March 2018
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Category: Community development, Social Problem, environment

Sociotechnical systems approach for sustainable community development

The term sociotechnical systems (STS) was coined in the 1960s by Eric Trist and Fred Emery, who were working as consultants at the Tavistock Institute in London. The STS was used in complex organisational work design which consider the interactive relationship between people and technology. Central principles of sociotechnical theory were elaborated in seminal paper of Eric Trist and Ken Bamforth in 1951 (Trist, E., and Bamforth, W., Some Social and Psychological Consequences of the Long Wall Method of Coal-Getting, ín: Human Relations, Vol. 4, 3-38, 1951).
Conceptually STS looks into the social aspects of people and community and technical aspects of machines and technology. If we consider community as a functional and organisational unit of society, then sociotechnical can refers to interrelationship of social and technical aspects of a community.
From system theory perspective, we can look at sociotechnical system as optimised integrated system with a shared emphasis on sustainable achievement of social and technical performance of the community. Sociotechnical theory considers groups (or in this case communites) as the primary functional unity and not the individual. It pays particular attention to internal supervision and leadership at the level of the community and refers to it as “responsible autonomy”. Community structure and governing principle becomes important and simple function of individual team members are not the only criteria of community success. Responsible autonomy helps to design a more equal community and prevent the “silo-thinking” and “stovepipe” neologisms of capitalistic management theory. Further harmonical adaptation of technology by community can bring sustainable evolution of community to a more empowered and modern society.

I am working on this theory in The Bihar Project and will be writing more in coming days. Your comments will help me to give a deep thinking, so help me with your comments…


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