Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


In the paper the major sources of influence on the socio-technical perspective are identified and two socia-technical approaches are compared, namely the Tavistock approach and the ETHICS method developed by Mumford. The Tavistock approach has provided crucial contributions at the work system level, particularly principles for socio-technical design and models for job design (how to design jobs as well as criteria for job design). The ETHICS method aims to apply socia-technical thinking to the design of computer assisted work. ETHICS draws heavily on the Tavistock approach. In addition, the framework for job satisfaction is influenced by the Parsonian pattern variables. A series of detailed models of ETHICS has been put forward. In the early detailed versions of ETHICS participation was not considered. The method has, however, become increasingly participative. Finally, there are important differences in how the Tavistock approach and the ETHICS method conceputalizes the social and the technical parts of a socia-technical system. Also they differ in terms of integrating the social and technical parts into a socia-technical system.