Hear from an expert panel as they discuss sociotechnical thinking and practice, question its contribution and explore its current form.
Sociotechnical systems recognise the interaction between people and technology in workplaces. In the IS field, sociotechnical systems thinking was developed in the 1970s, drawing ideas from the work of the Tavistock Institute psychologists. They had noted that technological processes were embedded in larger social systems involving relationships between a variety of stakeholders. That insight shaped our understanding of the way computerisation produces effects in relation to the social context of the work place and guided professional attention to social as well as technological change.
Since the 1990s, sociotechnical thinking in academia has taken a conceptual turn and elaborated theoretical approaches for analysing IS phenomena that are mindful to avoid both technology and social determinism. Less clear is the presence of sociotechnical systems approaches in the current wave of IT innovation, including the dominance of social media and the ongoing development of machine intelligence, data analytics and the sharing gig economy.
The discussion will be anchored on the ideas of Frank Land, a pioneer of the sociotechnical systems approach, and will involve scholars influenced by his ideas.
Chrisanthi Avgerou, LSE
Atta Addo, LSE
Richard Baskerville, Georgia State University
Bob Galliers, Bentley University (distinguished emeritus)
Rudy Hirschheim, Louisiana State University
Frank Land, LSE (emeritus)
Claudia Loebbecke, University of Cologne
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