- learn about the conceptual framework Hodges' model. A tool that can help integrate HEALTH and SOCIAL CARE, INFORMATICS and EDUCATION. The model is situated, facilitates person-centredness, integrated - holistic care and reflective practice. A new site using Drupal is an ongoing aim - the creation of a reflective workbench. Email: h2cmng @ yahoo.co.uk Welcome

Friday, July 05, 2019

Fallacies of Work as Imagined: c/o Steven Shorrock - HSJ Patient Safety

I came across the following image on twitter. The tweet is also copied below.

This post is prompted by one from 'The Varieties of Human Work' on the Humanistic Systems blog 05/12/16 by Steven Shorrock. The focus is understanding and improving work, and in his opening there is a sense of very large net having to be deployed to capture all the disciplines and dimensions that are invariably involved in work.

"One of these is the simple observation that how people think that work is done and how work is actually done are two different things. This observation is very old, decades old in human factors and ergonomics, where it dates back to the 1950s in French ergonomics (le travail prescrit et le travail réalisé; Ombredanne & Faverge, 1955) and arguably the 1940s in analysis of aircraft accidents in terms of cockpit design (imagination vs operation). Early ergonomists realised that the analysis of work could not be limited to work as prescribed in procedures etc (le travail prescrit), nor to the observation of work actually done (le travail réalisé). Both have to be considered. But these are not the only varieties of work. Four basic varieties can be considered: work-as-imagined; work-as-prescribed; work-as-disclosed; and work-as-done. These are illustrated in the figure below, which shows that the varieties of human work do usually overlap, but not completely, leaving areas of commonality, and areas of difference."

The varieties of human work.

It immediately struck me how well the diagram can be translated and transposed on to Hodges' model on several levels and as per Steven Shorrock's excellent post. I acknowledge I am playing with language, but initial thoughts included:
  1. As per Shorrock: the difference between how people think about work and how work is actually done.
  2. Shorrock explains how for example 'work-as-imagined' draws on the other forms of work.The level of overlap in between the forms of 'work-as-' is as diverse as the contexts that arise and constantly change.
  3. There are many 'gaps' identified in Steven's post [not in the sense of a fault with his post]. A subset of these may relate to the theory-practice gap which was one original purpose of Hodges' model, to help close this gap.
  4. Orders of scale: from a single action to a whole job and its specification.
  5. The way the 4Ps process, policy, purpose and practice can be used (I identified the 4Ps within Hodges' model, one per care domain, many years ago).
As has been pointed out to me (on twitter) the context here is 'work' and not healthcare, but as Steven notes there are many disciplines, with commonalities and differences. I am really grateful to Steven for his post, in which he also stresses the overlap. 'Work-as' is a flux. Hodges' model can be viewed through time as series of frames. Below are some rather unstructured notes [musings] relating and extending the context of Shorrock's image and post to Hodges' model:

individual - self
|
INTERPERSONAL : SCIENCES
humanistic ----------------------------------------------- mechanistic
SOCIOLOGY : POLITICAL
|
group- population

'Work-as-Imagined': Of the four P's I have placed 'PURPOSE' here, since the individual's purpose must (ideally) achieve synergy with colleagues and the organisational objectives and goals.

'Work-as-Imagined' involves thought (and so is infinite in variety) whether use of imagination is day-dreaming, or radically innovative. Until AI does take over, this is the 'meta' - cognitive domain. Amid many, Shorrock makes an important point in how we imagine the work other disciplines do. Often so many stereotypes follow that are often revealed in referrals and expectations. Shorrock highlights this at the macro level of policy makers [lower right in #h2cm] having to imagine the operational aspects of work; and the simplified accounts of surgery for a patient by anaesthetist and surgeon (while meeting the requirements of informed consent).

This domain may be 'work-preserving' in humanistic terms as it is the realm of tacit knowledge, creativity and innovation.

Although the artifacts of simulation are ultimately produced in the SCIENCES domain, they are 'imagined' in case studies and scenarios. Shorrock helps make it clear how much of work is theorised and practised virtually, but with recourse to imagination not technology.

Mental illness and the systemic - organisational response is mediated diametrically in Hodges' model. Ongoing critique of psychiatry and mental health services in some quarters appears to suggest that being unable to work-as-imagined here, means loss of self and identity that is then outsourced and effected by proxies and advocates. [Discuss?]


'Work-as-Prescribed': Reading 'prescribed' literally then drugs and other physical treatments arise here in the SCIENCES domain. The 4'P is PROCESS suggestive of procedures, specifications, instructions and formal rules. Process is important allied with PURPOSE in that if (your) can be described formally, by a set of rules then you may be vulnerable to your job being taken by a robot through 'robotic process automation'.

When I started in the NHS in the 1970s there was a shift taking place from being task-oriented (mechanistic) to individual/patient-centred (humanistic). Shorrock notes how there are relatively fewer examples of work-as-prescribed. Developed nations are waiting to see how many existing jobs are lost to AI and robots, but how many new ones emerge. (Can the developing nations 'skip' several prescriptions?)

Here, we also apply time to work. The past, current work and the future. Will we still work the same hours? Is there a lesson in '0' hour contracts? An obvious aspect of work is day vs. night shifts.

'Work-as-Prescribed' also reinforces the presence and context of the SOCIOLOGICAL domain. Now, conferences are devoted to 'social prescribing'. By its nature this is more often than not 'public' and therefore 'disclosed'.

Citizen science and patient involvement provide a further angle on work-as-prescribed. As does what is prescribed (especially in what is used) must to some degree influence what is proscribed in what is not used.

'Work-as-Disclosed' Sharrock writes concerns how work is explained and communicated. This will also involve teaching formally and health professional to patient, carer and public.  The challenge is that thinking about work and actually doing work is a SOCIO-POLITICAL act - transaction (as the literature demonstrates).
Socially, whether or not someone is working is also disclosed in their domestic  comings and going to work. The socio-political dimension is evident in the assumptions that follow homeless peopleand their apparent 'staying' (many do work?)? There are those who opt not to disclose at all and live off-the-net.

SOCIO-ECONOMICALLY there are constant references to 'pay-gaps' especially by those groups and their representatives most affected by low pay and austerity. While the social care workforce toil in the community, social care funding, provision and integration is pushed into the long grass that is green papers. Despite the social value and importance of this work, the status of this sector is signalled - disclosed as poor.

Nurses globally are campaigning to establish in law the requirement for safe-staffing levels. Sharrock alludes to the challenge of nursing as PRACTISED on the 'shop-floor' and ongoing studies on staffing - establishments and skill-mix.

In the 1980-90s expert systems specialists interviewed workers  in an attempt to understand the knowledge acquisition and elicitation associated were their profession - community of practice.

These humanistic care (knowledge) domains reflect the qualitative approach to research.

Work-as-disclosed also communicates to would-be future recruits. How are the aspirations of teenagers and mature entrants first experienced, discussed and carried forward socially?


'Work-as-Done' simultaneously speaks of power, employment, accountability and regulation. 

As four conceptual spaces #h2cm indicates the 'distance' between concepts that shifts according to context. The space that work takes place within and how people are managed, organised, controlled for efficiency with reminders, queues, appointments, and waiting areas are signs of the institution. The person was a long way from the creators of the Victorian asylum, even as they sought to establish (stamp?) a 'standard' level of care.

What difference does it make when work-as-done is bound to an individual and collective sense of duty?

The counterpoint is precisely [mechanistic] work-as-done. Work-as in shift completed and recorded - clocked as such. Work-as-done: the 12 hour shift or as already mentioned work-as-NOT-done due to the flexibility afforded by zero hour contracts. Work-as-done also denotes [scientifically] the concepts of power, energy and effort. So, work-as-done must result in personnel actually feeling 'done': burnt-out when safe-staffing is not assured.

The old saying: "If it is not documented it was not done.", springs to mind. Shorrock refers to surgery and loss of life. What was 'done' and what does an inquiry reveal? What is actually done and the way it is done if varies - contravenes 'norms' rules then there is a issue of whistle blowing. The question then becomes was the work done as it should - must - be? The 4P in this domain is POLICY. 

Perhaps a box-tick here also accounts for 'work-as-' elsewhere?