Socio Technical System Essay

8514 Words Mar 1st, 2013 35 Pages
Socio-technical systems theory: an intervention strategy for organizational development

Steven H. Appelbaum Professor of Management, Faculty of Commerce & Administration, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Integrating organizational development (OD) and technological intervention into a total system is one of the more difficult tasks for an executive or consultant to execute. Organizations are profoundly affected by technological advancements and require a flexible customized change model to fit the social network of the specific organization into which technology is being introduced. Examines socio-technical systems (STS) theory and presents classical organization theories of Burns and Stalker, Woodward, Perrow, Thompson, and
…show more content…
153]. Wide application of the socio-technical approach is due to its generality and so has the capacity to be “adopted with ease to almost any organizational situation… and remains open to continual improvement and revision[2, p. 63].

Design of STS
Socio-technical system design is based on the premiss that an organization or a work unit is a combination of social and technical parts and that it is open to its environment[5]. Because the social and technical elements must work together to accomplish tasks, work systems produce both physical products and social/psychological outcomes. The key issue is to design work so that the two parts yield positive outcomes; this is called joint optimization. This method contrasts with traditional methods that first design the technical component and then fit people to it. The traditional methods often lead to mediocre performance at high social costs. In addition to joint optimization, STS design is also concerned with the work system and its environment. This involves boundary management, which is a process of protecting the work system from external disruptions and facilitating the exchange of necessary resources and information. The creators of STS design have developed the following guidelines for designing work[4]: • Work should be organized in a way that is compatible with the

Related Documents