SocioSocio-technical system

Presented by Aimen farooq (38)

Origin of socio-technical sys socioIn the early 1950's Eric Trist and the Tavistock Institute studied the English coal mining industry where mechanization had actually decreased worker productivity. Trist proposed that manufacturing (and many other) systems have both technical and human/social aspects that are tightly bound and interconnected. Moreover, it is the interconnections more than individual elements that determine system performance

g. An example for this is a factory or also a hospital where people are organized. to do work for which they use technical systems like computers or x-ray machines .SocioSocio-technical system ´A socio-technical system is a system sociocomposed of technical and social subsystemsµ. e. in social systems like teams or departments.

It includes the reward system . We usually think of a factory in terms of its technical system The social system includes people and their habitual attitudes. values. processes.Two sub systems The technical system includes machinery. behavioral styles and relationships. procedures and a physical arrangement.

Need for joint optimization Joint optimization is the goal of socio-Technical design. . A self-directed work team will be ineffective selfwhen the layout of their area prevents communication or does not require cooperation. It is the sociointegration of the social requirements of people doing the work with technical requirements needed to keep the work system viable with regard to environment. a manufacturing work cell that requires high teamwork will not produce in an environment of suspicion and command/control. For example. The social and technical systems must integrate and assist one another.


Technological system Aspects of technical systems that place demand on the social system: system: Nature of material being worked on Level of mechanization (or automation) Units of operation and grouping of these units into production phases Degree of centrality of different operations Maintenance operations Supply operations Spatial layout of process over time Physical work setting .

Simultaneous interdependencies among workers to provide for task accomplishment in less time and continuity in the face of individual failure . The extend to which the key variances are imported/exported or being controlled by employees directly.The social system work role that promote cooperation among workers Work roles organized to promote self responsibility Whether workers are made jointly responsible for how services are delivered or separately and unilaterally.

How each workers role is experienced in terms of attractiveness and perceptions of dependence. trust and isolation with regard to others.Cont. The extend of coordination of task interdependence in term of social relation The presence of formal over specification as well as under specification . pay equity.

Primary work system The whole organizational system The macro-social system macro- . Each level is interrelated and interconnected.Three levels of analysis The socio-technical experience may be carried out at socioany one of three broad levels. from micro to macro.

Primary work sys -A set of activities that make up a functioning whole in an identifiable and bounded subsystem of an organization. . -The most satisfying and efficient primary work system comprise small number of people that can perform a whole task while satisfying the social and psychological need of system members as well as organization needs. -The small work units or subsystems ensconced throughout the whole organization³such as a line organization³ department or service unit.

By communication of purpose.norms and feel of belonging. knowledge and values among employees we can develop shared objectives. It is at this level that goals are set that reflect organizational capabilities in conjunction with the external environment. units. .values.The whole organization sys Whole organization systems are larger enterprise-wide enterprisesystems consisting of several work units. The managers have potential power for aligning the organizations structural arrangements and values.

embody community-wide systems communityand institutions operating within an industry sector.The macro-social sys macromacrosocial systems. . Organizations can best adapt to environmental turbulence by identifying shared ideals to guide them in fashioning new objectives and their goals.

Principles of Sociotechnical Systems Compatibility Minimal critical specification Sociotechnical criterion Multifunctionality Boundary location Information flow Support congruence Design and human values Incompletion .

If they can·t be eliminated. Multifunctionality ² highly specialized jobs should be avoided as specialism reduces flexibility. they need to be handled at source. Sociotechnical criterion ² involves identifying key unanticipated events which critically affect outcomes. Boundary location ² boundaries can be drawn to group people and activities in terms of technology.cont Compatibility ² requires the process of system re-design to be recompatible with the desired organizational objectives. A more multi-skilled approach is multiessential. Minimal Critical Specification ² methods of working should be minimally predetermined for team members. . territory or time.

Support congruence ² systems of social support should reinforce the desired organizational behaviours. Incompletion ² redesign should be an iterative process. not a ´one offµ change. Design and human values ² the objective of the organizational design should be to provide a high quality of work.cont Information flow ² those that need resources should have access and authority over them. .

both the production and the social aims. lastly. identification of the main variances. the history and the relevant social aspects of the system. in this phase. The main ``outputs·· of this phase are: the physical layout of the production system. The aim.Steps in data collection and analysis The methodology of sociotechnical analysis usually proceeds as follows: (1) Initial scanning. is both to identify the main characteristics of the production system and its specific environment and to elucidate the main problems on which subsequent analyses must focus. the identification of the most important inputs and outputs of the system and of the main processes of transformation. and. the aims of the system. . a definition of the organisational structure.

technical analysis means inputs and outputs rather than tools equipments. . identification of unit operations. its transformations. of the main phases in the production process. that is. where possible the purpose of each unit operation should be specified in terms of its inputs. identification of key process variances (which originate either from the materials or from the nature of the process of transformation as currently being carried out) and their interrelationships (by constructing variance matrixes). and its outputs.2)Technological analysis In sciotechnical system .

. in order both to understand how the network of roles contributes to checking on the previously identified variances and to evaluate each role in relation to the psychological needs of the workers.3)Social analysis The aim here is to analyse the main characteristics of the existing social system.

4)Analysis of external systems. These are within the logic of the best fit between the technical sub-system and the social sub-system. . the maintenance system). 5)Work system design proposals. Those which influence the system being analysed (for example.

limitations The STS concept that we have discussed is only for bringing improvement in the design and redesign of the workplace of a ¶well defined linear system· rather than the growing number of ill defined ¶non linear systems· Well defined system are characterized by programmed tasks that follow sequential conversion process of input to output Where as in non linear system it is difficult to separate different conversion process into well bounded entities Another limitation is that it provides clear advice on organisational it change. it will not tell you what and how the technology needs to work to drive performance. Therefore. . if you identify a number of change initiatives and one of them relates to new technology. but it does not tell you how to design the technology to support performance. such as changes in people and processes.

Pava defined deliberations as ´´choice pointsµ that are not simply the equivalent of decisions or meetings.New approach to sts analysis For complex. rather. a ´second-generationµ of STS theory that focused on ´deliberationsµ in technical analysis and ´discretionary coalitionsµ in social analysis. forums of exchange. Deliberations have three salient aspects: topics. They are patterns of exchange and communication in which people engage with themselves or others to reduce the equivocality of a problematic issue. nonlinear situations. . and participants. pava suggested an additional analysis. Deliberations are reflective and communicative behaviors concerning a particular topic.

for each major deliberation: . . forums and participants and critically evaluating the elements that may render each individual deliberation ineffective (e.g. Orientations and values that typify each participant. Analysis of the social sub-system entails identifying. Analysis of the technical sub-system entails both identifying major deliberations. information gaps in each deliberation. and . The way in which responsibility is distributed among the various participants. problems related to component work activities for each deliberation).Cont. Interdependent parties ² ``people with divergent values who are engaged in the same deliberation and must continually work at forging a discretionary coalition that can make intelligent trade-offs among its members for the sake of some long-term general interest··. .

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