Cite as: “Whitworth , B., & De Moor, A. (Eds.). (2009). Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems.
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The Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems is a state-of-the-art summary of knowledge in an evolving, multi-disciplinary field. It is distinctive in its variety of international author perspectives, depth and breadth of scholarship, and combination of practical and theoretical views. This noteworthy collection is useful for anyone interested in modern socio-technical systems, where knowledge of social principles can mean the difference between success and failure.
“Brian Whitworth and Aldo de Moor have gathered valuable material from an international panel of experts who guide readers through the analysis, design and implementation of socio-technical systems. It will be widely useful in defining issues in engineering, computing, management, organization, government policy, and ethics. The practical guidance and fresh theories can inspire a new generation of designers and researchers to catalyze even more potent forms of human collaboration.”
- Ben Shneiderman
Foreword by Ben Shneiderman
Preface by Brian Whitworth and Aldo de Moor
Tom Stewart, System Concepts,
Starr Roxanne Hiltz, Distinguished Professor,
Ronald Stamper, Independent
That social and technical systems can combine to create “socio-technical” systems
Brian Whitworth, Massey
Brian Whitworth discusses how social requirements are as critical to computer system success as technical requirements.
Chapter II. The Social Study of Computer Science Science 23
Matti Tedre illustrates the relevance of social research methods to computer science, laying the foundation for a pluralistic approach to socio-technical research.
Chapter III. Virtual Collaboration and Community, p39
Ann Borda, Victorian eResearch Strategic Initiative (VeRSI),
Jonathan P. Bowen,
Ann Borda and Jonathan P. Bowen discuss how the functions and tools of virtual organizations create and support online human collaboration.
Chapter IV. The Social Derivation of Technical Systems, p50
David Davenport analyses how social values critically affect the design, use and evaluation of technical systems.
Chapter V. Socio-Technical Theory and Work Systems in the Information Age, p65
José Luis Abdelnour-Nocera,
Ken Eason and José Luis Abdelnour-Nocera explain how socio-technical concepts and applications are changing work systems in modern organizations.
Chapter VI. An Engagement Strategy for Community Network Research and Design, p78
Peter Day uses a participatory approach to explore how the social and technical connect in the “Poets Corner”, an online socio-technical community.
Chapter VII. On the Alignment of Organizational and Software Structure, p94
Cleidson R. B. de Souza, Universidade Federal do
David F. Redmiles, Univeristy of
Cleidson R. B. de Souza and David F. Redmiles outline the connection between organizational structure and software development.
Socio-technical perspectives impact both social and technical systems
Prologue Reconciling the Social and the Technical,
by Ronald K. Stamper, Independent
Chapter VIII. Privacy and the Identity Gap in Socio-Technical Systems, p110
Catherine Heeney, The
Catherine Heeney demonstrates that current models for the governance of online data contradict current privacy expectations.
Ronald Leenes suggests that the need for privacy is growing in virtual worlds like Second Life, despite their avowed openness, and that such worlds are ideal environments to study social phenomena.
Chapter X. Leadership of Integrated Teams in Virtual Environments, p137
David Tuffley reviews the role of leadership in online social interactions and how it can be improved.
Monique Janneck reviews the critical social factors that affect whether technical artifacts designed foruse in organizations are actually used by their members.
Chapter XII. Explaining Participation in Online Communities, p167
Petter Bae Brandtzæg, SINTEF and
Jan Heim, SINTEF,
Petter Bae Brandtzæg and Jan Heim present data that suggests why users choose to participate in online communities - or not.
Chapter XIII. Cyber Security and Anti-Social Networking, p183
Chapter XIV. Emerging Cybercrime Variants in the Socio-Technical Space, p195
Shun-Yung Kevin Wang,
Wilson Huang and Shun-Yung Kevin Wang suggest that cybercrime flourishes in the “gaps” between social and technical systems, and use this framework suggest response strategies to cybercrime.
Chapter XV. Developing Innovative Practice in Service Industries, p209
Elayne W. Coakes,
Peter Smith, The Leadership Alliance Inc.,
Elayne Coakes, Peter Smith, and Dee Alwis suggest that socio-technical communities of innovation can improve service competitiveness in modern fast-moving business markets.
How to gather and analyze data from a socio-technical system
Prologue Gathering and analyzing data from socio-technical systems, p222
by Mark Aakhus, Rutgers, The
Chapter XVI. Using Communication Norms in Socio-Technical Systems, p224.
Hans Weigand asks why what users ask for in a system is not always what they want, and uses a language action perspective to relate group and communication norms to the analysis, diagnosis and design of socio-technical systems.
Chapter XVII. Socio-Instrumental Pragmatism in Action, p236
Jonas Sjöström and Göran Goldkuhl introduce socio-instrumental pragmatism (SIP) and illustrate its use in analysis and design.
Chapter XVIII. A Framework for Using Analytics to Make Decisions, p251
Paul J. Bracewell, Offlode Ltd.,
Paul Bracewell argues that while business analytics generates statistical evidence for corporate decisions, the key decisions by end-users and corporate executives are socio-technical, as they are made at some distance from the technology.
Chapter XIX. The Challenges of Co-Design and the Case of e-Me, p265
Mikael Lind, University of Borås, Sweden
Peter Rittgen, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Belgium & University of Borås, Sweden
Mikael Lind and Peter Rittgen illustrate some of the challenges of co-design in the implementation of e-Me, an electronic online assistant for students.
Chapter XX. Formal Analysis of Workflows in Software Development, p280
Harry S. Delugach,
Harry Delugach shows how conceptual graphs can help conceive, describe, evaluate, and compare workflow processes in the software development process.
Chapter XXI. The Role of Expectations in Information Systems Development, p298
Dorit Nevo, York Univeristy, Canada
Brent Furneaux, York Univeristy, Canada
Dorit Nevo and Brent Furneaux review how stakeholder expectations impact socio-technical analysis, and suggest that managing expectations during analysis is critical to system success.
Jeff Axup illustrates how to elicit social needs in system development, using the example of back-packers sharing information with mobile technologies.
How to design socio-technical systems to satisfy social and technical needs
Chapter XXIII. Systems Design with the Socio-Technical Walkthrough, (accept as secure exception) p336
Thomas Herrmann outlines the socio-technical walkthrough, a participatory process useful when designing technical systems to support cooperation and collaboration.
Anders Mørch presents a translational approach to socio-technical interface design, based on creative practices from the fields of architecture and furniture design.
Chapter XXV. A Social Framework for Software Architectural Design, p367
Manuel Kolp, Université
Yves Wautelet, Université
Manuel Kolp and Yves Wautelet suggest that multi-agent system (MAS) design can reflect human organizational structures by modeling actors, goals, responsibilities and social dependencies.
Piotr Cofta uses citizen identity systems to illustrate the design of socio-technical systems that people trust, and suggests that trust can be estimated before system deployment.
Dan Dixon suggests that reapplying the original concepts of Alexander’s pattern languages has rich potential for socio-technical designers and developers.
Chapter XXVIII. Creating Social Technologies to Assist and Understand Social Interactions, p416
Anton Nijholt, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Dirk Heylen, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Rutger Rienks, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Anton Nijholt, Dirk Heylen, and Rutger Rienks review the concepts, challenges and methods used when designing electronic meeting systems that mediate social interactions.
Chapter XXIX. A Modern Socio-Technical View on ERP-Systems, p429
Jos Benders, Tilburg University & Radboud University Nijmegen,The Netherlands
Ronald Batenburg, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Paul Hoeken, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Roel Schouteten, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Jos Benders, Ronald Batenburg, Paul Hoeken and Roel Schouteten show how a socio-technical approach can improve Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
Chapter XXX. Being Face to Face: A State of
Mary Allan and David Thorns introduce field and habitus theory to conferencing technologies, and advise designers to satisfy social needs rather than try to mimic face-to-face interaction.
Chapter XXXI. Applying Bourdieu to eBay’s Success and Socio-Technical Design, p455 (link at bottom of linked page)
Rebecca M. Ellis,
Rebecca Ellis uses social field theory to explain eBay’s success, and suggests extending concepts like translucence to socio-technical systems in general.
Chapter XXXII. Relationships and Etiquette with Technical Systems, p473
Christopher A. Miller, Smart Information Flow Technologies,
Christopher A. Miller uses examples from his and others’ work to argue that designers of technology that interacts socially with people need to understand social etiquette.
How socio-technical systems are put into practice
Prologue Socio-technical Systems in the Context of Ubiquitous Computing, Ambient Intelligence, Embodied Virtuality, and the Internet of Things
by Anton Nijholt, University of Twente, The Netherlands. p489
Chapter XXXIII. Augmenting Actual Life Through MUVEs, p493
Laura Anna Ripamonti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Ines Di Loreto, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Dario Maggiorini, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Laura Anna Ripamonti, Ines Di Loreto, and Dario Maggiorini tap their expertise in virtual environments to suggest a socio-technical framework for Second Life and similar online worlds.
Chapter XXXIV. The Role of Affect in an Agent-Based Collaborative E-Learning System Used for Engineering Education, p510.
Mohamed Ben Ammar, Research Group on Intelligent Machines (REGIM), University of Sfax, ENIS, Tunisia
Mahmoud Neji, Faculté des Sciences Economiques et de Gestion, University of Sfax, TunisiaAdel M. Alimi, Research Group on Intelligent Machines (REGIM), University of Sfax, ENIS, Tunisia
Mohamed Ben Ammar and Mahmoud Neji review affective computing and present an implemented multi-agent model of an intelligent tutoring system that can recognize human emotions.
Chapter XXXV. Gaze-Aided Human-Computer and Human-Human Dialogue, p529
Pernilla Qvarfordt, FX Palo Alto
Pernilla Qvarfordt and Shumin Zhai show how designers can use eye gaze data to enrich human-computer-human and human-computer communication.
Licia Calvi investigates the conditions under which people engage socially online, and finds they use online networks to maintain connections to people they already know rather than to make new connections to people they do not.
Chapter XXXVII. Socio-Technical Systems and Knowledge Representation, p558
Ivan Launders suggests how multi-agent architectures can model social complexity in a
Chapter XXXVIII. Social Support for Online Learning, p575
Claire de la Varre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Julie Keane, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Matthew J. Irvin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Wallace Hannum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Claire de la Varre, Julie Keane, Matthew J. Irvin and Wallace Hannum developed an online system for rural schools to meet distance learner’s social as well as intellectual needs, and suggest this can reduce attrition rates in distance education courses.
Chapter XXXIX. Enabling Remote Participation in Research, p589, Also
Emilee J. Rader, University of Michigan, USA
Daniel B. Horn, Booz Allen Hamilton, USA
Thomas Finholt, University of Michigan, USA
Jeremy Birnholtz, Emilee J. Rader, Daniel B. Horn and Thomas Finholt apply the concept of “common ground” to shared display systems, reporting on academic research tele-participation in earthquake engineering and geo-technical centrifuge experiments.
How to measure and evaluate socio-technical systems
Prologue by Starr Roxanne Hiltz, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA, p605
Chapter XL. Community Collective Efficacy, p608
John M. Carroll, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Mary Beth Rosson, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Umer Farooq, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Jamika D. Burge, The
John M. Carroll, Mary Beth Rosson, Umer Farooq and Jamika D. Burge develop Bandura’s collective efficacy concept into an online community measure used successfully in three of their online community projects.
Chapter XLI. An Analysis of the Socio-Technical Gap in Social Networking Sites, p620
Tanguy Coenen, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Wouter Van den Bosch, Katholieke Hogeschool Mechelen, Belgium
Veerle Van der Sluys, Independent Scholar, Belgium
Tanguy Coenen, Wouter Van Den Bosch and Veerle Van Der Sluys use a social capital perspective to identify social needs and gaps in social network sites.
Chapter XLII. Situational Awareness In Collaborative Work Environments, p636
Olga Kulyk, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Betsy van Dijk, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Paul van der Vet, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Anton Nijholt, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Gerrit van der Veer, Open University, The Netherlands
Olga Kulyk, Betsy van Dijk, Paul van der Vet, Anton Nijholt and Gerrit van der Veer use the concept of situational awareness in their case studies to suggest challenges for the design and evaluation of online collaborative environments.
Chapter XLIII. A Scale of Affective Satisfaction in Online Learning Communities, 651
Janet Holland presents a scale of affective satisfaction, and illustrates its use in an online learning teaching intervention.
Chapter XLIV. Assessing the Social Network Health of Virtual Communities, p669
Ronald M. Lee,
David Hinds and Ronald M. Lee suggest how measuring the social “health” of virtual communities can be a useful socio-technical performance diagnostic for designers, managers and users.
Chapter XLV. Situated Evaluation of Socio-Technical Systems, p685
Bertram C. Bruce, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Andee Rubin, TERC, USA
Junghyun An, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Bertram C. Bruce, Andee Rubin and Junghyun An introduce situated evaluation as an approach to evaluating innovation in socio-technical systems, with classroom uses of an electronic Quill as a test case.
Chapter XLVI. Cultural Appropriation of Software Design and Evaluation, p699
Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Polytechnic of
Heike Winschiers-Theophilus finds that socio-technical systems whose intrinsic values clash with those of their target audience tend to be unused or unwanted, with the Namibian context as an example, so suggests designing socio-technical systems with target culture values in mind.
How will socio-technical systems evolve in the future?
Chapter XLVII. Resolving Wicked Problems through Collaboration, p715
Peter J. Denning,
Peter J. Denning suggests how understanding “messy” problems can help future designers develop systems to support the types of collaboration needed to resolve them.
Chapter XLVIII. The Myth of the e-Commerce Serf to Sovereign Powershift, p731
Rachel McLean suggests the view that e-commerce empowers customers is a myth, as it shifts responsibilities not power, so a true power shift in the culturally ingrained producer-consumer relationship still remains only a potential for the future.
Chapter XLIX. Teaching the Socio-Technical Practices of Tomorrow Today, p748, Also
Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson, University of Technology,
Theresa Anderson reports experiences teaching a socio-technical course, with examples, to give ideas for those wishing to do the same in the future.
Chapter L. Socio-Technical Communities: From Informal to Formal? p763
Isa Jahnke suggests that today’s socio-technical systems will inevitably move from undefined, informal interactions to formal structures and rules, with what is initially enforced by social sanctions eventually being enforced by technological control.
Chapter LI. Future Living in a Participatory Way, p779
Laurence Claeys, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, Belgium
Johan Criel, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, Belgium
Laurence Claeys and Johan Criel see the socio-technical gap as an opportunity rather than a problem for context aware applications, and use a “home of the future” empirical study from
Chapter LII. The Impact of Communications Technology on Trust, p794
Paul Hodgson, British
Paul Hodgson argues that communications technology in postmodern society leads to the atomization of experience, which reduces social trust, and that consequently we need future technologies that enhance trust for the benefit of society as whole.
Chapter LIII. Good and Evil in the
Julie E. Kendall,
Ken and Julie Kendall suggest that emergent technologies like widgets, mashups, gadgets, dashboards and push-pull technologies are double-edged swords, usable for good or ill, and formulate a checklist of critical questions for future socio-technical designers.