Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)


Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Mark R Lehto

Committee Member 1

Mihaela Vorvoreanu

Committee Member 2

Steven J Landry


The goal of this research was to develop a model of Managerial Situation Awareness (MSA) and to determine if there is promise in further exploration of this theoretical model. In this thesis, I showed that situation awareness (SA) is applicable to the management context and may be useful as a focus for designing systems used by managers. To achieve this, I developed a simulation of an operations management situation and I conducted a two phase qualitative study in this environment. In the first phase, participants spent an expedited day acting as an operations manager of a manufacturing plant. The goal of this first phase was to determine the information needed to improve managerial performance. After the simulation, these participants completed a Situation Awareness Rating Technique (SART) survey and were subsequently interviewed. I developed a grounded theory and used the interview data to design an MSA augment. I evaluated this visualization against a list of heuristics and incorporated the augment into the simulation. The second phase of the study was the same as the first with the addition of the MSA augment. The goal of this second phase was to determine if the design had a positive impact on the participants performance. The qualitative results of this second phase validated the original grounded theory as well as validated the idea that the MSA augment improved performance. From a quantitative perspective, the Phase 2 average and median performances were higher than the Phase 1 average and median performances. These measures of performance, although non-statistical, provide context to show that there is potential for further exploration.