Socio-technical theory is gaining wide recognition. The term “Socio-technical system” was coined by E.Trist to describe his team’s work at the Tavistock Institute on the interrelatedness of environmental, social, and technical systems of organisations. The origins of socio-techncal systems date from the period after the second world war, E.Trist and F.Emery, two social scientists, pioneered the movement toward experimentation with alternative work re-designs, different forms of employee involvement, varied degrees of autonomy and responsibility in work teams, participative management orientations, and the development of learning systems, all with deep concerns regarding economic performance.
The concept of socio-technical system provides a link between the systems approach and a sub-division, sometimes adopted- the technology approach. Writers under the technology heading attempt to restrict generalisations about organizations and management, and emphasise the effects of varying technologies on organization structures, work-groups and individual performance and job satisfaction.
Features of Socio-Technical Theory
- The socio-technical systems approach of management views an organization as a combination of 2 systems – a social system and a technical system. the real pattern of behaviour in the organization is determined by the interaction of two.
- Social systems of the organisation s governed by social laws as well as by psychological forces.
- Technical systems consists of technical forces operating in the organization like physical setting of work, rules, procedures, etc.
- Due to interaction of social and technical systems technical aspects of the work are modified by social aspects. Thus organization of an organization situation within the framework of socio=technical system involves scrutinising of the specific technology used, the way n which patterns are organised, the formal structuring of interpersonal interactions and the informal pattern emerging in the work group.
- Social and technical systems interact. This interaction is important for organisational effectiveness.
- Organisation- governed by social laws as well psychological forces.
- Technical aspects of organisation modified by the social aspects.
Uses of Social-Technical Theory
- Organizational effectiveness depends on looking at people and their interactions and also at the technical environment in which they operate.
- Change in technology.
- Change in social interactions at workplace.
Limitations of Socio-Technical Theory
- Lack of total managerial view.
- Concentrate on factory or other production systems.
- No new contribution.
- People aware about the role of technology of the social systems of the workplace.