Awareness and cooperative work in a café-restaurant

This paper (in french even though the abstract is in english) might be of interest, I'll peruse it in the train tonight: Awareness and cooperative work in a café-restaurant by Béatrice Cahour and Barbara Pentimalli. In Activités Vol. 2 No 1.

In this paper we present a workplace study of the collaborative activity between cooks and waiters in a restaurant/coffee-house. We show how awareness is linked to the attention mechanisms of the participants and how their level of awareness is constantly varying. First of all, using video footage, we analyse the functions of awareness between the co-team members through their peripheral attention, over-hearing and kinaesthetic perceptions: how they need to use shortcuts in their displacements and rapid communication so as to gain time, how they need to avoid collisions in a narrow space, etc. Secondly, based on 'explicitation' interviews conducted with two waitresses, we then present a detailed analysis of the variations in their attention which are linked not only to the cognitive overload present in their current activity but also to the objects and persons which are pertinent for this same activity. KEYWORDS: Levels of awareness, foci of attention, cooperative activity, socio-cognitive dynamics, communication, pluri-sensoriality.