Socio-technical systems: From design methods to systems engineering
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Interacting with Computers 23 (1): 4--17 (2011)

It is widely acknowledged that adopting a socio-technical approach to system development leads to systems that are more acceptable to end users and deliver better value to stakeholders. Despite this, such approaches are not widely practised. We analyse the reasons for this, highlighting some of the problems with the better known socio-technical design methods. Based on this analysis we propose a new pragmatic framework for socio-technical systems engineering (STSE) which builds on the (largely independent) research of groups investigating work design, information systems, computer-supported cooperative work, and cognitive systems engineering. STSE bridges the traditional gap between organisational change and system development using two main types of activity: sensitisation and awareness; and constructive engagement. From the framework, we identify an initial set of interdisciplinary research problems that address how to apply socio-technical approaches in a cost-effective way, and how to facilitate the integration of STSE with existing systems and software engineering approaches. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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