• Computergraphics and computer-aided design (CAD) technologyisrapidly changing design and manufacturing in American industry. This paper sets forth a model of the individual difference factors which may impact task performance and affective reactions to the use of CAD technology. A standardized, scorable engineering task was developed which utilizes CAD technology, and a number of individual difference variables were examined with reference to the task. Results indicate that cognitive skills were strongly related to' CAD engineering performance, user confidence, and perceived task difficulty. Experience and attitudinal variables were not found to be related to the measured outcomes Implications for employee selection and suggestions for future research are not provided. Introduction studying those factors which impact job performance when using this visually oriented technology is apparent Computer-aided design (CAD), utilizing interactive if organizations are to maximize the productivity benefits possible through CAD systems. Unfortunately, virtually computer graphics technology, is rapidly changing the no published research specifically addresses the deternature ofthe design and manufacturingof a wide variety minants of effective CAD performance. In the absence of products. This relatively recent technology allows of reliable empirical information regarding the engineers and designers to use computergraphics to aid characteristics of effective performers, industry has had in the design of virtually any item. By designing the product on the computer, changes revisions, redesigns, to rely on anecdotal stories, untested interviews, etc., can be done much more quickly than is possible observation, and surveys to identify applicants who throughlaborousmanualdraftingmethods. Itisprojecthopefully will be better performers (Norton, 1983). ed that virtually all organizations engaged in design and manufacturing will be required to adopt CAD technology The lack of empirical literature describing the determito remain competitive (Reiser, Gueutal and Marcotte, nants of effective CAD performance stems primarily 1982). As CAD applications become widespread, an from the fact that there are no agreed upon measures of increasing percentage of the workforce will find that the actual job performance. The absence of criterion for computer graphics applications have become an integral measurement has seriously hindered research in this part of their job. It is critical, therefore, to understand critical area. Consequently, the authors of this study those vaiiables which underlie effective job performwere forced to develop a measure of CAD performance. ance when utilizing CAD technology. This research is This measure, the Computer Graphics Performance among the first investigations to evaluate the correlates Test (CGP'Il, was designed based upon interviews with of effective CAD performance. practicing CAD engineers, as well as academics involved in CAD software development The CGPT incorporates critical elements of the engineer/designer's job in a scorable testing format Literature Review A body of literature does exist related to other businessThe need for a growing pool of educated and competent oriented uses of computers. For example, factors such as CAD users has been pointed out by both academia and cognitive style, experience, and decision making behavior the business community (Harris, 1981). The necessity of have been studied in the context of management infor- ()
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  • Effectively Utilizing Computer-Aided Design Technology: The Role of Individual Difference Variables ()


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