An analysis of shift working rosters used within the Australian Army component of the Defence Integrated Secure Communications Network (DISCON)

Bryar, Peter John (1996) An analysis of shift working rosters used within the Australian Army component of the Defence Integrated Secure Communications Network (DISCON). Coursework Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


Non standard working hours such as those experienced by rotational shift workers have a wide ranging impact upon job and roster satisfaction, performance, behaviour, sleep, quality of work and family life. The shift roster plays an important role in moderating the influence of non standard working hours on the individual and the group though it is well documented that shift work does affect everyone differently. Aspects of shift work that appear to be disadvantageous for many individuals can be considered to be beneficial by others depending upon the work circumstances and the needs of the individual and family. This study is concerned with shift work within a section of the Australian Defence environment - the Defence Integrated Secure Communications Network (DISCON) - Royal Australian Army Corps of Signals component, an area previously untouched by academic or other research. The significance of this study is that whilst it has focussed on a unique work environment the findings are not at variance to other shift working research. The Australian Army, through units of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals, has the responsibility of managing and operating the Switching and Communications Centres throughout the states of Victoria and Queensland, and within the cities of Canberra and Sydney. Shift workers and the shift working rosters operating within these units are the focus of this study. The purpose of this study is to compare the four shift working rosters operating within the four different Army units with DISCON and determine which one is most appropriate in terms of current roster design guidelines and shift worker preference. DISCON was established to support the operations of the Australian Defence Force and Department of Defence for the rest of this century and beyond. DISCON is Defence's first secure, integrated communications system, and will be used for command and control of the Australian Defence Force as well as management and administration of the Defence Organisation. DISCON operates by means of interconnected switching centres which direct all incoming message traffic to its destination and link Defence establishments Australia-wide. DISCON Switching Centres serve a particular region through Communications Centres and decentralised communications terminals. DISCON has brought with it new technology, new equipment and a range of new services to its subscribers. DISCON provides facilities for the passage of voice (secure and insecure telephone), facsimile, telegraph and electronic data and is expected to support the current range of tactical (field) external networks and individual tactical radio communication. There has also been a major change to the communications doctrine of providing pre-determined facilities, and subscribers no longer have to rely purely upon area or regional communications centres to service their communications needs of formal message traffic, facsimile and data transmission. Communications terminals have been decentralised to a large extent bringing them closer to the user - in some cases directly to them. Switching centres have also taken on the additional responsibility of providing advice to subscribers whilst communication centres are assisting with user education.

Additional Information

Master of Business in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management

Item type Thesis (Coursework Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 0805 Distributed Computing
Historical > FOR Classification > 0806 Information Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Faculty of Business and Law
Keywords Royal Australian Corps of Signals, Personnel management, Shift systems, Case studies, Communication systems, Australia, Army
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