Cognitive systems engineering

This diagram captures the fundamental idea behind cognitive Systems Engineering: that we must orient socio-technical design towards supporting adaptive human activity. That orientation requires consideration of four sets of configurational constraints as depicted by the outer ring of labels: those provided by the structure of the work domain and work tasks, those provided by cognitive processing and cognitive strategies used in transition between cognitive states, those associated with individual cognitive assignments and individual cognitive competencies, and those associated with group coordination and collaborative style. The inner ring of labels parses the space in terms of task-focused constraints: the work to be accomplished (upper half), the agents that will perform the work (lower half), the organization within which the work will be accomplished (left half), and the activity used to perform the work (right half).

The various tools of cognitive systems engineering deal with one or more of these sets of constraints; cognitive systems engineering, in its entirety, deals with all of the sets.