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Article
Publication date: 11 February 2019

Masike Malatji, Sune Von Solms and Annlizé Marnewick

This paper aims to identify and appropriately respond to any socio-technical gaps within organisational information and cybersecurity practices. This culminates in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify and appropriately respond to any socio-technical gaps within organisational information and cybersecurity practices. This culminates in the equal emphasis of both the social, technical and environmental factors affecting security practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The socio-technical systems theory was used to develop a conceptual process model for analysing organisational practices in terms of their social, technical and environmental influence. The conceptual process model was then applied to specifically analyse some selected information and cybersecurity frameworks. The outcome of this exercise culminated in the design of a socio-technical systems cybersecurity framework that can be applied to any new or existing information and cybersecurity solutions in the organisation. A framework parameter to help continuously monitor the mutual alignment of the social, technical and environmental dimensions of the socio-technical systems cybersecurity framework was also introduced.

Findings

The results indicate a positive application of the socio-technical systems theory to the information and cybersecurity domain. In particular, the application of the conceptual process model is able to successfully categorise the selected information and cybersecurity practices into either social, technical or environmental practices. However, the validation of the socio-technical systems cybersecurity framework requires time and continuous monitoring in a real-life environment.

Practical implications

This research is beneficial to chief security officers, risk managers, information technology managers, security professionals and academics. They will gain more knowledge and understanding about the need to highlight the equal importance of both the social, technical and environmental dimensions of information and cybersecurity. Further, the less emphasised dimension is posited to open an equal but mutual security vulnerability gap as the more emphasised dimension. Both dimensions must, therefore, equally and jointly be emphasised for optimal security performance in the organisation.

Originality/value

The application of socio-technical systems theory to the information and cybersecurity domain has not received much attention. In this regard, the research adds value to the information and cybersecurity studies where too much emphasis is placed on security software and hardware capabilities.

Details

Information & Computer Security, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4961

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2020

Laura Hosman and Martin Andrés Pérez Comisso

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have transformed the lives of many people around the world, yet billions remain unconnected. While many initiatives…

Abstract

Purpose

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have transformed the lives of many people around the world, yet billions remain unconnected. While many initiatives attempt to “connect the unconnected,” initiatives focused on access and skills-development alone will still fall short. Based on the authors’ experience with the SolarSPELL initiative, this study aims to propose using the concept of socio-technical awareness as a step forward in conceptualizing a more accurate picture of capabilities necessary to enable people to make meaningful use of the internet.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses an integrative literature review for the ideas related to the digital divide, digital inclusion and digital literacies, as well as the applied work of the authors in the SolarSPELL initiative, to develop the concept of socio-technical awareness, which is presented as a method for understanding empowered, meaningful internet use.

Findings

The argument is made that access, skills- and literacy-development are necessary but insufficient conditions for meaningful ICTs use. Accordingly, a third concept, socio-technical awareness, is introduced, and the case is made for including this concept in both application and measurement of meaningful use of ICTs.

Practical implications

The design of digital inclusion initiatives should focus on increasing socio-technical awareness to empower users to make meaningful use of digital technologies.

Originality/value

Taking a step further than most assessments of the digital divide or digital inclusion, this study proposes that to achieve meaningful internet use, people need access, requisite skills development and socio-technical awareness, to be able to make informed, empowered decisions about ICT use.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2001

Richard Badham, Karin Garrety and Christina Kirsch

The political nature of technology design and implementation is explicitly addressed in “human centred” projects to introduce technologies that support job enrichment…

Abstract

The political nature of technology design and implementation is explicitly addressed in “human centred” projects to introduce technologies that support job enrichment, group autonomy and industrial democracy. Yet the political meaning of such projects does not simply manifest itself in pure form from the methods employed or the intentions of the humanistic actors but, rather, from the complex configuration of these and other factors present in the design and implementation context. Illustrates this theme in an analysis of a case study human centred project. Argues that an improved understanding of the configurational politics surrounding such projects is not only an important research area but is also of practical significance in improving humanistic and other interventions in innovation processes in modern organisations.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2007

Terence Love and Trudi Cooper

This paper sets out to report on research by the authors into the development and application of four extensions to Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety (LoRV) that increase…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to report on research by the authors into the development and application of four extensions to Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety (LoRV) that increase its utility in the arena of unplanned changes in hegemonic control of designed complex socio‐technical systems/digital eco‐systems in the built environment that are structurally dynamic or emergent.

Design/methodology/approach

Research on which the paper is based focused on exploration of classical systems approaches to the design of complex socio‐technical systems in which ownership, power, control and management of structure and benefit generation and distribution are distributed, dynamic and multi‐constituent. Support for development of these four extensions to Ashby's Law comes from observation of four decades of socio‐technical systems development along with critical thinking that combined systems analysis theories with theories and findings from fields of hegemonic analysis, design research, management, management information systems, behaviour in organisations and sociology.

Findings

The paper outlines application of four new extensions to LoRV in relation to unplanned changes in distributions of power, ownership, control, benefit generation and benefit distribution in complex socio‐technical systems/digital eco‐systems in the built environment that are emergent or have changing structures. Three of these extensions have been outlined earlier in relation to the design of learning object‐based e‐learning systems. The fourth extension builds on these via application of Coasian analysis. The paper also describes a suite of five guidelines to assist with the design of complex socio‐technical systems derived from the four extensions to Ashby.

Research limitations/implications

The four extensions of Ashby's Law that underpin the design guidelines in this paper are deduced from observation and critical analysis rather than being “proven” empirically. They are derived from observation of the behaviour of real‐world complex systems together with critical analytical thinking that integrated theory and research findings from a range of disciplines where each informs understanding of hegemonic aspects of emergent complex socio‐technical systems involving multiple, changing constituencies, and evolving system structures.

Practical implications

A design method is derived comprising five design guidelines for use in pre‐design and design of complex socio‐technical systems/digital eco‐systems in the built environment.

Originality/value

The paper describes the application of four new extensions to LoRV that extend the analytical role of Ashby's Law in diagnosis of changes in power relations and unintended design outcomes from changes in the generation and control of variety in complex, multi‐layered and hierarchical socio‐technical systems that have multiple stakeholders and constituencies. From these, a suite of five new design guidelines is proposed.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1994

Bill Richardson

Examines socio‐technical disasters, particularly during the 1980s and1990s, listing the organizational situations in which they occur andsingling out Hillsborough…

Abstract

Examines socio‐technical disasters, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, listing the organizational situations in which they occur and singling out Hillsborough (football) and Kesworth (aeroplane) for detailed treatment. Deals with various aspects of the socio‐technical disaster: the disaster sequence; signals and triggers; the extensive damage to human life and the physical environment; the large economic and social costs; responses to and resolution of crises, among others. After discussing the simple and complex causes of socio‐technical disasters, urges management to learn from past disasters and make organizational changes. Concludes that this type of disaster will continue in the 1990s in ordinary organizations which are potentially socio‐technically disaster‐prone.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 4 August 2020

Donghee Shin and Mohammed Ibahrine

With the conceptualization of the blockchain as a socio-technical assemblage, this study aims to critically examine the blockchain initiatives in Korea in terms of the…

Abstract

Purpose

With the conceptualization of the blockchain as a socio-technical assemblage, this study aims to critically examine the blockchain initiatives in Korea in terms of the opportunities, risks and challenges embedded in their development.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper analyzes blockchain design and development from socioecological views: social, technological and cultural phenomena that represent the strategic interaction among people, technology and society. The qualitative data were collected from a variety of sources and diverse means.

Findings

The results imply that blockchain needs a close socio-technical examination to avoid simplistic assumptions of its promises and pitfalls. The development of blockchains in Korea will need to consider a range of socio-technical issues to facilitate the best outcomes for blockchain in society.

Research limitations/implications

Despite proactive drives, new risks, such as security, privacy and transparency, emerge as critical concerns of the social implications of the blockchain and their impact on the new digital environment. Questions are raised as to how to govern blockchains, and how to address the unexpected outcomes that such a policy choice may have on society and industry.

Originality/value

The sociopolitical implications of Korean blockchains are examined to identify key concerns and issues as the country progresses rapidly toward a blockchain-driven society.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2016

Pernilla Lindskog, Annika Vänje, Åsa Törnkvist and Jörgen Eklund

– This paper aims to identify conditions affecting sustainability of Lean implementations in Swedish psychiatric healthcare, from a socio-technical perspective.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify conditions affecting sustainability of Lean implementations in Swedish psychiatric healthcare, from a socio-technical perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Longitudinal focus group interviews were conducted with 24 first-line managers within Swedish psychiatric healthcare. The analysis was made using Cherns’ ten socio-technical principles and a framework for sustainable development work in healthcare.

Findings

The most critical socio-technical principles for a sustainable Lean implementation were boundary location; power and authority; and compatibility. At hospital level, socio-technical principles were inhibited by the weak ownership of the Lean implementation. However, strong ownership at division level meant the same principles were supported. Unclear goals made follow-ups difficult which had negative effects on the learning processes in the Lean implementation. The role and responsibility of first-line managers were unclear in that they perceived they lacked power and authority resulting in negative effects on the participation – an important sustainability concept.

Originality/value

Empirically based papers assessing Lean implementations in psychiatry are rare. This study is a contribution to the research area of sustainable Lean implementations in healthcare. The practical implication of this study is that decision makers, senior managers, first-line managers and psychiatrists can be supported in reaching sustainable implementations of Lean.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2015

B. Ramaseshan, Russel Philip Kingshott and Alisha Stein

Technological advances and new business models have contributed to the usage of self-service technology (SST) by firms. As SST continues to create organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

Technological advances and new business models have contributed to the usage of self-service technology (SST) by firms. As SST continues to create organizational efficiencies, firms have jumped on the bandwagon without considering their own readiness to use SST. To date, there has been no systematic attempt to develop a valid scale of firm SST readiness and assess its influence on firm performance. The purpose of this paper is to present and validate a multidimensional firm SST readiness scale.

Design/methodology/approach

A series of studies was conducted for the development and validation of the firm SST readiness scale. Study 1 included generating items from semi-structured interviews with managers and an extensive literature review. Study 2 comprised item reduction and identifying the dimensionality of the scale through exploratory factor analysis (n=177 participants from service organizations). The reliability and validity of the scale were tested in Study 3 by performing confirmatory factor analysis using data obtained from managers of service organizations in the USA (n=257). Study 4 measured the predictive validity of the firm SST readiness instrument using several structural models.

Findings

This paper proposes a new multidimensional construct labelled “firm SST readiness”, consisting of four dimensions: managerial acquiescence, customer alignment, employee engagement, and channel integration. The predictive validity of the new scale on two key firm outcome variables: customer value and firm performance is also demonstrated.

Originality/value

This is the first study to provide a comprehensive, psychometrically sound, and operationally valid measure of firm SST readiness.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2017

Dong-Hee Shin and Yong Jin Park

This study aims to conduct socio-technical analysis of the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem and industry, including such factors as market growth and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to conduct socio-technical analysis of the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem and industry, including such factors as market growth and user experiences, policy and the impact of IoT on various areas.

Design/methodology/approach

By applying a multi-level socio-technical framework to IoT in South Korea, this study seeks an ecological understanding of how IoT will evolve and stabilize in a smart environment.

Findings

The study shows the values influencing potential users’ adoption of IoT by integrating cognitive motivations and user values as primary determining factors. Along with user modeling, the findings reveal the challenges of designing, deploying and sustaining the diverse components of IoT, and provides a snapshot of Korea’s current approach to meeting these challenges.

Originality/value

The study’s findings offer a contextualized socio-technical analysis of IoT, providing insight into its challenges and opportunities. This insight helps to conceptualize how IoT can be designed and situated within human-centered contexts.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

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Article
Publication date: 7 January 2014

Andrea J. Hester

This paper aims to examine organizational information systems based on Web 2.0 technology as socio-technical systems that involve interacting relationships among actors…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine organizational information systems based on Web 2.0 technology as socio-technical systems that involve interacting relationships among actors, structure, tasks and technology. Alignment within the relationships may facilitate increased technology use; however, gaps in alignment may impede technology use and result in poor performance or system failure. The technology examined is an organizational wiki used for collaborative knowledge management.

Design/methodology/approach

Results of a survey administered to employees of an organization providing cloud computing services are presented. The research model depicts the socio-technical component relationships and their influence on use of the wiki. Hierarchical latent variable modelling is used to operationalize the six main constructs. Hypotheses propose that as alignment of a relationship increases, wiki use increases. The partial least squares (PLS) method is used to examine the hypotheses.

Findings

Based on the results, increased perceptions of alignment among technology and structure increase wiki use. Further analysis indicates that low usage may be linked to gaps in alignment. Many respondents with lower usage scores also indicated “low alignment” among actor-task, actor-technology, and task-structure.

Research limitations/implications

The sample size is rather small; however, results may give an indication as to the appropriateness of dimensions chosen to represent the alignment relationships. Socio-technical systems theory (STS) is often utilized in qualitative studies. This paper introduces a measurement instrument designed to evaluate STS through quantitative analysis.

Practical implications

User acceptance and change management continue to be important topics for both researchers and practitioners. The model proposed here provides measures that may reveal predictive indicators for increased information system use. Alternatively, practitioners may be able to utilize a diagnostic tool as presented here to assess underlying factors that may be impeding effective technology utilization.

Originality/value

The paper presents a diagnostic tool that may help management to better uncover misaligned relationships leading to underutilization of technology. Practical advice and guidelines are provided allowing for a plan to rectify the situation and improve technology usage and performance outcomes.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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