Interdisciplinary Relationships in the Field of Occupational Health and Safety

By Monique Lortie, Francine Madeleine Mayer and Claire Lapointe.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Interdisciplinary collaboration has a long tradition in occupational health and safety, a field covered by a wide variety of disciplines, from anthropology to engineering and from design to psychology. However, little is known about the key elements favouring the development of harmonious cooperation. The aim of this study is to document the perceptions of researchers about their own discipline and that of their collaborators with regard to the exchange process. Forty researchers were interviewed on two cases of collaboration that took place in large interdisciplinary teams projects. They were questioned about exchanges in terms of knowledge, method, analyses, perspectives, and impacts. Disciplines were grouped into four categories: health sciences, applied sciences, management, and social sciences. In a quarter of the cases, collaborators were from the social sciences. They saw themselves as less concerned by the impacts and transfer activities of the research results compared to their collaborative disciplines, but as more contributive to the advancement of knowledge. They perceived their disciplines as having a better exchange potential than was seen by the others. For all the interviewees, the exchanges on perspective were considered the most difficult and challenging part of the exchanges, but the most fruitful. Perceptions of the exchange process (frequency, duration, continuity) were quite similar from one discipline to the other.

Keywords: Perception, Collaboration, Interdisciplinary Research

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.37-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 473.528KB).

Dr. Monique Lortie

Professor, Sciences biologiques, Université du Quebec, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Dr. Lortie is a tenured professor in ergonomics at Université du Québec à Montréal. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Réseau de Recherché en Santé et Sécurité au Travail, Occupational Health and Safety Quebec network, and in charge of its knowledge transfer strategic arm. She is an industrial engineer and graduated from the École Polytechnique de Montréal. She completed her graduate studies in ergonomics in France at the Laboratoire de Physiologie du travail et ergonomie du CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers) and at Université Paris XIII. She is presently involved in various transfer research projects.

Dr. Francine Madeleine Mayer

Professor, Sciences biologiques, Université du Québec, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Dr. Mayer is an anthropologist who specializes in genetics.

Claire Lapointe

Scientific Professional, Service veille et gestion de la qualité, Institut de recherch en santé et sécurité du travail du Québec, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Claire Lapointe has a Master degree in public health. She has been involved in the field of occupational readaptation and the development of practice guides for years.