Socio-technical view of Process planning and Job design

In the socio-technical view, the concepts and methods of the technological view are mechanistic with humans thought of as machines or worse as just links in machines. This view states that, the central focus of the technological approach is technology itself and that technology is taken as a given without exploring the full range of the possible alternatives.

Briefly, socio-technical theory rests on two essential premises. The first is that there is a joint system operating, a socio-technical system and that joint optimization of social and technical consideration is appropriate.

The second premise is that every socio-technical system is embedded in an environment. The environment is influenced by a culture and its values and by a set of generally accepted practices in which there are certain roles for organizations, groups, and people.

In the socio-technical view, there are constraints imposed by technology that limit the possible arrangement of processes and jobs, and there are constraints imposed by job satisfaction and social system needs. Technological constraints indicate that all job deigns within a particular area represent feasible solutions from a technological point of view and that all points outside the area are infeasible. Similarly, the area that can fall under “Social system constraints” indicates that all job designs within the area represent feasible solutions from the sociological job satisfaction point of view. Within the overlap between the two separate areas, we have a solution space that meets the constraints of both technology and the social system. The overlap area defines the only solution that can be considered as feasible in joint terms. Our objective is to consider jointly the economic and social system variables and find the best solutions. Because optimization is not clearly defined process on job design, we seek solutions that are acceptable.

Psychological Job Requirements:

Englestad (1972) developed a set of psychological job requirements. These requirements are an interpretation of empirical evidence that suggest that workers prefer tasks of a substantial degree of wholeness, in which the individual has control over the materials and the processes involved.

1. The need for the content of a job to be reasonably demanding in terms other than sheer endurance yet provide at least a minimum of variety (not necessarily novelty)
2. The need for being able to learn on the job which implies standards and knowledge of results and to go on learning. Again, there is a question of neither too much nor too little.
3. The need of some minimum degree of social support and recognition in the work place.
4. The need to be able what one does and what one process to one’s social life.
5. The need to feel that the job leads to some sort of desirable future.

Thus the socio-technical principles of process and job design may be summarized as the application of the concept of joint optimization between technology and social system values and the ideal of wholeness and self-control. These are the principles that would guide the organization of work in specific situations, resulting in the establishment of job content. The determination of job methods in the socio-technical view results from a concept of the semi-autonomous work group that, by and large create its own work methods.

Managers’ Model of job breadth:

Looking within the joint feasible solution space, models can be developed that examine job breadth from the points of view of managers and workers.

The tasks and duties required can be shuffled in many ways to form the continuum of narrow versus broad job designs. For example, in auto assembly, jobs can be finely divided, as with conventional auto assembly lines, or at the opposite extreme, one worker or a team can assemble the entire vehicle. This kind of job enlargement can be termed horizontal. Vertical enlargement could be envisioned where jobs incorporate varying degrees of quality control, maintenance, repair, supply, and supervisory functions.

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