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Cease and resist! : Exploring resistance to technology in the rail environment
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Anjum NaweedAnjum Naweed, Janette RoseJanette Rose
Although advances in technology have improved operational safety and efficiency in the rail industry, it is not uncommon for employees to resist technology when it is newly introduced. Resistance to technology by end users can disrupt operations and may result in a useful technology being withdrawn. It is therefore essential to ensure that the process of introducing a new technology is conducive to its acceptance. Whilst this issue has received some attention in the health and education domains, very little research has been undertaken in the area of transport. In particular, the introduction and subsequent acceptance of new technologies is under-researched in the rail domain. This paper describes two case studies that highlight resistance to technology in the Australian rail industry. In the first study, interviews were conducted with passenger train drivers regarding a simulator technology that had been integrated into the organisation. During these interviews, drivers questioned the value of the technology for training and regarded it with scepticism, despite never having used it. In the second study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with freight train drivers regarding a new technology that was under trial in live service. During interviews, drivers voiced negative opinions about the technology, again despite never having used it. Results of these studies revealed several causes of drivers’ resistance. This paper discusses these causes and considers methods to ensure the best possible transition and user acceptance when introducing a new technology.