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Span of control in supervision of rail track work

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David GolightlyORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Springer London, 2016.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2016, Springer-Verlag London. The supervision of engineering work on the railways has received relatively little examination despite being both safety–critical in its own right and having wider implications for the successful running of the railways. The present paper is concerned with understanding the factors that make different engineering works perceived as easier or harder to manage. We describe an approach building on notions of ‘span of control’, through which we developed the TOECAP inventory (Team, Organisation, Environment, Communication, Activity and Personal). This tool was validated through both interviews and questionnaires. As well as identifying the physical factors involved, the work also emphasised the importance of collaborative and attitudinal factors. We conclude by discussing limitations of the present work and future directions for development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Houghton RJ, White C, Golightly D, Wilson JR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cognition, Technology and Work

Year: 2016

Volume: 18

Issue: 2

Pages: 361-378

Print publication date: 01/05/2016

Online publication date: 03/03/2016

Acceptance date: 06/01/2016

Date deposited: 05/07/2019

ISSN (print): 1435-5558

ISSN (electronic): 1435-5566

Publisher: Springer London


DOI: 10.1007/s10111-016-0364-4


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