Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 191–206 | Cite as

Situating the “music of” households and firemen in semi-open spaces: contribution to the analysis of collective activity’s spatio-temporal dynamics

  • Julien Guibourdenche
  • Cyril Bossard
  • Yohann Cardin
Original Article


Examining different team dynamics and understanding collective activities in home environments are two important challenges for ergonomics and its related fields. This article focuses on collective activities within home/building conceived as semi-open spaces (opening up opportunities whilst at the same time imposing more or less radical limits to collective activity) and discusses how orchestral formats (radically separating conceptual/physical and temporal axes) provide alternative perspectives for qualitative research. To do so, we leverage on the creation and use of MUltI-SCOre Format (for MUSICOF) in two previous in-depth studies of households and firemen. Drawing on a reflective analysis of our research practices, we describe how MUSICOF provides benefits when the researcher/practitioner has to cover a large conceptual/physical space, synchronise each basic unit of the collective activity, analyse activity at different levels (cognitive, social and spatio-temporal), characterise spatio-temporal arrangements and zoom in/out different degrees of abstraction of the analysis. It allows one to articulate multiple data and categories on a unique temporal axis, to formalise any type of arrangement of collective activity within space and time, to access all the required data on a single document where all the basic units are synchronised and to create either detailed empirical or synthetic formative models. After the demonstration of these benefits and some challenges, we discuss the perspectives and limits of this paper in order to equip studies of collective activity’s dynamics more consequentially regarding semi-open spaces, situated/distributed cognition, cognitive work analysis and scenario-based design.


Collective activity dynamics Semi-open spaces Data analysis and processing methods Orchestral formats Situated cognition French-speaking ergonomics 



Dr. Julien Guibourdenche would like to thank Prs. Michèle Grosjean, Yves Clot, Pascal Salembier, Drs. Yvon Haradji, Myriam Fréjus, Jacqueline Vacherand-Revel and Germain Poizat for their collaboration(s) in previous works or publications. The authors wish to thank Dr. Magali Prost for her suggestions on MUSICOF. This work received support from the ADEMEAgence De l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie (Smart Electric Lyon project, Investissements d’Avenir program). The work from Guibourdenche (2013) received Grant Number 0562 from the Association Nationale de la Recherche et de la Technologie from January 2009 to January 2012. It was initially developed in collaboration between the laboratory ICARInteractions, Corpus, Apprentissages and Représentations (UMR 5191 CNRS–Lyon 2–E.N.S Lyon–IFÉ) and Electricité de FranceRecherche & Développement at ICAME dptInnovation Commerciale Analyse des Marchés et de leurs Environnements.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICD/Tech-CICO (UMR 6281 CNRS)University of Technology of TroyesTroyes CédexFrance
  2. 2.CERV/CREAD (EA 3875)Université de Bretagne OccidentaleBrestFrance

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