This paper begins by identifying two habits that hinder the ability of human factors to assist organisations in looking beyond their tech-problems, to better understand their socio-technical problems, and develop solutions. First, the tendency toward prima facie acceptance of widely accepted, often vague claims (e.g. that “communication affects productivity”), which can result in the under examination of concepts and the appropriateness of their application to real world contexts. Second, the tendency for experimental psychology to investigate such claims by testing specific constructs using environments and subjects that at best can only simulate, and can never adequately capture, the complex real-world contexts in which they are to be applied. The authors argue that these shortcomings can be addressed through analysis consisting of a mix of technical and organisational issues using both qualitative and quantitative methods. This is then illustrated through a case study of the authors’ recent project on navy vessel maintenance.