Socio-Technical Systems - OpenStax CNX

Socio-Technical Systems - OpenStax CNX

Socio-Technical Systems Technology Human Capabilities William J. Frey College of Business Administration University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Definition: Socio-Technical System Socio-Technical System an intellectual tool to help us recognize patterns in the way technology is used and produced (Huff, What is a Socio-Technical System? from Computing Cases) Socio-Technical systems provide a tool to uncover the different environments in which business activity takes place and to articulate how these constrain and enable different business practices. 1. STS as an environment Socio-Technical systems provide a tool to uncover the different environments in which business activity takes place and to articulate how these constrain and enable different business practices. Instrumenting action

enabling us to do new things magnifying our ability to do old things Constraining or determining action we delegate actions and responsibility to technical artefacts difficulty controlling complex systems Complexity constrains as well as enables Tightly coupled systems difficult to contain a failure by isolation; failures tend to cascade throughout the system a tightly coupled work-study relation breaks down when university changes a Monday to a Tuesday Non-linear causality actions ripple throughout the system producing changes/effects that are difficult to predict no exams in the last week of classes prevents teachers and students from leaving early (=intended effects) but it also leads to stacking up exams in the penultimate week 2. STS as System STSs are Systems A whole of interrelated parts that are related to

one another and interact with one another Requires systematic thinking: actions feedback on the agent the distinction between the agent (actor) and the objects targeted by agents (technical artifacts) begins to break down as artifacts the environment or surroundings of action also feedback on the actor by constraining and enabling certain directions of action Some examples Prohibiting exams during the last week of the semester Goal: Prevent teachers and students from ending the semester early Actual Unintended results: Exams stack up in penultimate week of the semester Certain pedagogical approaches are constrained while others are enabled Reflective and summative activities discouraged Comprehensive, content based exams are imposed Changing schedule to respond to holidays

Creating conflicts for students who have attempted to coordinate working and class schedules 3. STSs and their sub-environments A STS can be divided into different parts or components that function as sub-environments hardware, software, physical surroundings, stakeholders, procedures, laws, and information systems. constrain and enable activities individually and collectively Think about how the physical environment of the classroom embodies distinct pedagogical styles How classrooms constrain and enable Technologically enhanced Technologically deprived Teacher Centered Room 236. Teacher has data display projector, computer, smart board,

wireless keyboard, and mouse Student Centered Different computer stations distributed throughout classroom. No clear teacher stage and student receiving areas. Maybe a central discussion zone but information stations where students go to solve specific problems Traditional classroom. Chairs and tables arranged Chairs arranged in rows to in circle to promote maximize control and discussion. Distinction discipline. Clear separation between teacher and of teacher and student student zones breaks zones down.

4. STS embody values moral values (justice, responsibility, respect, trust, and integrity) non-moral values (efficiency, satisfaction, productivity, effectiveness, and profitability). values can be located in one or more of the system components. Often these values conflict with one another causing the system to change. Example of conflict from university Increasing tuition to cover cost increases creates distributive justice problems for students from poorer families From Ethics of Teamwork, you learned that values can be designed into a STS through Discovery discover the values that are relevant to, inspire, or inform a given design project Translation embodying or expressingvalues in system design. Translation is further divided into operationalization, which involves defining or articulating values in concrete terms, and implementation which involves specifying corresponding design features

Verification designers assess to what extent they have implemented target values in a given system. [M]ay include internal testing among the design team, user testing in controlled environments, formal and informal interviews and surveys, the use of prototypes, traditional quality assurance measures such as automated and regression-oriented testing, and more Flanagan, Howe, and Nissenbaum, Embodying Values in Technology in Information Technology and Moral Philosophy, van den Hoven and Weckert. 5. STSs change, tracing out a trajectory STSs change and this change traces out a path or trajectory. The normative challenge of STS analysis is to find the trajectory of STS change and work to make it as value positive and value realizing as possible. Value positive trajectory? Resolve value conflicts within system Resolve value conflicts between different STSs Value negative trajectory? Techno-Socio Sensitivity

ResponDescription Module sibility Skill Techno-socio critical Socio-technical sensitivity awareness of the Systems way technology 1. Different environments Socio-Technical affects society constrain and enable Systems in and the way activity. Professional 2.System of distinguishable Decision Making social forces in but interrelated and (m14025 from turn affect the interacting parts. evolution of Connexions) 3. Embody / express moral technology

and non-moral values. Responsible Choice for Appropriate Technology (m43922) CE Harris, (2008), The good engineer: Giving virtue its due in engineering ethics, Science and Engineering Ethics, 14(2): 153-164. Activities Identifying subenvironments How each constrains activity How each enables or instruments activity Value

vulnerabilities and conflicts 4. Normative objective = tracing out a value positive Plot out system path or trajectory of trajectories or change. paths of change Technology, technical artifacts, social objects, natural objects Distinctions Artifacts: objects that are not found in nature but are made, designed, and created by humans Social Artifacts: play a role in ruling the behavior of humans, their natural cooperation and the relationships between humans and social institutions Vermaas 11 laws, government, state, marriage, driving license, traffic laws, currency (money), organizations (corporations), contracts (including social contracts) Artistic artifacts: works of art created for enjoyment and beauty Technical artifacts: material objects that have been deliberately produced by

humans in order to fulfill some kind of practical function. Vermaas, 5 technical function physical composition instructions for use (use or user guide) Technology: the knowledge and skill that goes into the making of technical artifacts Applied science Craft and skill (handed down from generation to generation) Engineering? Hypothesis 1 Society determines technology SCOT argues that technologies pass through three stages: interpretive flexibility, closing of interpretive flexibility, and the emergence of the technical black box. From Penny Farthing bicycle to modern design (based on Lawson bicycle) Typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard Pinch and Bijker (Social Construction of Technology) Hypothesis 2

Technology determines society Winner and Perrow Complexity (manifest and latent) tightly coupled systemsdifficult to control because it is impossible to isolate failures non-linear causalityeffects of acts ripple throughout system; non-linearity makes it difficult to predict the consequences of actions Reverse Adaptation Because complex technologies redefine needs (and values), we are forced to adapt ourselves (and our needs) to them. Technological Imperative Technologies transform and redefine human needs. Machine needs become imperative and trump human needs. Neutrality Thesis from a moral point of view a technical artifact is a neutral instrument that can only be put to good or bad useused for morally good or bad ends, when it falls into the hands of human beings. (Vermaas 16) Guns dont kill people; people kill people.

At stakeWho is responsible for harms produced by the use or abuse of technology: the user or the designer? Value-Laden Thesis Values can be designed into technical artifacts Howe, Flanagan, Nissenbaum Value Discovery, Value Translation (operationalization and implementation) and Value Verification Value Sensitive Design Oosterlaken: Zooming in and Zooming out Zooming inallows us to see the specific features or design details of technical artifacts; zooming outallows us to see how exactly technical artifacts are embedded in broader sociotechnical networks and practices. Flanagan, Howe, and Nissenbaum, Embodying Values in Technology in Information Technology and Moral Philosophy, van den Hoven and Weckert. (See Taking a Capability Approach to Technology and Its Design: A Philosophical Exploration, Introduction, 14. Simon Stevin Series in the Ethics of Technology). (See Taking a Critical Approach to Technology and Its Design 13 (table) and 14.)

Again, designers can design value into a technology Discovery discover the values that are relevant to, inspire, or inform a given design project Translation embodying or expressingvalues in system design. Translation is further divided into operationalization, which involves defining or articulating values in concrete terms, and implementation which involves specifying corresponding design features Verification designers assess to what extent they have implemented target values in a given system. [M]ay include internal testing among the design team, user testing in controlled environments, formal and informal interviews and surveys, the use of prototypes, traditional quality assurance measures such as automated and regression-oriented testing, and more Flanagan, Howe, and Nissenbaum, Embodying Values in Technology in Information Technology and Moral Philosophy, van den Hoven and Weckert. The ontology of a technical artifact Technical artifacts are relational, that is, they must be understood in relation to different contexts Social context: technical artifact must be unpacked in terms of the use guide

But users can always develop procedures that circumvent (work around) the guide STS: including laws (social artifacts), procedures, other technical artifacts, social context, information and information systems, economies 1. Summarize Your Case/Article Summarize the article or summarize the literature you have consulted The technology choice case Your own case Give the story How did the project originate? Was it successful? Where did it take place? 2. Describe your Technology Classify it as a social, aesthetic, or technical artifact Like the clock in Freys office, it can be more than one

What does it do when it is fully functioning? What is its technical function? What is its physical composition? (Materials, ect.) What are its instructions for use (User manualPut the paper in the typewriter, center it, set the margin bell, etc.) 3. Do a Socio-Technical Analysis Identify the key sub-environments hardware, software, physical surroundings, stakeholder, procedures, laws, markets, information Identify key value issues such as value conflicts Moral Values: justice, responsibility, respect, trust, and integrity Non-Moral Values: efficiency, effectiveness, profitability Are there any value conflicts, value vulnerabilities or potential harms? Summarize this with a Socio Technical System Table

Like this one Technology Software Physical Surroundngs Stakeholders Procedures Laws (univ Information regs) systems Classroom Computers Microsoft Office (Social Networking Media)

Describe classroom and show how constrains interaction Teacher, your group members, you, other teachers, other classmates Give one of your procedures for value realization Rules on research

misconduct Smart Board Data Display Projector Internet Connection Google Documents Gantt Charts (Holding discussions with more than three) Your boss (if you have a job outside of

the univ) Matricula (Does this procedure embody or frustrate justice?) Crazy Calendar (changing MWF to TTh; No exams in last week) How your group assembles dispersed information Transferring information

across STSs Informed Consent (providing info to others) 4. Discuss your technology and case using critieria of appropriate technology such as Ecologically sound Low-cost Low-maintenance Labor intensive Energy efficient Simple, efficient,

non-violent Oosterlaken et al on Appropriate Technology Conducive to decentralization Compatible with laws of ecology Makes use of modern knowledge Gentle in the use of resources Serves the human person Production by the masses 5. Evaluate your technology using the Capability Approach Does your technical artifact serve as a conversion factor that helps individuals turn capabilities into functionings? What environmental/STS features stand

in the way of the realization of the capabilities you have chosen? Is your technical artifact a personal, social, or environmental conversion factor? Capabilities Approach of Sen and Nussbaum William Frey ADEM Capabilities Approach help answer the question, What is this person able to do or be? Substantial freedoms, causally interrelated opportunities to choose and act. They are not just abilities residing inside a person but also freedoms or opportunities created by a combination of personal abilities and the political, social, and economic environment. Paradigm Shift Replace view that these communities are deficient (have needs) with view that communities are repositories of capabilities and resources that can be engaged.

Martha Nussbaum. Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011, 20, 33-34. Conversion Factors Importance of realizing capabilities Making real the human potentials of individuals is an essential part of happiness and wellbeing In language of Capabilities Approach, this is turning capabilities into functionings Means that realize capabilities are called conversion factors: private, social, environmental More on conversion factors Personal Metabolism, physical condition, sex, reading skills, gender, race, caste Social Public policies, social norms, practices that unfairly discriminate, societal hierarchies, power relations related to class or gender, race, caste. Environmental Physical or built environment, climate, pollution, proneness to

earthquakes, presence or absence of seas or oceans Robeyns, Ingrid, "The Capability Approach", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = . Create the background conditions where people are empowered to exercise their basic capabilities Life Sense, Imagination, Thought Affiliation Bodily Health Emotion Other Species

Bodily Integrity Practical Reason Play Control over ones environment Types of Capabilities Basic Capabilities Life Bodily health Bodily integrity Cognitive Capabilities Senses / imagination / thought Emotions (not having ones emotional development blighted by fear and anxiety) practical reason (liberty of conscience and religious observance) Types of Capabilities Social or Out-reaching Capabilities

Affiliations live with and toward others, to recognize and show concern for other human beings, to engage in various forms of social interaction; to be able to imagine the situation of another(freedom of assembly and speech) Having the social bases of self-respect and nonhumiliation; being able to be treated as a dignified being whose worth is equal to that of others (nondiscrimination) Other Species Being able to live with concern for and in relation to animals, plants, and the world of nature. Types of Capabilities Agent Capabilities Play Control over ones environment Political. Being able to participate effectively in political choices that govern ones life; having the right of political participation, protections of free speech and association. Material. Being able to hold property (both land and movable goods),

and having property rights on an equal basis with others; having the right to seek employment on an equal basis with others; having the freedom from unwarranted search and seizure. In work being able to work as a human being, exercising practical reason and entering into meaningful relationships of mutual recognition with other workers Use these Capabilities to assess your technical artifact Artifact / Conversion Factor OLPC (XO Laptops) Capability Factors that constrain and enable Sense, Imagination, Thought (education) versus Play Classroom environment and teaching approach embedded in

technology Waste for Life (Hot Press) Other species (natural environment) versus Control over Ones Environment (employment) Agricultural practices and local climate (growing natural fibers); Availability of waste products Aprovecho (Wood Stoves) Other species (deforestation) versus Bodily Health (children suffering from inhaling indoor smokes) Efficiently burning stoves, availability of wood, locally available food and cooking styles Amish

Sense, Imagination, Thought (religious practices) versus Control Over Environment (autonomy from English) Diary Practices; Surrounding communities and laws; Property Practices; Rumspringa Airplane Cockpits Practical Reason (life plan realization) versus Control Over Environment and Bodily Health/Movement Social and legislative means; NGOs and other womens support groups; industrial-military complex Podcasts to Zimbabwe Control Over ones Environment;

Affiliation Information needs; animal husbandry and agricultural practices; local markets Responsible Technological Choice AT Case Pivot to PR One Laptop Per Child Laptops to Teachers Removing gender bias from airplane cockpit design Uchangi Dam (eng as honest broker) Frameworks Ecologically sound Low-cost

Removing social injustice from Low-maintenance gas pipeline design Labor intensive Engineers as Honest Brokers in PR Energy efficient Energy Debates Simple, efficient, nonviolent Amish (exercise of technological choice) ViequesAre windmills an appropriate or intermediate technology for Vieques? Values in technology fit those embedded in STS Aprovecho Case (NGO designs and tests wood-burning cooking stoves) Are wood-burning stoves an appropriate technology?

Is there a need for these stoves in PR? Would PR be a good regional center for testing stoves? Technology serves as conversion factor in the conversion of capabilities into functionings Waste for Life (Press that makes building materials out of waste products) Using STS analysis to explain difference between Lesotho success and Buenos Aires failure Mindsets or Mental Models Paternalism and other unquestioned assumptions What is a mindset or mental model? A framework that structures, orders, and filters

experience Mind sets (or mental models) are for the most part good But because they filter, they leave things out Werhane: resulting mindsets or mental models are incomplete, and sometimes distorted, narrow, and singleframed, and often turn into biased ways of perceiving, organizing and learning. (Alleviating Poverty, 46) Because something does not make it through our mind sets, we think it unimportant Paternalism Divides the world into developed and underdeveloped Developed is superior to the underdeveloped Responsibility of developed is to impose its technology, social forms, economic systems, and political views on the undeveloped Werhane: encapsulates the poor as passive recipients rather than active determinants of their own futures. (Alleviating Poverty, 45) Generalization Bias Closely related to bias of common sense and bias of conceptualism

We ignore particulars (information special to a region) and reduce the remote and distant to the familiar and local Examples: Children are not mature enough to have/use banks Women in impoverished circumstances cannot pay back micro loans Individuals in impoverished nations, who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid, are there because they lack crucial skills or are handicapped Mind Sets from Bleak House Refusing to adopt your mind to those differently situated Evaluator not participant point of view Heaters in PR post offices Using Texas highway codes for building highway 10 through the middle of PR Not addressing other cultures from suitable points of view Attitude toward other cultures is elitist, hierarchical, and unidimensional rather than collegial, participatory, cooperative, and democratis

Mind Sets from Bleak House Not paying attention to matters of the heart emotions do not enter into the equation care, compassion, hope, and humility are not of central concern Good intentions alone are enough XO laptops are designed with the best of intentions so the governments of developing nations should accept them Playpumps (kids play on the merry-go-round and water gets pumped into a storage tank) cant go wrong Unquestioned Assumptions Assumption Mental Model OLPC (XO Laptops) Children learn through inquirybased and self-directed learning. Good Intentions alone are not enough; Research Bias: Theory prevents concrete observation

Waste for Life (Hot Press) A technology is neutral and can be integrated into different STSs with similar results. Neutrality Thesis Aprovecho (Wood Stoves) A stove appropriate for underdeveloped countries can be developed in the lab. Addressing minds different situated; Cultures from suitable points of view; Paternalism ( but reverse or Inverse Peace Corps helped matters) Amish The Amish have abandoned

technology for a primitive lifestyle. Paternalism; Generalization Bias; Addressing minds differently situated Airplane Cockpits Women are physically and emotionally incapable of flying airplanes. Gender Bias (Gender differences form basis of value hierarchy) Podcasts to Zimbabwe Podcasts are value neutral tools that can be integrated into a STS with no surprises. Neutrality Thesis Application

Duchity Haiti Concept Description Question posed from concept relative to development Information from survey and visits relative to concept Information challenges: focus for more info-gathering activities Capabilities

Approach [S]ubstantial freedoms, a set of (causally) interrelated opportunities to choose and act. [These] are not just abilities residing inside a person but also freedoms or opportunities created by a combination of personal abilities and the political, social, and economic environment. (Nussbaum) What are the pertinent capabilities affected by electricity availability and use? Can electricity play the role

of a conversion factor here? Practical Reasoning: means of realizing life plans and aspirations Affiliations: (economic and social) Control over environment: (unemployment and environmental degradation) Survey data also indicates that predominant occupations are

business/merchant and farming. It also establishes a strong interest in the availability of electricity for carrying out business/market and agricultural activities. It indicates a low level of interesting in using electricity to run entertainment devices like TVs, computers, and radios More data required both on how electricity would be used and how electricity stands in relation to other energy generation alternatives. One interesting problem. Could

computers based on the OLPC model play a greater, and positive role in education. Electricity, thus, could serve as a conversion factor in realizing educational capabilities such as emotion and sensation, imagination, and thought. Hardware / Software Physical Surroundings People, Groups, & Roles Procedures

Laws Cultural Matters Diesel Generator Mountains (stripped and unstripped of vegetation) School: (natural lighting, benches, and blackboards) Orphanage YouthHaiti Global Initiatives (Rotary Club,

UNICEF, etc.) Measuring water flow Using/Repairing generator Measuring water fall Making Charcoal Eng Codes (Parish will not fund rebuilding school in Pleasance) Regulating the generation of electricity (public, private, utility)

French Colonialism Electricity Wiring (inside and outside) Individual Generators NSF UPRM (land grant university) Computers? Cell Phones? Transportation technology Earthquake and Tsunami Zones Highways (paved,

unpaved) Universities Primary and Secondary Schools Governments (international context) (inspecting new school) Pedagogical Approaches (parochial nonparochial) Student Assessment Environment al standards and enforcement Land use

Language: French and Creole Education in Duchity 1. Martha Nussbaum. Frontiers in Justice: Disabilities, Nationalities, Species Membership. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2006. 2. Nussbaum, Martha C. Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011: 20, 33-34. 3. Amartya Sen. Development as Freedom. Alfred D. Knopf, INC, 1999. 4. Robeyns, Ingrid, "The Capability Approach", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = entries/capability-approach. Accessed March 12, 2012. 5. Werhane, P., S.P. Kelley, L.P. Hartmen, D.J. Moberg. Allievating Poverty through Profitable Partnerships: Globalization, Markets and Economic Well-Being, Routledge, 2010: 21, 26-7, 75-85, 91. 6. Oosterlaken and J. van den Hoven (eds.), The Capability Approach, Technology and Design, Philosophy of Engineering

and Technology 5, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-3879-9_7, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012 1. Perrow, C. (1984). Normal Accidents: Living With High-Risk Technologies. Basic Books. 2. Vermaas, Kroes, Poel, Franssen, Houkes. (2011) A Philosophy of Technology: From Technical Artefacts to Sociotechnical Systems. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. 3. Pinch, T.J. and Bijker, W. (2009). The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts. In Technology and Society: Building Our Sociotechnical Future, Johnson, D.G. and Wetmore, J.M., (Eds.). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press: 107-139. 4. Hickman, L. (1990). John Deweys Pragmatic Technology. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press: 140-153. 5. M. Flanagan, D. Howe, and H. Nissenbaum, Embodying Values in Technology: Theory and Practice, in Information Technology and Moral Philosophy, Jeroen van den Hoven and John Weckert, Eds. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 322-353. 6. Harris, Charles. (2008). The Good Engineer: Giving Virtue its Due in Engineering Ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics, 14: 153-164. 7. Huff, C. and Finholt, T. (1994). Social Issues In Computing: Putting Computing in its Place. New York: McGraw-Hill. 8. Wanda J. Orlikowski. Using Technology and Constituting Structures: A Practice Lens for Studying Technology in Organizations. ORGANIZATION

SCIENCE, 2000 INFORMS. Vol. 11, No. 4, JulyAugust 2000, pp. 404428 1. Roopali Phadke. Peoples Science in Action: The Politics of Protest and Knowledge Brokering in India. In Technology and Society, Johnson and Wetmore eds. MIT Press, 2009, 499-513. 2. Weber, Rachel N. "Manufacturing Gender in Commercial and Military Cockpit Design." Science, Technology, and Human Values, Vol. 22, No. 2. (Spring, 1997), pp. 235-253. Tue Jan 2 16:14:06 2007 3. Jamison Wetmore. Amish Technology: Reinforcing Values and Building Community in Technology and Society, eds. Johnson and Wetmore. 2009, MIT Press: 298-318 4. Burkhard Bilger. (2009) Hearth Surgery: The quest for a stove that can serve the world. The New Yorker Digital Edition, Dec 21, 2009. 5. Kenneth L. Kraemer, Jason Dedrick, and Prakul Sharma. "One Laptop Per Child: Vision versus Reality." Communications of the ACM. June 2009, Vol. 52, No. 6: 66-73 6. C. Baillie, E. Feinblatt, T. Thamae, and E. Berrington. (2010). Needs and Feasibility: A Guide for Engineers in Community Projects--The Case for Waste for Life. Morgan and Claypool. Jeopardy and Technological Choice Responsible choice for appropriate technology

Jeopardy STS IM Jeopardy Socio Technical Systems (with categories on capabilities and markets) Technology Choice Cases (OLPC, Amish, Uchangi Dam, Airplane Cockpits) Tech Choice Cases (Aprovecho, Waste for Life, Human Capabilities)

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