• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is Socio-technical design?

Extracts from this document...


Individual Report

Question: What is Socio-technical design? Explain its social and technical relevance. Why are both aspects seen to be important?

Name: Anum Qudsia

K-number: K0913234

Module name:Technology & Change

Module code:CI1141

Workshop leader:Ruediger Oehlmann

Executive summary

The question I have chosen to answer is based on explaining the term Socio-technical design and the relevance between the two aspects of the topic; social and technical. Furthermore, I am going to explain why the two sides appear to be so important in this field. I chose this topic because i knew relatively less about it, and I wanted to know more about this subject. Since Socio-technical design is such a comprehensive area, I will try to keep it limited to the questions I have been given, but indeed I will include some research around the topics. My basic research is going to be in the main areas of Socio-technical design such as its origin, its importance, its relevance, its contribution, the outcome etc. At the end I will conclude my report explaining how Socio-technical design is today and what it has achieved through the years.

Review of relevant literature

Taking a look into the origins of Socio-technical design; the concept was introduced by some social scientists working at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in the 1960s (Wikipedia, 2009a). The Institute was originally a part of The Tavistock Clinic which was focusing on mental health and individual development after World War II (Professor Enid Mumford, 2010).

...read more.


Plan of Work

  • Explain Socio-technical design
  • The origin
  • Why it was needed
  • How it started
  • Discuss the definition of Socio-technical design given by different authors
  • Set the definitions opponent to each other
  • Argue and reflect and give my own understanding/explanation of the concept
  • Explain the relevance of the technical and the social in Socio-technical Design
  • Argue and reflect over the reviews and give my answer.
  • Explain the importance of the social and the technical in Socio-technical Design
  • Argue and reflect over the reviews
  • Come to a reasonable answer

Discussion (Response to question)

The first part of the question goes about explaining Socio-technical design. Before I attempt to do so, I want to quickly explain why the concept was needed in the first place. Looking back at history, according to Mumford (2000b) the Tavistock Clinic was established to help damaged soldiers regain their psychological health after World War II. After the war, the socialists and the psychiatrists at the Clinic believed that therapy and the techniques developed could be useful in organizations of work industry. Therefore, the Tavistock Institute was established to pursue that action. Mumford writes that since then, there has been set out different projects regarding socio-technical design where improvements have been achieved in the work situation.

As specified in the review, Mumford (2000a) defines the term Socio-technical design as an approach to a system design based on equal weight on the technical and the social.

...read more.


The Academy of Management Review,3(3), pp.625-634. JSTOR Trusted Achieve For Scholarships [Online]. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/ (Accessed: 5 January 2010)

Hill, S. (1995) A Practical Introduction to the Human Computer Interface in a Semester. London: DP Publications.

Mumford, E. (2000a) „A Socio-Technical Approach to Systems Design”, Requirements Engineering,5(2), pp.125-133. Springerlink [Online]. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com.ezproxy.kingston.ac.uk/home/main.mpx (Accessed: 5 January 2010)

Mumford, E. (2000b) „Socio-Technical Design: An Unfulfilled Promise Or A Future Opportunity?”, in Baskerville, R. and Stage, J. and DeGross, J., I. (ed.) Organizational and social perspectives on information technology. Google Books [Online]. Available at: http://books.google.co.uk/ (Accessed: 3 January 2010)

Professor Enid Mumford’s Website (2010) Socio-technical design.  Available at: http://www.enid.u-net.com/Sociotech.htm (Accessed: 2 January 2010)

Scacchi, W. (2003) „Socio-Technical Design” (A school paper), Institute for Software Research, University of California [Online]. Available at: http://www.ics.uci.edu/ (Accessed: 3 January 2010)

Stewart, T. (2009) „General Socio-Technical Theory”, in Whitworth, B. and Moor, A. d. (ed.) The Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems.Google Books [Online]. Available at: http://books.google.co.uk/ (Accessed: 28December 2009)

Whitworth, B. (2009) „The Social Requirements of Technical Systems”, in Whitworth, B. and Moor, A. d. (ed.) The Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems.Google Books [Online]. Available at: http://books.google.co.uk/ (Accessed: 6 January 2009)

Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia (2009a) Sociotechnical systems. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socio-technical_systems (Accessed: 1 January 2010)

Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia (2009b) Tavistock Institute. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tavistock_Institute (Accessed: 1 January 2010)

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Computer Science section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Computer Science essays


    Existing Network. There is no existing network. HIGH-LEVEL NETWORK DESIGN Top-Level Network Diagram State Office Network Diagram (LAN cabling is 100BaseT CAT5) State Office Network Sub-Diagram Administration LAN State Office Network Sub-Diagram Finance/Accounting LAN State Office Network Sub-Diagram Curriculum LAN State Office Network Sub-Diagram Human Resources LAN State Office Network Sub-Diagram Computer

  2. Network Design

    So hardware firewalls have more enhanced security controls. DMZ (Demilitarized zone) According to Dr. Alkharobi, T (2007) in his book "Firewalls" describes that a zone with an intermediate trust level, situated between Internet and a trusted internal network is a demilitarized zone (DMZ). We proposed to use a demilitarized zone because servers in the DMZ are placed with

  1. Information systems development literature review. Since the 1960s Methodologies, Frameworks, Approaches and CASE ...

    Fifthly a Logical Data Model (LDM) was created to decipher "what it is that the system actually holds data about and exactly how this data truly interrelates". Weaver, P et al. (2002). The LDM constructed comprises of entities and relationships, Entities being "Any object or concept about which a system needs to hold information..."

  2. Executive Support Systems: Organizational Decisions Tool.

    Most would probably ask why include this functional group who have no idea of what transpires within an organization; however, executive assistants play a very strong part in the process which will be discussed later in determining the system requirements.

  1. Lifecycle Management Of Information Technology Project In Construction

    Fig. 3. Example? of widely-applicable, multi-dimen?ional view? of the project: proce??e? with a??ociated output? v?. time (filtered to ?how only viewer'? proce??e?); output? of viewer highlighted on an overall view of project output?; contribution? of viewer'? proce??e? to overall project output?, and the ?upply chain view of all proce??e? a??ociated with each output v?. time. Fig. 3.

  2. Implementation of Path Finding Techniques in Homeland Security Robots

    This technique was proved to take lesser time than the A* algorithm. Given any start node, target node and positioning of obstacles the algorithm always returned a safe path avoiding all danger spots. The only drawback found in this algorithm was that it calculates optimal paths instead of safest paths which may be critical in some homeland security applications.

  1. Risk Management and Assessment for IT Projects.

    2. Obtain an "Off The Shelf" methodology. 3. There is also the hybrid option of purchasing a methodology and then customizing it to meet the specific needs of your organization. 7. Some methodologies: 7.1 PRINCE PRINCE is an acronym for PRojects IN a Controlled Environment. The methodology was extensively revised and broadened in 1996 to cover all types and sizes of projects and re-released as PRINCE 2.

  2. Create an online catalogue system that specialises in children's toys and enables users to ...

    support a limited number of users (no more than a few hundred). The "Toyland" web site is accessed by the user from a web browser on their PC. The user interface, the database and business logic will be downloaded from the server, over the internet.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work