Importance of socio-technical perspective in research and practice

A socio-technical perspective sees an organization as a combination of 2 components – a social and a technical one. The real pattern of behaviour in the organization is determined by how well these parts fit each other. While analysing management problems of getting things done by people, adequate consideration should be given to technology as well as informal and formal interactions of people.

Despite that a socio-technical perspective has been around for over a half century, it is often forgotten in the IS discourse today. Consequently, many “new approaches” appear to reflect on IS systems problems, such as modern IT systems poorly adjusted to the external or/and internal environment (e.g. market, organizational culture) of organizations in which they are (to be) deployed. We strongly believe that it is high time the social-technical perspective took its proper place in IS research, practice and teaching.

References

Mumford, M. (2006). The story of socio-technical design: reflections on its successes, failures and potential. Information Systems Journal, 16(4), 317–342.