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Representing Socio-Technical Systems Options in the Development of New Forms of Work Organization

Abstract:

It is widely accepted that effective implementation of new technology into work organizations needs an integrative approach in which developments in both technical and social systems are considered. Furthermore, success depends upon the effective participation of significant stakeholders in this process. This article reviews the methods available for this purpose and concludes that a particular weakness is the methods that can be used to generate and review socio-technical system opportunities early in the development process. Whilst methods exist to support stakeholder participation at this stage, they need to represent future socio-technical opportunities if they are to make an effective contribution. This article presents the ORDIT (Organizational Requirements Definition for Information Technology Systems) methodology, which uses responsibility modelling as a basis for constructing socio-technical systems opportunities. The application of telemedicine in health care is presented as a case study to demonstrate how this method can be used to construct and evaluate socio-technical scenarios.

Socio-technical Systems Work Organisational Development Information Technology

Publication at Taylor and Francis Online

Eason K.D. Harker S.D.P. and Olphert C.W. (1996) Representing Socio-Technical Systems Options in the Development of New Forms of Work Organization. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 5(3) 399-420

DOI Link

Early Evaluation of the Organisational Implications of CSCW Systems

Evaluation of Computer Systems which Support Cooperative Work (CSCW)

Abstract:
Computer systems which support cooperative work will undoubtedly change the way people interact with one another in a working setting. In stimulating these changes, the CSCW system will be a force for organisational change. Over the past twenty years there has been a tradition of impact research, in which investigators have studied the impact computer-based information systems implemented within organisations have had upon those organisations. The results have been many and varied. Some studies show that computer systems lead to the centralisation of power, while others show decentralisation of power. At the level of the individual job there are studies which show the empowerment of the individual and the opposite: the creation of the “white collar assembly line.” A study from 1983 demonstrated both job enrichment and deskilling from two different computer systems in the same organisation. There is widespread agreement that there can be substantial change, but very little agreement on the form that it takes. We have argued elsewhere (Eason 1988) that the reason for these diverse results is that computer systems are not deterministic, and that they can be used to achieve many different organisational effects. There is an opportunity in the design and development process to plan the organisational outcomes and to achieve the impact that is desired by the members of the organisation.

Early Evaluation of the Organisational Implications of CSCW Systems Ken Eason

Springer Link to Article

Eason K.D. and Olphert C.W. (1996) Early evaluation of the organisational implications of CSCW Systems, In Thomas P. (ed) ‘CSCW Requirements and Evaluation, Springer-Verlag, London 75-89

Towards an Effective Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Process: Applying the Imagine Method in Context of Abu Dhabi’s Education Policy

Abstract:

Towards an Effective Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Process: Applying the Imagine Method in Context of Abu Dhabi’s Education Policy Simon BellThis paper is concerned with the many interleaving issues that emerge when engaging multiple stakeholders in decision-making. Whilst recognising the intrinsic value of group work and keeping in mind the numerous issues that obstruct group work (in- cluding multiple roles for participants, bias due to domination and distortion emerging from uneven group inputs), we applied the Imagine method to propose a new framework— the ‘Multiple Formation Consultation Framework’ (MFCF)—for organising effective multi-stakeholder consultations along the Policy Sciences Framework. Our proposed framework was applied in the context of education policy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, where 24 small group formations were tasked and assessed in a systemic manner. Evidence from the exercise suggests that: (1) when moving participants from heterogeneous to homogenous groups, the working of the groups became more focused and the outcomes gained greater clarity in terms of the thinking of group members. (2) Yet, when groups moved from homogenous formations to heterogeneous, they became more inquisitive and explored broader aspects of the tasks at hand. (3) A repeat of the process over 2-day period where different members of the groups experience both homogenous and heterogeneous formations back and forth (in order to capture the unique value emerging from each composition) have led to more efficient and effective working and outcomes of the groups.

Springer Link

Mahroum, S., Bell, S., Al-Saleh, Y. and Yassin, N. (2016) Towards an Effective Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Process: Applying the Imagine Method in Context of Abu Dhabi’s Education Policy. Systemic Practice and Action Research. 29, pp. 335 – 353. DOI 10.1007/s11213-016-9367-6

Rich Pictures: Sustainable Development and Stakeholders – The Benefits of Content Analysis

Abstract:

Rich Pictures: Sustainable Development and Stakeholders – The Benefits of Content Analysis Simon BellThis paper concerns the interpretation of pictures that stakeholders draw in order to help them structure and understand complex situations. The pictures in question are called Rich Pictures (RPs) and the matter at the heart of interpretation is insight drawn from eduction (drawing forth). Insights relate to stakeholders of all kinds, be they the individual, the group, the context in which the individual and the group find themselves, or the means whereby the context can be made more sustainable or improved. RP drawing, often as a collaborative, stakeholder exercise, is a powerful activity that has the capacity to break down barriers of lan- guage, education and culture. Drawing upon research with RPs from around the world and spanning 50 years of our combined practice, this paper demonstrates RPs’ utility, universal- ity and resilience. We maintain that RP drawing enriches problem solving and, in the long term, saves time and resources being expended on erroneous and/or superficial tasks.
However, the interpretation of RPs is still in its infancy. By use of processes derived from various forms of content analysis (CA) we argue that RPs can be applied as a powerful tool in a variety of policy fields. Conclusions for application are drawn and suggestions are made for further research relating to the clearer interpretation of RPs.

Wiley Online Link

Bell, Simon, Berg, Tessa, and Morse, Stephen. (2016) Rich Pictures: Sustainable Development and Stakeholders – The Benefits of Content Analysis. Sust. Dev., 24: 136–148. doi: 10.1002/sd.1614.