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What is Socio-technical design?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

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).

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Middle

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.

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Conclusion

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)

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