Practitioner Response to "Beyond Smokestacks and Silos: Open-Source, Web-Enabled Coordination in Organizations and Networks"
Gallenson, Ann C.
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The sociotechnical approach to designing organizations begins with the introduction in the 1950s of longwall coal mining, a set of new technologies designed to increase coal production, but it all too often suffered from individual, organizational, and social performance problems. The traditional social structure of small groups was replaced by specialized, fragmented, and mechanized jobs under direct supervisorial control. The engineering approach that had optimized the technology failed to meet expectations because it had ignored the role of social relationships. The researchers coined the term “joint optimization” to describe a critical design principle: optimizing only one component of the system (social or technical) risks introducing nonlinear, complex dynamics that may undermine production and well‐being. As sociotechnical theory became integrated into the open systems approach of general systems theory—becoming sociotechnical systems theory—it came to view organizations as bounded, purposive, open systems comprising interacting subsystems that are (more or less) in alignment with each other and with the larger social ecology (Badham, Clegg, and Wall 2001; Cummings and Srivastva 1977).
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2011.02407.x
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