sociotechnicalveryard projects > system > sociotechnical
|Early studies of innovation and productivity were carried
out by researchers at the Tavistock Institute - including Eric Trist, Ken
Bamforth, Fred Emery, and others.
This work led to coining the word sociotechnical to refer to a systems perspective that pays attention to both technical and social factors, and to the interaction between the technical and the social.
|The “same” machinery can coexist with different social
The costs, benefits and risks of the technology belong to the whole socio-technical system, not just the machine in isolation.
Some people like to think that all benefits can be attributed to the machine, and any implementation problems belong to the social system.
Some people like to attach the benefits of automation to the social system.
> workforce productivity
|Decomposing the SocioTechnical
Student Notes (pdf)
Decomposing the SocioTechnical (Fractal)veryard projects > system > sociotechnical > decomposition
Many people think of a socio-technical system as a composite system, containing some social subsystems and some technical subsystems. This is a simplification, which can sometimes be dangerously misleading.
All social systems are technically mediated. We get an increasing amount of our information about our social world through technical media: email, telephone, management information systems, television, Reuters newswire. These technologies screen information for us, screen information from us.
(For example, computers and televisions both provide information as services through a screen. The screen is both literal and metaphorical. It is a surface on which the data are presented, and also a filter that controls what the user sees. The screen is a two-sided device -- it both reveals information and hides information.)
And all technical systems are socially mediated. Technology is produced, distributed and managed by people within social structures, for socio-economic or political purposes. It is interpreted and used according to social intentions.
For some purposes, therefore, it is appropriate to treat all the subsystems,
even the smallest components, of a socio-technical system as if they were
themselves socio-technical. (This kind of decomposition is sometimes called
History of the SocioTechnical (Tavistock Institute)veryard projects > system > sociotechnical > history
|The original research is described in a number of papers by Eric Trist, Ken Bamforth, Fred Emery, and others.|
|E. Coakes, R. Lloyd-Jones & D. Willis, The New Sociotech: Graffiti on the Longwall (Springer, 2000).|
|Barry Palmer, "The Tavistock paradigm: Inside, outside and beyond.", in R. Hinshelwood & M. Chiesa (eds) Institutions, Anxieties and Defence. PDF version available online|
|Civic Practices Network (http://www.cpn.org/cpn/sections/topics/work/stories-studies/tavistock_institute.html)
Bob Cole's notes (www.isc.anglia.ac.uk/coleb/wio/html/tavistoc.htm)
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