• Group dynamics meet cognition: applying socio-technical concepts in the design of information systems

      Dillon, Andrew; Coakes, Elayne; Willis, Dianne; Lloyd-Jones, Raymond (London: Springer-Verlag (Springer-Verlag Series on CSCW), 2000)
      This is a preprint version of Dillon, A. (2000) Group Dynamics Meet Cognition: applying socio-technical concepts in the design of information systems. In Coakes, E., Willis, D. and Lloyd-Jones, R. (eds.) The New SocioTech: Graffiti on the Long Wall, Springer Verlag Series on CSCW, London: Springer, 119-125. Chapter overview: Socio-Technical Systems Theory (STST) has been widely mentioned and applied in the domain of information systems implementation (see e.g. Eason [1], Mumford [2]). Dillon and Morris [3] argue that the term STST is now generally applied to many user-centered orientations to design and implementation. Unlike the pragmatism of usability engineering which aims to support the design of technologies that are compatible with users' abilities and needs[4], STST posits underlying drives and motivations to use tools that supersede concerns with effectiveness and efficiency alone. In the present chapter, STST is re-examined for relevance to contemporary software design practices. Specifically, the unconscious drives to gain control and enhancement through one's work are seemingly at odds with a strictly cognitive approach to interaction that dominates studies of human-computer interaction. STST is here critically assessed in the light of what is now known about user acceptance of new information technologies. Emerging ISO-backed usability standards are in turn critically evaluated in the light of STST's richer analysis to identify weaknesses in the current usability engineering approach to design and implementation. Reconciling the psychodynamic and the cognitive in a manner that enables pragmatic application of STST in design is gained through the formulation of operationalised measures of the forces shaping acceptance.