homepeople › erik vinkhuyzen



Erik Vinkhuyzen

Erik Vinkhuyzen is a principal scientist who specializes in video-based ethnographic studies of people and technology.  He uses video recordings of people at work to study the details of how people organize their environment, coordinate with each other through formal and informal communication, the role of technology in the accomplishment of tasks, and how their practices reflect an organization's culture.

Over his 16-year tenure at PARC, Erik has conducted ethnographic studies of people and technology in a great variety of institutional settings: call centers, insurance agents’ offices, air traffic control centers, mission control offices, copy shops, system engineering departments, administrative assistance loci, dimensional engineers in truck manufacturing plants, members of globally distributed work teams, electronic health record systems and paper charts in medical settings, chat systems, telecom router maintenance, train maintenance engineers, and other technologies.

Erik received his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in Switzerland and wrote his dissertation on the practical impact of expert systems on work.  Previously, he worked at the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL) and NASA Ames Research Center.


PARC publications

view publications by:  date | title | type | focus area



Video ethnography and the complexity of service work

First International Conference on the Human Side of Service Engineering

21 July 2012


The implications of interactional ‘repair’ for human-robot interaction design

Fifth International Workshop on Human Aspects in Ambient Intelligence (HAI '11)

22 August 2011

The organization of repair in game play

International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (IIEMCA)

10 July 2011

Rethinking how projects are managed: meeting communication across the organizational hierarchy

Chapter in Making work visible: ethnographically grounded case studies of work practice, edited by Margaret H. Szymanski and Jack Whalen

April 2011

Interactions at a reprographics store

Chapter in Making work visible: ethnographically grounded case studies of work practice, edited by Margaret H. Szymanski and Jack Whalen

April 2011

How health IT is changing the nature of medical work

Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting

3 March 2011


Expert system technology and work practice

Chapter in Orders of Ordinary Action, edited by Stephen Hester and David Francis.


Teaching organizational ethnography

Proceedings of EPIC 2007

3 October 2007


The problem of knowledge decoupling in software development projects

Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Software Engineering

20 May 2006


Studying workscapes

Discourse & technology: multimodal discourse analysis

31 December 2004


Studying workscapes through a natural observational discipline

Georgetown University Round Table Proceedings

15 October 2002


Document-mediated activities at a quick print shop

American Sociological Association Annual Meeting

19 August 2001

The use of gesture and props in describing documents

7th Annual Conference on Language, Interaction and Culture

24 May 2001

Expert systems in (inter)action: diagnosing document machine problems over the telephone

Workplace studies: recovering work practice and informing system design

1 January 2001





focus areas





events   view all 

EPIC 2012
14 October 2012 - 17 October 2012 | Savannah, GA  

Video Ethnography and the Complexity of Service Work
21 July 2012 | San Francisco, CA