyse sémio-logique: essai d’une anthropologie cognitive située. P. Lang, BernGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Jeanson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • J. M. Christian Bastien
    • 1
  • Alexandre Morais
    • 2
  • Javier Barcenilla
    • 1
  1. 1.Université de Lorraine, PErSEUs, EA 7312MetzFrance
  2. 2.PSA GroupParisFrance

Personalised recommendations