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Accidents and Sociotechnical Systems: Principles for Design.

Authors
Robinson-GH
Source
NIOSH 1982 Feb:75-89
Link
NIOSHTIC No.
00171001
Abstract
Sociotechnical systems theory is discussed, and utilized in a case study of redesign of an underground mine. Sociotechnical systems theory represents a novel method of conceptualizing and designing organizations. It is based upon the necessity of arranging simultaneous optimization of the interacting technical and social systems within an organization. In a case study of a coal mine operation, overall productivity decreased following installation of a sophisticated machine for removing coal from the mine well. This suggested that the social system of the organization was improperly designed for the new technology. One major unforeseen problem was associated with middle managers who objected to the new authority given to workers to assume responsibility for management level decisions. Redress of this problem, along with the implementation of autonomous worker groups and a reduction in safety defeating competition between shifts, lead to improved productivity and safety. Further discussions of sociotechnical principles and their application to industrial environments were given.
Keywords
Worker-motivation; Worker-health; Mining-equipment; Mining-industry; Industrial-design; Industrial-environment; Industrial-psychology;
Publication Date
19820201
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
1982
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
(NIOSH) 82-103
Source Name
Proceedings of the Symposium on Occupational Safety Research and Education, January, 1981, DHHS(NIOSH) Publication No. 82-103
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