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Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 61–75 | Cite as

Information technologies and intuitive expertise: a method for implementing complex organizational change among New York City Transit Authority’s Bus Maintainers

  • Lia DiBello
  • Whit Missildine
Original Article

Abstract

This paper describes an attempt to implement a complex information technology system with the New York City Transit Authority’s (NYCTA) Bus Maintainers intended to help better track and coordinate bus maintenance schedules. IT implementation is notorious for high failure rates among so-called “low level” workers. We believe that many IT implementation efforts make erroneous assumptions about front line worker’s expertise, which creates tension between the IT implementation effort and the “cultures of practice” among the front line workers. We designed an aggressive “learning intervention” to address this issue and called “Operational Simulation”. Rather than requiring the expected 12 months for implementation, the hourly staff reached independence with the new system in 2 weeks and line supervisors (who do more) managed in 6 weeks. Additionally, the NYCTA shifted from a reactive to a proactive maintenance approach, reduced cycle times, and increased the “mean distance between failure”, resulting in a estimated $40 million cost savings. Implications for cognition, expertise, and training are discussed.

Keywords

Organizational change Information technology Intuitive expertise Simulation-based training 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WTRGCUNY Graduate CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.San DiegoUSA

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