He is professor and Chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida, Orlando (USA). Certified Professional Ergonomist, he is past president of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA). Author or co-author of over 350 scientific publications, Professor Karwowski currently serves on the Committee on Human Systems Integration, National Research Council (USA). He is editor of the journal Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries, and editor-in-chief of the journal Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science.
Despite recent developments in information technology, management of many of contemporary industrial and service systems, such as mining, oil and gas exploration, nuclear power generation, transportation (including aviation), or health care, continue to be a major challenge for the global society with respect to safety and health of people who are involved with their daily operation and maintenance, as well as safety and health of customers/clients. Although many engineering, technological, organizational, management, human, social, behavioral, legal, cultural and other factors contribute to this challenge, it is the interactions of such factors that lead to increasing complexity of these systems that may result in their unpredictable and risky behaviors. Examples of such behaviors that often result in loss of human life, and/or high potential for ecological, economic, social and environmental damages include recent disasters in the oil exploration industry (e.g. the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill accident, April 2010), in the mining industry (e.g. the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, April 2010), or in the energy sector (e.g. the recent Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan, April 2011). In order to improve our ability to prevent such disasters from occurring again and mitigate their unwanted consequences in the future, we need to gain fundamental understanding of the emergent properties that result from the intricate interactions of complex system's components, including the humans in those systems.