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Contextual inquiry and socio-technical practice

Bednar, Peter LU and Welch, Christine (2014) In Kybernetes 43(9/10).
Abstract
Purpose: During discussions at the ASC 2013 Conference, we were stimulated to consider acting,learning and understanding in the context of organizational change, and in particular the relationship between organizational actors and external analysts. This article therefore seeks to review from a cybernetic perspective how a socio-technical toolbox can help to facilitate organisational change, and to examine issues involved in use of such a toolbox by organizational actors supported by expert analysts.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is conceptual and adopts a critical stance, i.e. to provide support for emancipation of individuals through ownership and control of their own analyses.

Findings: Drawing on work by... (More)
Purpose: During discussions at the ASC 2013 Conference, we were stimulated to consider acting,learning and understanding in the context of organizational change, and in particular the relationship between organizational actors and external analysts. This article therefore seeks to review from a cybernetic perspective how a socio-technical toolbox can help to facilitate organisational change, and to examine issues involved in use of such a toolbox by organizational actors supported by expert analysts.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is conceptual and adopts a critical stance, i.e. to provide support for emancipation of individuals through ownership and control of their own analyses.

Findings: Drawing on work by e.g., Bateson, we consider organizations as dynamic and complex human activity systems, and how actors can be helped to develop a productive learning ‘spiral’ of acting and reflecting by means of a proposed sociotechnical toolbox. Acting and

reflecting upon action can be seen to form a ‘double helix’ of learning, leading to richer understandings of contextual dependencies. Engaged actors need support to surface their

contextually-dependent understandings, individual and collectively and engage in a ‘dance of change’.



Practical implications: Change is endemic in organizational life. When engaging with change activity that attempts to address complexity (as opposed to complicatedness), contextual experts need to be the key decision-takers. This means a redistribution not only of responsibility and action but also decision-taking power.

Originality/value: The paper suggests augmentation of traditional socio-technical methods to address dynamic complexity. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
analysis practice, informatics, Information Systems., contextual dependencies, socio-technical systems, change management
in
Kybernetes
volume
43
issue
9/10
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
external identifiers
  • wos:000347782600005
  • scopus:84915804619
ISSN
0368-492X
DOI
10.1108/K-07-2014-0156
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
eea53b69-bfff-49c3-a9b3-e72feb328a1e (old id 4694212)
date added to LUP
2014-10-07 13:56:59
date last changed
2017-01-01 06:12:12
@article{eea53b69-bfff-49c3-a9b3-e72feb328a1e,
  abstract     = {Purpose: During discussions at the ASC 2013 Conference, we were stimulated to consider acting,learning and understanding in the context of organizational change, and in particular the relationship between organizational actors and external analysts. This article therefore seeks to review from a cybernetic perspective how a socio-technical toolbox can help to facilitate organisational change, and to examine issues involved in use of such a toolbox by organizational actors supported by expert analysts.<br/><br>
Design/methodology/approach: The paper is conceptual and adopts a critical stance, i.e. to provide support for emancipation of individuals through ownership and control of their own analyses.<br/><br>
Findings: Drawing on work by e.g., Bateson, we consider organizations as dynamic and complex human activity systems, and how actors can be helped to develop a productive learning ‘spiral’ of acting and reflecting by means of a proposed sociotechnical toolbox. Acting and<br/><br>
reflecting upon action can be seen to form a ‘double helix’ of learning, leading to richer understandings of contextual dependencies. Engaged actors need support to surface their<br/><br>
contextually-dependent understandings, individual and collectively and engage in a ‘dance of change’.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Practical implications: Change is endemic in organizational life. When engaging with change activity that attempts to address complexity (as opposed to complicatedness), contextual experts need to be the key decision-takers. This means a redistribution not only of responsibility and action but also decision-taking power.<br/><br>
Originality/value: The paper suggests augmentation of traditional socio-technical methods to address dynamic complexity.},
  author       = {Bednar, Peter and Welch, Christine},
  issn         = {0368-492X},
  keyword      = {analysis practice,informatics,Information Systems.,contextual dependencies,socio-technical systems,change management},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9/10},
  publisher    = {Emerald Group Publishing Limited},
  series       = {Kybernetes},
  title        = {Contextual inquiry and socio-technical practice},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/K-07-2014-0156},
  volume       = {43},
  year         = {2014},
}