This paper argues that ergonomics is more sorely needed, easier to implement, and potentially far more effective in industrially developing countries (IDCs) than where its efforts are presently most concentrated in the less populated, more affluent, technologically advanced world. The reasoning is a simple extension of the principle of diminishing returns in which the further from optimal a situation is, the greater the beneficial effect of any implemented improvement. The paper draws attention to the gap between 'have' and 'have not' cultures, plus the necessity for, and relative ease with which a sustainable ergonomics ethos can be engendered in IDCs. This requires a need to consider network causality, investigating both micro-problems (basic interaction between task and worker) and macro-conditions of the overall scenario (including managerial organisation, planning and responsibility). The two-pronged symbiosis of micro- and macro-ergonomics intervention has the potential to achieve both effective and sustainable development within small, medium and large enterprises. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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