Elicitation of requirements

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Creation of work demands

The determination of requirements serves to determine the requirements that a work task places on a worker .

Work demands on people arise from the work task , the work environment , the work equipment and the work organization . The demands of a job are matched by the skills of the worker . The worker is burdened by the demands of the workplace. The individual effect of stress on the individual is called stress .

Requirements are usually determined

The requirements analysis precedes the determination of work requirements . According to REFA, it consists of the definition of characteristic types of requirements , "the determination of data for the individual types of requirements in order to be able to quantify the requirements of the work system on people". The requirements are only linked to the workplace or work area and are independent of people.

Methods of determining requirements

Requirements analyzes can be structured according to a different number of requirement types and differentiated in terms of concept and content. The accuracy of an analysis does not increase with the number of types of requirements. A large number of types of requirements become confusing and the risk of conceptual overlaps increases. Too small a number, on the other hand, can jeopardize the purpose of the analysis if the respective question is not adequately accounted for or if no adequate justification is given for differentiation tasks. Before a requirements analysis can be carried out, it is therefore necessary to define and classify the types of requirements.

The types of requirements can now be ascertained using a variety of methods for data acquisition (example: observation , questioning, moderation , ...) and evaluated in terms of time and intensity. In case of doubt, all methods of data analysis ( ABC , cluster , regression analysis , ...) can also be considered.

In working studies , a number of closed procedures have developed over time, the most important of which are presented below.

Process of industrial engineering

Geneva scheme

The Geneva scheme for job evaluation , which was drawn up during the conference of the “ International Labor Organization ” in Geneva in 1950 at the suggestion of the German ergonomists Erwin Bramesfeld and Friedrich R. Lorenz , is based on a systematic structure of the job requirements.

The following are classified here:

  • Intellectual requirements (specialist knowledge, reflection, etc.)
  • Physical requirements (dexterity, muscle work, etc.) as well
  • Working conditions (noise, fumes, cold, heat, etc.),
  • Responsibility (e.g. for resources, safety and health of others).
Can burden
1. Spiritual demands  ×  ×
2. Physical demands  ×  ×
3. Environmental influences - ×
4. Responsibility - ×

Evaluation criteria are derived from the work requirements, which are used to determine qualifications , physical and psychological workloads and the related “work values” in the context of analytical or summary procedures for job evaluation . The Geneva scheme forms the conceptual basis for extended procedures at REFA and in collective agreements.

Determination of requirements according to REFA

REFA program for determining requirements

“The requirements identification consists of the description of work systems as well as the analysis and quantification of their requirements for people; it is mainly used for requirement-dependent pay differentiation, for personnel organization and for work organization ”.

REFA extends the Geneva scheme and defines six types of requirements:

  1. mental stress
  2. Skill,
  3. Knowledge,
  4. muscular load,
  5. Responsibility as well
  6. Environmental influences.

Collective procedures

The collective bargaining procedures for determining requirements serve the "job evaluation" and vary in each specific way the "Geneva scheme" and the REFA method. As an example, one of the most progressive, the procedure in the collective bargaining agreement on the NRW Framework Agreement on Remuneration (ERA), is briefly outlined.

In the ERA (North Rhine-Westphalia) the main features are determined using a point evaluation procedure

  • Room for maneuver and decision-making,
  • Can,
  • Cooperation and
  • Leadership


60% of ability is included in the assessment and is further broken down into work and specialist knowledge (90%) and work experience (10%).

The scope for action and decision-making is rated at 20% and cooperation and environmental influences at 10% each.

Due to the new way of determining requirements, a so-called rule transition from the old tariff is neither possible nor wanted: New, ERA-specific requirements are to be determined.

Utilization analysis

Course of the utilization analysis

The utilization analysis is used to compare the degree of time utilization and stress on employees at different workplaces.

The analysis serves primarily as a decision-making aid and is intended to show the requirement structures at the various workplaces. In principle, it should be checked whether it is possible to balance the workload (see also: work structuring ). Furthermore, it can be assessed whether the full deployment of staff is necessary at the checked workstations.

The utilization analysis is carried out in seven steps (picture):

  1. Requirement structure,
  2. Stress study,
  3. Description of the work situation,
  4. Layout,
  5. Structure of the recording time with data collection,
  6. Proof of representation and
  7. Verification.


The ergonomic survey procedure for activity analysis (AET) was presented in 1979 by Walter Rohmert and Kurt Landau in order to be able to carry out an ergonomic analysis of human-work systems more easily than before. The analysis is based on questionnaires and interviews, methods which the authors attribute to Ernest J. McCormic's Analysis Questionnaire ( PAQ ) , which was translated into German as a questionnaire for work analysis (FAA) by Ekkehart Frieling and Carl Graf Hoyos .

With the AET, a bottleneck-related stress analysis of working people is carried out, based on the theory of the work system and the stress-strain concept of human activities. The AET is thus coordinated with the work design and requirements determination according to REFA and the safety analysis . It is also suitable as a method in accident research.

Thanks to the support of the then Federal Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs as well as the participation of the social partners and the then REFA policy committee “Job Evaluation”, the AET had already been tested in more than 1,000 work systems when it was published. Its development was against the background of the legal development at that time, in particular § 6 ASiG and §§ 90–91 BetrVG .

Industrial psychological procedures

Subjective activity analysis (STA)

Procedure of the STA

In the subjective activity analysis, a given work situation is first assessed by a group of those affected. The deficits of the current situation are recorded and a restructuring of the activities is planned. Furthermore, a procedure is being developed with which the employees can convey missing knowledge to one another. The analysis process is divided into four steps:

  1. Secondary redefinition: With the help of moderation techniques, the working group is made comprehensible as problematic and fundamentally changeable. By working out differences between target and actual values, motivation is encouraged to change the actual situation.
  2. Differential work design: In this work step, the members of the working group develop plans for redesigning the individual activities, whereby the individual needs of the individual members are largely taken into account.
  3. Determination of qualification deficits: As a rule, the existing qualifications of the individual employees will not meet the requirements of the new work organization sought . Therefore, the existing divergences are now documented and recorded.
  4. Transfer of qualifications: A work system that has been redesigned in this way will normally not place any new demands on the overall system. For this reason, a qualification concept can be pursued in which the employees teach each other, for example through temporary cooperation.

The STA thus goes beyond a pure work situation analysis, as it also prompts those involved to develop solutions with regard to work design. In principle, the STA can be viewed as a ready-made analytical instrument, but in practice it makes more sense to view it as a given framework for the application of work psychological procedures, especially since it already provides suggestions for the redesign of work systems. The STA is thus also a participation process .

Overall, the STA is suitable for a variety of tasks, such as work design, work organization, participation, brainstorming, qualification, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages of the STA:

  • The STA is flexible for different applications.
  • By involving the employees concerned, optimal results can be achieved, especially with regard to their motivation.
  • This method is correspondingly complex and time-consuming, which makes the cost of its implementation a crucial point.

Work information sheet (ABB)

The job description sheet (ABB) measures satisfaction with individual aspects of the work situation. However, there is no direct question about job satisfaction . Rather, the description is required on the basis of given features tailored to the respective aspect, which can then be interpreted as a statement of satisfaction.

Procedure when using ABB

A total of 79 items are in the seven areas

  • Working conditions,
  • Pay,
  • development
  • Colleagues,
  • Organization and management,
  • Activity and
  • Supervisor,


The items are assessed in four stages. In addition, so-called Kunin faces ( smileys ) in seven stages are provided as a summarizing final item on each scale . The items are also added:

After the previous scales have drawn attention to the most important individual aspects of the work situation, a comprehensive assessment of the entire work situation should be achieved within the framework of a global item.

The advantage of such an unstructured global item is, on the one hand, the openness of the respondents and, on the other hand, such an overall assessment gives the respondents the opportunity to incorporate aspects that were not addressed in the previous questionnaire, but are important to them.

Disadvantages of the unstructured global items are the indeterminacy of content and the diminishing reliability (1-item measure).

Since the ABB is aimed at recording the (cognitive-evaluative) attitude to certain areas of the work situation, the scale mean values ​​are primarily of interest. It is of course also possible to analyze the answers to the individual items on each scale. For practical purposes in particular, this could be used to specifically find information about particular weak points.

The following advantages and disadvantages are described for the ABB:

  • The ABB enables quantitative statements to be made about employee satisfaction with individual work aspects.
  • Experience with empirical studies justifies the conclusion that the vast majority of respondents have their own experience of the work aspects considered and can clearly assign them to the areas.
  • In the classification of the items there is a high degree of arbitrariness and compromises on the part of the authors of the ABB.
  • With the uniform specification of certain aspects, the problem arises that all respondents are forced to have the same structure of their work experience. It may well be that certain groups of employees perceive their situation in a much more differentiated way, while others perceive their situation less.
  • What is then queried in terms of content for the individual aspects (in the respective assigned items) can possibly be assigned to different result fields by different test subject groups.
  • The specification of specific work aspects means that the respondent has a lot of control.

Experience in various companies has clearly shown that the ABB triggers great dissatisfaction if the results are not fully disclosed and recognizable consequences are initiated. Its use is therefore risky if it is not supported by a real will to change. It is therefore not only an analysis tool, but also a powerful intervention tool in organizational development .

Job evaluation system for intellectual work activities (TBS-GA)

Procedure when using the TBS

The job evaluation system (TBS) by Hacker and Richter (1980) is an occupational psychological procedure for the determination of requirements with which the personality enhancement of professional activities can be examined and assessed. Originally only designed for operating, assembly and monitoring work, the TBS was expanded in 1987 to include primarily intellectual activities (TBS-GA - activity evaluation system for intellectual work).

The use of the procedure is considered to be relatively complex. Two independent evaluators have to evaluate the activities on 60 individual scales. The scales are grouped into groups such as predictability, physical variety, cooperation, communication, etc. A procedure like the TBS is used in work psychology to analyze the activities of a company and, if necessary , to optimize them with regard to health , motivation and satisfaction factors.

Instrument for analyzing job structures and for predictive work design in automation (ATAA)

The aim of the instrument for the analysis of activity structures and for the proactive work design in automation (ATAA) is to support the development of a work system with the highest possible level of personality. A central point of the procedure is therefore to determine the level of requirements on the basis of the scope for action that is specific to a position and that is divided into decision-making, activity, control and interaction scope.

Procedure at the ATAA

In order to avoid under- or excessive demands on individual tasks, all tasks must be considered individually when analyzing the work. A task is made up of several identical or at least similar tasks. For the exact identification of orders, they are characterized by their goal, their types of action and the required work items or equipment.

The ATAA consists of three levels, for which the level of detail of the investigation is increasing.

In the first level , the level of requirements is roughly estimated using a simple scheme so that the framework conditions for a technical-organizational change become apparent.

In the further course of the planning process, the extended scheme of the second level is used to concretise the future level of requirements. At this level, the sub-areas of the scope for action are recorded more precisely. For this purpose, 24 types of action are defined and five action blocks - orienting, planning, executing, controlling and interacting - assigned. For each type of action, the existence, scope and degree of difficulty are determined so that the various characteristics of the requirements of action blocks result.

In the third level , the types of action are finally analyzed in more detail. For this purpose, each type of action is recorded on the basis of a different number of characteristics. A type of action may only be excluded from the analysis if none of the characteristics apply. On the other hand, however, there are types of action that have a central meaningfulness for the question of the holistic nature of the action and can therefore give important information about the need for design of the work. Such types of action must therefore not be ruled out, even if no characteristic occurs.

An analysis is carried out through the precise description of the requirements. This enables an assessment of the individual characteristics of a type of action. A comprehensive catalog of standard examples is attached to the ATAA. These reference examples must then be transferred to the specific task to be examined. The characteristics of the characteristics ultimately result in a requirement profile by combining each action block. The requirement profiles can be used to compare alternatives, to compare with a specification sheet or to determine the missing qualification. In addition, the requirement profiles can be evaluated according to the criteria of the scope for action of an activity.

The ATAA is an instrument for designing workplaces in mechanical engineering and comparable industries. It has been developed for workplaces in the production area and for workplaces in the areas upstream and downstream of production. The procedure should be used as a guide or checklist when designing work situations. It is not only suitable for use by technicians, engineers, planners and managers, but above all tailored for use by foremen and works councils. In this respect, the description of the process is kept in largely simple language and the content is easy to read. This is justified by the fact that the experience of those affected cannot be dispensed with when designing requirements and work content.

The ATAA instrument can be used in two contexts of application:

  • For corrective work design when a new design of work situations appears urgent (under-demanding of employees, absenteeism, fluctuation, accumulation of errors, dissatisfaction, etc.). An analysis of the current situation is carried out in this context.
  • For proactive work design when technical or organizational changes in the company are planned as part of an investment decision. A target analysis is carried out in this context.

Advantages and disadvantages of the ATAA:

  • For the assessment of future jobs it is a prerequisite that the technical conception of the new jobs is known and that it differs significantly from the existing one. The process is not sufficiently selective for minor changes.
  • The evaluations are purely subjective.
  • Even practitioners can carry out the analyzes after a certain training in one to two hours per workplace.
  • The test results are not empirically confirmed.
  • The process can therefore also be used by the companies without the support of a labor management department or a consultant.
  • In the attempt to make the process as easy to use as possible, the theoretical frame of reference has been almost completely lost. This goes so far that even the terms used no longer meet the definitions of action regulation theories .

Procedure for determining regulatory requirements in work activity (VERA)

Definitions of the levels in the VERA

The theoretical framework for the VERA is the 5-level model of the regulation of action in Austria. These five levels are explained in the figure Definitions of the levels in the VERA .

Note: VERA and the associated RHIA were developed separately, but it makes sense to use them together. This is also evident from the last joint publication of the procedures.

Procedure for determining obstacles to regulation in work activity (RHIA)

Regulatory hindrances in RHIA.svg

The RHIA consists of the analysis of regulatory obstacles. The term “regulatory handicap” is understood to mean stresses that unnecessarily hinder work or endanger the health of the worker.

Note: RHIA and the associated VERA were developed separately, but it makes sense to always apply them together. This is also evident from the last joint publication of the procedures.

Web links

  • Process database at iqpr - Institute for Quality Assurance in Prevention and Rehabilitation GmbH

Individual evidence

  1. REFA Association for Work Studies and Business Organization e. V. (Hrsg.): Requirements determination, job evaluation . Munich: Hanser, 1987 (methodology of business organization). P. 42.
  2. REFA Association for Work Studies and Business Organization e. V. (Hrsg.): Methodology of the company organization: Lexicon of the company organization . Hanser, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-446-17523-7 , p. 16.
  3. Rolf Grap: New Forms of Work Organization: Guide for the Steel Industry. 2nd Edition. Augustinus, Aachen 1995, ISBN 978-3-86073-010-2 . Part II.1 Company inspections, pp. 39–46.
  4. ^ Walter Rohmert, Kurt Landau: The ergonomic survey procedure for activity analysis (AET): Handbook. Huber, Stuttgart 1979, ISBN 3-456-80705-8 .
  5. ^ Felix Frei, Eberhard Ulich (Ed.): Contributions to psychological work analysis. Huber, Bern 1981, ISBN 978-3-456-80905-2 .
  6. Winfried Hacker : Industrial Psychology: Psychological regulation of work activities. VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin (GDR) 1986, ISBN 3-326-00164-9 , p. 499 ff.
  7. Oswald Neuberger , Mechthild Allerbeck: Measurement and analysis of job satisfaction: Experiences with the “job description sheet (ABB)”. Huber, Bern 1978, ISBN 978-3-456-80630-3 , pp. 51-56.
  8. Winfried Hacker Birgit Fritsche, Peter Richter, Anna Iwanowa: Job evaluation system TBS: Process for the analysis, evaluation and design of work activities . vdf, Zurich 2003, ISBN 978-3-7281-2079-3
  9. Gabriele Richter, Winfried Hacker: Job evaluation system : Intellectual work for job owners . vdf, Zurich 2003, ISBN 978-3-7281-2899-7
  10. H.Wächter, B. Modrow-Thiel, G. Schmitz: Analysis of activity structures and prospective work design in automation (ATAA). TÜV Media Verlag, Cologne 1989, ISBN 978-3-88585-542-2
  11. Walter Volpert et al .: Procedure for determining regulatory requirements in work activity (VERA). Verlag TÜV Rheinland, Cologne 1983. Current: Rainer Oesterreich: VERA, Version 2: Work analysis method for determining planning and thinking requirements within the framework of the RHIA application. TU Berlin, Berlin 1991.
  12. Konrad Leitner et al .: Analysis of psychological stress in work: The RHIA procedure. TÜV Rheinland publishing house, Cologne 1987.