Span of control in supervision of rail track work
Houghton, Robert J. and White, Chris and Golightly, David and Wilson, John R. (2016) Span of control in supervision of rail track work. Cognition, Technology & Work, 18 (2). pp. 361-378. ISSN 1435-5558
The supervision of engineering work on the railways has received relatively little examination despite being both safety-critical in its own right and having wider implications for the successful running of the railways. The present paper is concerned with understanding the factors that make different engineering works perceived as easier or harder to manage. We describe an approach building on notions of ‘span of control’, through which we developed the TOECAP inventory (Team, Organisation, Environment, Communication, Activity and Personal). This tool was validated through both interviews and questionnaires. As well as identifying the physical factors involved, the work also emphasised the importance of collaborative and attitudinal factors. We conclude by discussing limitations of the present work and future directions for development.
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