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
´A socio-technical system is a system sociocomposed of technical and social subsystemsµ. An example for this is a factory or also a hospital where people are organized, e.g. in social systems like teams or departments, to do work for which they use technical systems like computers or x-ray machines
Two sub systems
The technical system includes machinery, processes, procedures and a physical arrangement. We usually think of a factory in terms of its technical system The social system includes people and their habitual attitudes, values, behavioral styles and relationships. It includes the reward system
Need for joint optimization
Joint optimization is the goal of socio-Technical design. 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. For example, a manufacturing work cell that requires high teamwork will not produce in an environment of suspicion and command/control. A self-directed work team will be ineffective selfwhen the layout of their area prevents communication or does not require cooperation. The social and technical systems must integrate and assist one another.
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
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. The extend to which the key variances are imported/exported or being controlled by employees directly. Simultaneous interdependencies among workers to provide for task accomplishment in less time and continuity in the face of individual failure
How each workers role is experienced in terms of attractiveness and perceptions of dependence, pay equity, trust and isolation with regard to others. The extend of coordination of task interdependence in term of social relation The presence of formal over specification as well as under specification
Three levels of analysis
The socio-technical experience may be carried out at socioany one of three broad levels, from micro to macro. Each level is interrelated and interconnected. Primary work system The whole organizational system The macro-social system macro-
Primary work sys
-A set of activities that make up a functioning whole in an identifiable and bounded subsystem of an organization. -The small work units or subsystems ensconced throughout the whole organization³such as a line organization³ department or service unit. -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 whole organization sys
Whole organization systems are larger enterprise-wide enterprisesystems consisting of several work units. units. It is at this level that goals are set that reflect organizational capabilities in conjunction with the external environment. The managers have potential power for aligning the organizations structural arrangements and values. By communication of purpose, knowledge and values among employees we can develop shared objectives,values,norms and feel of belonging.
The macro-social sys macromacrosocial systems, embody community-wide systems communityand institutions operating within an industry sector. 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
Compatibility ² requires the process of system re-design to be recompatible with the desired organizational objectives. Minimal Critical Specification ² methods of working should be minimally predetermined for team members. Sociotechnical criterion ² involves identifying key unanticipated events which critically affect outcomes. If they can·t be eliminated, they need to be handled at source. Multifunctionality ² highly specialized jobs should be avoided as specialism reduces flexibility. A more multi-skilled approach is multiessential. Boundary location ² boundaries can be drawn to group people and activities in terms of technology, territory or time.
Information flow ² those that need resources should have access and authority over them. Support congruence ² systems of social support should reinforce the desired organizational behaviours. Design and human values ² the objective of the organizational design should be to provide a high quality of work. Incompletion ² redesign should be an iterative process, not a ´one offµ change.
Steps in data collection and analysis
The methodology of sociotechnical analysis usually proceeds as follows: (1) Initial scanning. The aim, in this phase, 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 main ``outputs·· of this phase are: the physical layout of the production system; a definition of the organisational structure; the identification of the most important inputs and outputs of the system and of the main processes of transformation; the aims of the system, both the production and the social aims; the history and the relevant social aspects of the system; and, lastly, identification of the main variances.
In sciotechnical system ,technical analysis means inputs and outputs rather than tools equipments. identification of unit operations, that is, of the main phases in the production process; where possible the purpose of each unit operation should be specified in terms of its inputs, its transformations, and its outputs; 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).
The aim here is to analyse the main characteristics of the existing social 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.
4)Analysis of external systems. Those which influence the system being analysed (for example, the maintenance system). 5)Work system design proposals. These are within the logic of the best fit between the technical sub-system and the social sub-system.
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, such as changes in people and processes, but it does not tell you how to design the technology to support performance. Therefore, if you identify a number of change initiatives and one of them relates to new technology, it will not tell you what and how the technology needs to work to drive performance.
New approach to sts analysis
For complex, nonlinear situations, pava suggested an additional analysis, a ´second-generationµ of STS theory that focused on ´deliberationsµ in technical analysis and ´discretionary coalitionsµ in social analysis. Pava defined deliberations as ´´choice pointsµ that are not simply the equivalent of decisions or meetings; rather, Deliberations are reflective and communicative behaviors concerning a particular topic. They are patterns of exchange and communication in which people engage with themselves or others to reduce the equivocality of a problematic issue. Deliberations have three salient aspects: topics, forums of exchange, and participants.
Analysis of the technical sub-system entails both identifying major deliberations, forums and participants and critically evaluating the elements that may render each individual deliberation ineffective (e.g. information gaps in each deliberation, problems related to component work activities for each deliberation).
Analysis of the social sub-system entails identifying, for each major deliberation: . The way in which responsibility is distributed among the various participants; . Orientations and values that typify each participant; and . 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··.