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Managing Modern Sociotechnical Systems: New Perspectives on Human-Organization—Technological Integration in Complex and Dynamic Environments

  • Haftay H. Abraha
  • Jayantha P. Liyanage
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)

Abstract

Modern sociotechnical systems (SSs) are becoming increasingly advanced, complex, boundary-less, and technology-dominant systems that have major economic, societal and environmental implications. Digital technologies are enabling us to develop systems with various levels of complexities and interconnections involving different elements. This creates new ways of organizing work, new work processes, for instance: creating closer cooperation across organizational and geographical borders and this trend is likely to increase. Complexities are associated not only with the large scale hardware and software infrastructures, but also with the even more complex issues involved in human and organizational behaviours and characteristics. This implies that there are many hidden risks under the modern systems development and deployment process, and subsequently the potential for serious events are considerable. A major area for study in this context is the establishment of a seamless connection between the characteristics of the individual components (at micro-level) and the macro-behaviour of the complex SSs. Given the complexity of the systems involved, use of classical/traditional approaches (e.g. linear relations of causality) alone to understand the behaviour and performance of these systems are quite challenging, if not extremely limited in use. We need new perspectives to understand the behaviours and interactions in wider context, so that the new perspectives can capture the complex issues that influence Human-Organization-Technological (HOT) conditions within such systems, can emerge. This paper elaborates on an approach that can provide the basis for micro-macro integration to reduce vulnerabilities based on a better awareness (i.e. system thinking) taking into account the dynamic and complex context from a new perspective.

Keywords

Complex systems Human error Human-Organization-Technology Unwanted events Risk Safety incidents Sociotechnical system 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of StavangerStavangerNorway

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