Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 229–246 | Cite as

Evaluating the generalizability of the Organizational Constraints Analysis framework: a hospital bed management case study

Original Article


Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA) provides useful tools for analyzing and modeling work constraints that can inform the development of systems design requirements. However, it does not provide effective tools for analyzing and modeling organizational constraints that can inform the development of organizational design requirements. By integrating organizational theories with the CWA approach, we developed the Organizational Constraints Analysis framework, a formative approach to the analysis, modeling, and design of the organization of work. In this paper, we test the generalizability of the framework by using its two analytical templates—the Organizational Constraints model and Work Possibilities diagram—to analyze the hospital bed management work domain. The research findings suggest that the concepts, investigative probes, and notations from the analytical templates can be applied to complex work domains beyond those in which it was initially developed. We conclude with suggestions for how the Organizational Constraints Analysis framework can complement CWA methods by helping researchers and practitioners develop a broader organizational perspective on the constraints that drive how work can be done in organizations.


Cognitive Work Analysis Organizational constraints Temporal work Systems design Health care 



This research was supported by Australian Research Council Grant DP0880920 to Sanderson and Venkatesh. The authors thank the staff members in the Princess Alexandra Hospital Hospital Bed Management Unit for their time and support. Finally, the authors acknowledge the help from members of the Cognitive Engineering Research Group (CERG) at The University of Queensland and National ICT Australia (NICTA) for their comments on the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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