Socio-Technical System Design: Managing Risk at the Man-Machine Interface


The engineering manager faces a myriad assortment of challenges in today's global business environment. Traditional organizational structures must be adapted to accommodate the needs of increasingly virtual, technology-based work processes and structures. In this case study we explore the dynamics of building a virtual records management system by a federal agency and its constituent stakeholders. The man-machine interface poses challenges in both systems design and application. A fully integrated sociotechnical system may be impossible. Most often, the technology is the driver and the human elements of relationship management are under-evaluated in terms of system design. Managing stakeholder expectations in the face of this type of technology initiative are explored as interface points in the system. Systems engineering heuristics provide excellent guidance for the development of this type of sociotechnical system. Lessons learned offer guidance for increased effectiveness and risk reduction.

Meeting Name

27th Annual National Conference of the American Society for Engineering Management (2006: Oct. 25-28, Huntsville, AL)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Change Management; Systems Engineering; Virtual Collaborative Environments; Design And Application; Engineering Heuristics; Global Business Environments; Organizational Structures; Relationship Management; Sociotechnical Systems; Records Management; Risk Management; Technology

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2006 American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM), All rights reserved.

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