Socio-Technical Systems

“The STS work design is based on the premise that outcomes such as work group productivity and job satisfaction can be manipulated by jointly optimizing both the social and technical factors of the workplace. Further, STS embraces the strategic choice model. From this perspective organizational members within work groups have some agency of choice–adjusting, interpreting, and monitoring the technology and not the other way around. While the research idiom is action science, the reporting protocol is the case study,” (Aldridge, 2004). This is an interesting premise. There is some truth that productivity and job satisfaction can be manipulated but it depends upon what the intent behind the leaders who implement these technical and social game rules. It seems that technology plays a greater factor in to today’s marketplace because of the technological advances made over the last few years.

When I think of STS in my career I can relate to it with my work utilizing the Agile Software Development Life Cycle. This is a collaborative effort using technical and social contributions to accomplish development goals.  When a formulated system is not used the evidence is clear. Outcome is much more tangible and positive than when you are just playing it by ear. The concept of STS is dynamic and aspects of it can be found throughout many organizations today.



Aldridge, J.W. (2004). Information on Socio-technical systems. Socio-Technical Systems: Team Building Glossary. Retrieved August 7, 2014 from:


Leave a Comment

  1. LED501SVH says:

    STS (Socio-Technical System) is an approach to complex organizational work that recognizes the interaction between people and technology in the workplaces with the purpose to optimize collaboration, support and innovation (Little & Ray, 2005). Consequently, STS is used to increase productivity and job satisfaction by maintaining good communication and learning. This approach is a win-win system in which everyone (employees, stake holders, customers etc.) receives a benefit.
    In my current career I can relate to STS for Knowledge Sharing and Communication especially around IEP’s (Individualized Education Programs) for students with special needs. The planning and execution of IEP’s involve extensive collaboration, sharing of knowledge and communication between educators, parents and specialist. This collaboration contributes to establishing realistic goals for students as well as the implementation and support needed for students to accomplish their goals. When there is a lack of collaboration or a missing link of information the success of a student is at stake. The STS approach can be found throughout IEP’s process.
    Little, S., & Ray, T. (2005). Managing Knowledge. London: Sage Publications.

  2. Kaycie Hanlin says:

    STS refers to the joint optimization, where there is an achievement in both technical performance and quality in the employee’s work life. It proposes a plan for productivity and wellbeing within the organization. Different socio-technical systems are created and developed as society is changing. “It is people and not technology that is changing the way organizations share, transfer, and leverage knowledge presenting socio-technical concepts to a wider field of possibilities” (Aldridge, 2004). It seems as though technology is struggling to keep up with our demands as a society. STS continues to develop and adapt to the demands of our society as different systems fade out and new systems are created.

    Aldridge, J.W. (2004). Information on Socio-technical systems. Socio-Technical Systems: Team Building Glossary. Retrieved August 7, 2014 from:

  3. Billy Moua says:

    Socio-technical systems (STS) is an approach to complex organizational infrastructures and processes that emphasizes the interaction between people (social) and technology (technical elements) of an organization or society (Aldridge, 2004). The goal of STS is the achievement of both excellence in technical performance and quality in people’s work lives which ultimately lead to the emergence of productivity and wellbeing. It is through the interactions of social and technical factors that create successful organizational performance. This requires joint optimization or tandem social and technical systems that work well together. In today’s world the socio system has a tremendous expectation on the technical system to perform at levels that are above expectations. In addition, customization may be approaching saturation. Both need to work hand-in-hand to produce productivity and wellbeing.
    STS relates to my career in areas of reporting and data management of LIS systems. The initial input of work is by socio contribution in recreating data and addressing the goal of the system development. When the technical system does not have clear objectives or the expectation is beyond the technical performance, then issues arise and the society’s performance goals are lost. Consideration of the technical elements must be formulated with careful thought since technology can play a huge role in productivity and wellbeing of the system. This is a good example of how the complex interactions of people and technology play into each other.

  4. Seth Davidson says:

    Socio-technical systems (STS) designers made some assumptions in their design process. All organizations are: open systems and as such need to continuously renew and adapt to opportunities and demands in the environment (Helen, 2011). Organizations in today’s society are constantly changing and adapting to enhance their productivity with increase use of digital collaboration sites (Microsoft SharePoint, Cloud). In the organization I work in we have increased the use of collaboration tools like Adobe Breeze in order to save on costs incurred by having face to face meetings. We continue to enhance work and personal time balance by installing Cisco VPN software which allows us to work on a secure network from anywhere and increase work productivity at a covenant time.

  5. phillip wickham says:

    Socio technical systems are designed to be more acceptable to end users and enhance stakeholders return on investment. Socio-technical systems (STS) are social system activated by a technological system such as, Twitter and Facebook. Despite potential returns, many of these systems are not used or are not used for purposes to benefit the organization. In some cases, employees view socio-technical systems as a replacement for human contact. This is not always accurate. Often, STS creates employment opportunities, but in new, different, and emerging technology fields.

  6. Socio-Technical Systems are mechanisms used to formally communicate with people without making face-to-face contact with anyone. The technical system is comprised of components such as equipment, processes, procedures, and a physical arrangement. The social system includes people, their attitudes, individual values, styles, and relationships. STSs are social media websites and other forms of communications such as email and blogs. These systems can be used for what ever the person using the system wants to use it for. I believe businesses and corporations have a huge advantage over others who do not use this program because these organizations have the ability to advertise to anyone who has access to the Internet.

Leave a Comment