SOCIO-TECHNICAL SYSTEMS: USING ACTOR-NETWORK THEORY TO MAKE THE SOCIAL MORE TANGIBLE IN A TECHNICAL SPACE
In technical spaces, the social can be seen as incidental (a distant factor to be monitored for avoidable negative impact), inaccessible (something to be assigned to someone with specialised skills), and implausible (involving wicked problems and improbable resolution). As a result, the social aspects of technical effort can be managed separately, haphazardly, without a common language, and outside of recognisable processes and transferable skills. This paper positions the social and technical as interconnected. It applies a systematic literature review to extend actor-network theory. The study offers language and a method to make the social aspects of technical work more describable, accessible, and systematic. It provides a framework for engineering practitioners to describe, analyse, and design socio-technical systems.
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