Seeing Officiating as a Sociotechnical System – The Case for Applying Distributed Situation Awareness to Officials in Sport

  • Timothy J. NevilleEmail author
  • Paul M. Salmon
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9174)


Systems thinking, the notion that the unit of analysis should be the overall sociotechnical system, is a popular contemporary paradigm within cognitive ergonomics. Despite this, systems thinking applications have not yet emerged in the sporting context. We argue that systems thinking applications are required in sport, especially since sports systems are becoming more complex and technology dependent. Further, Officials in Sport (OiS), the controllers of the game, represent a critical but neglected research area. In this paper we explore whether the cognitive ergonomics model of Distributed Situation Awareness (DSA) can be applied to OiS systems and if DSA provides appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches to support future studies of Situation Awareness in OiS systems. The implications for future sport and OiS research applications are discussed and a research agenda designed to facilitate these applications is proposed.


Situation Awareness Rugby League Sociotechnical System Team Situation Awareness Soccer Referee 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical SystemsThe University of the Sunshine CoastSippy DownsAustralia
  2. 2.Joint and Operations Analysis DivisionDefence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)CanberraAustralia

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