• ALBO Project Workshop

    ALBO Project Workshop

  • LAVREB siena

    LAVREB University of Siena

  • Core Competence

    Core Competence

  • Experiment on Virtual Reality

    Experiments on Virtual Movies

  • Conference Experiential Learning 2013

    Conference on Experiential Learning 2013

  • Neuroscience and economics

    Neuroscience and economics

  • Virtual reality

    Virtual reality and risk perception

The Programme

Research objectives and questions

The ALBO project seeks to further our knowledge of well being at workplaces and the way it is surveyed and monitored. The empirical part of the research will be carried out in Italy in a number of existing organisations (a small sized municipality, two large sized companies from the pulp & paper and the building sector plus a group of SMEs from agriculture and manufacturing) that have accepted to become project pilot units.

Specifically, the research aims to explore the emergence and the dynamics of psychosocial risks among the employees of these organisations, as well as to develop innovative tools for the assessment and management of those risks according to the provisions of country specific laws and regulations.

The project focuses on the actions and behaviours of individuals working in the organisations, at any level of the hierarchy, and on the particular mechanisms through which they interact one another and within the contextual and structural aspects of their workplaces (e.g. including the means of production used, the particular conformation of the personal working space, the rules and routines adopted, the command and control chain etc.).

We suggest that the reproduction of those interaction mechanisms by means of "immersive workplaces", or VR-like scenarios reflecting the actual experience of the individuals in their own working spaces, can offer deeper insights and better knowledge of the main risk factors than the current practice of distributing anonymous survey questionnaires in a company or conducting face-to-face interviews with selected workers.
The following specific questions will be addressed:

  • How are psychosocial risks perceived by the people in a given workplace?
  • To what extent do contextual and structural aspects influence this perception?
  • Is this perception changing over time, and due to what?
  • How can organisations properly configure an assessment & management system of the internal psychosocial risks?
  • What are the drivers and the barriers to improvement?
  • Is it possible to set measureable targets for improvement?

Research method

The ALBO project adopts a multiple case-study approach. This methodology enables the researchers to maintain the complexities and contextual contingencies in which the firms and the phenomena under study are embedded.
For each case study, the following data collection procedure will be set up in accordance with the top management of the selected organisation:

  • Identification of a suitable number and quality of production processes and working spaces where these processes develop
  • Identification of a suitable number and quality of interactive scenarios (human2human & human2machine) within each proposed working space
  • Initial distribution of a “standard” questionnaire (accompanied or not by face-to-face interviews) for the collection of information on psychosocial risks and the perception thereof
  • Video recording of real-life instantiations of the selected interactive scenarios, with the aim to identify the most common “misinterpretations” and “misbehaviours”
  • Analysis and evaluation of the evidence collected, in terms of a list of key factors of risk for each proposed working space
  • Discussion of the results with the top management and definition of preventive and/or corrective actions
  • Distribution of a “revised” questionnaire (and/or face-to-face interviews) taking stock of the previous activities and results

Acting in parallel on all project pilots, this phase is expected to last about six months. It is at this stage than the material collected as described above should be turned into short “VR-like scenarios” tailored on the real-life processes, workspaces, interaction mechanisms, and psychosocial risks examined in the previous phase, and where the real-life actors will be modelled by the use of avatars.
These scenarios will be returned to the people involved and technically refined in close collaboration with them. It is foreseen to create simulated sessions of usage, either with different people belonging to the same organisation, or with different organisations active in the same business sectors.
In association with each of these scenarios, a set of performance indicators will be defined and a number of evaluative questions, points of decision, proposed action items will be introduced in alternance with the storyboard developments. Individual performance will be measured by the set of indicators and in accordance with the “score” achieved at the end of the “game”. This score will be made totally transparent to both the employee and the top management of the organisation (s)he belongs to.

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