Sociotechnical Systems and Management Styles Essay

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Sociotechnical Systems and Management Styles In today’s advanced technological workplace, companies are looking into several new management styles and concepts. Among them is a theory called sociotechnical systems (STS). This is a theory that has been around for about 50 years and is still being attempted for use today. Many managers along with one member of the STS founding team, Fred Emery, argue that STS is obsolete; other managers have implemented STS with great success. With this new style of management practice, several changes will have to take place. These changes along with several examples of both positive and negative effects will be examined throughout this essay.

To introduce the STS theory and let the reader
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Basically these principles 1. Scan the environment looking for influences on social and technological subsystems “Causation” 2. Implement effects to combat environmental changes “Optimization” and 3. Design the effects to achieve implementation “Design.” The extent of these efforts often result in complaints among many high level managers. Many managers wonder if all the required time will pay off. Skeptical managers will often turn aside from this style of management.

Is STS Obsolete (Practical)?

Sociotechnical systems have been around for a long time now. Conventional STS has been integrated into classroom instruction at the graduate level. While trying to do this, STS lost many of its unwritten detailed subject matter and has been made conceptually complicated as well as mathematically complex.3 Another problem that Fred Emery states in his article is the overselling of STS. The pressures for STS to work by itself have raised the theory at an extremely high standard waiting for pitfalls in the process. Steve Canbana in his article on participative design states, “Over the years it has become apparent that traditional socio-technical systems (STS) design contains a number of pitfalls that frequently have led to implementation failure or partial success.”4 A third issue lies in problems with

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