Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name





Ergonomics, Office, Product, Product Provider, Recommendations


D.M. Andrews


P.M. van Wyck




Product providers are individuals working for companies who are responsible for aiding and selecting office ergonomic products for clients and are key players in the product purchasing stage of the Office Workstation Assessment, Recommendation, Purchasing and Implementation (OWARPI) process. Despite the importance of their role to ensure proper products are selected, there is no existing research on product providers. The objective of this two-part study was to evaluate how companies within the product provider sector (both ergonomic and non-ergonomic) in Ontario, Canada performed when recommending products. Each company was presented with 15 vignettes via an alias-blocked procedure. Performance was evaluated via scoring developed for this study based on Product Selection for different vignette complexity levels (easy, medium, and hard) and responding to Other Factors of interest when interacting with the investigator under different aliases. Notable trends emerged among product providers that aligned with the proposed errors in the product purchasing stages of the OWARPI process. Specific key findings included that: ergonomic product providers outperformed non-ergonomic companies; preferred recommendation layouts were used by ergonomic companies; fewer user-centred design considerations were utilized than expected; product providers stated the importance of ergonomics but this was not always reflected in work practices; transparency of level of knowledge varied considerably between product providers, but those with less knowledge were more likely to transfer accountability and responsibility; and, non-ergonomic companies were observed to be more accessible. Recommendations for product provider companies are provided. As a novel and foundational exploration of the product provider sector, this study illuminates successes and areas for improvement within the process of obtaining products related to office ergonomics.

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Kinesiology Commons