HMI501. Human Performance, 5p

  • Sidney Dekker (course responsible), IKP/IAV Linköping Institute of Technology, +46 - 13 - 281646,
  • Erik Hollnagel, IDA, Linköping Institute of Technology,
  • Special Guest Lecturer: Kip Smith, Kansas State University and FAA advisor on human factors.

Course administrator: Elisabeth Petterson, IKP/IAV/HMI, LiTH 581 83 Linköping, Sweden. Fax +46 - 13 - 282579


Spring 2004. Schedule [doc]

Modes of studying
This course begins with a week of classroom-based lectures, discussions and presentations, followed by a 10-week period of home-study, distance supervision and on-line discussions. The course will have a dedicated website with password entry.

The days at Linköping University last from 09:00-17:00 and will be divided into lectures, discussions, readings and group work. During the evenings, students may be required to conduct groupwork and/or prepare for the next lecture day. Attendance to the week in Linköping is mandatory for receiving course credit.

During the distance-learning period, electronic office hours will be posted in order to assist students with clarification and, if necessary, supervision of homework and groupwork assigments.

Prerequisites Graduate student (or well qualified undergraduate at the discretion of course instructor) status required for course entry.

This course focuses on human performance in complex systems and organizations. The aim of the course is to study human performance from the angles of ecological psychology and organizational sociology, both emphasizing that human performance can be understood only in context. Through a combination of lectures, discussions, readings and group work, students will be invited to wrestle with questions related to decision making, risk and situation assessment, team and organizational performance, as well as the distinction between ecological and more mentalistic interpretations of human performance. The course aims to give students a deeper understanding of the various positions and ideas in the literature about these topics.

Content The course will cover human performance topics including decision making, situation assessment, team performance, procedural drift and deviance, signal detection theory, and risk assessment, predominantly as studied and/or applied from the perspectives of ecological psychology and organizational sociology, emphasizing the study of human performance issues in actual, complex contexts.
  • Vaughan, D. (1996). The Challenger launch decision: Risky technology, culture, and deviance at NASA. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
  • Vicente, K (1999). Cognitive work analysis: Toward safe, productive and healthy computer-based work. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.
  • Additional literature may be handed out during the classroom week.

Students are strongly advised to study the course books before starting the course, in order to be prepared for discussions, classroom presentations and subsequent homework assignments


Students are examined through the following means:
o Presentations and participation in classroom discussions (25% of entire course grade)
o There will be 3 clusters of Homework/Groupwork Assignments, each cluster worth 25% of the entire course grade.

Criteria for judging student performance include comprehension of the literature, coherence of students' understanding of the positions in the literature, as well as students' own ability to apply and extend the ideas in the literature, and argue such applications or extensions in written as well as oral form.

Grades for groupwork will be averaged into individual students' overall course grade.

Students who fail the course must retake the entire course.

Grades used for the course are Pass or Fail. A passing grade represents more than 55% satisfactory performance on the criteria stated under "examination". A numeric grade may be given to students (Passing Grades 5, 4, 3, with 5 being the highest grade) to reflect individual student differences.



Homework/assignments need to be submitted to the course administrator on or before the due date/time, either in electronic format or hardcopy. Late material cannot be considered for course credit.