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ETHICS is also unusual in that it forces the search for solutions that take into account 'social' as well as technical factors.
The whole process can be considered as a method of balancing the costs and benefits of social and technical solutions upon job satisfaction and efficiency. These are shown below.
It involves identification of the boundaries of the system e. The key tasks and objectives of the proposed system are stated. Each of the interested groups then rank the list of objectives on a scale of one to five.
Both the efficiency and job satisfaction requirements are initially considered separately before being consolidated. Stage 2 Socio-technical systems design steps 12 to 20 This stage attempts to reconcile the social side with the technical side of systems design.
Firstly the business, social and technical constraints are identified. Two different groups are formed one focusing on the social aspects of the system; the other the technical aspects whose job it is to find socially and technically desirable design options. After identification of the social and technical constraints, the resources available for each of the socially and technically desirable options are considered.
The objectives in ranked order are then checked for comparability before actual technical and social systems decisions are taken. Revision may be necessary before this final step is completed. Stage 3 Setting out alternative solutions steps 21 to 23 This stage involves the evaluation of any alternative technical or social solutions.
These are set out in a matrix form evaluating possible advantages and disadvantages as well as overall compatibility with the established objectives. As in the previous stage, each will be evaluated against three criteria, priority, constraints, and resources.
Once doubtful solutions are eliminated, a short list of technical solutions and one of social solutions is drawn up.
Stage 4 Setting out compatible solutions step 23 This stage merges the short lists from stage three to see which solutions are most compatible.
Incomplete solutions are discarded. Technical and social solutions found to operate well together are entered into an evaluation matrix for the next stage. Stage 5 Ranking socio-technical solutions step 24 The matrix set up from the previous stage is now ranked using information generated in stage 3, while ensuring all socio-technical solutions meet the criteria outlined in stages 1 and 2.
Stage 6 Prepare a detailed work design step 25 A detailed list and description of all tasks people would perform under a particular socio-technical solution's implementation is drawn up.
Tasks are ranked in order of simplicity and attempts are made to provide a balanced spread of required skills and complexity of tasks. Checks are made to ensure that created jobs are as interesting and satisfying as possible using a set of 'issues of concerns'.
If the highest ranking socio-technical solution scores high on these issues while achieving the technical objectives, it is accepted as the final solution.
If this is not the case, another short listed solution is tried in the same manner. For example, there is a special diagramming method used for describing work layout. There is also a job diagnostic questionnaire which is used to elicit views on the job situation.
More importantly, ETHICS, employs a facilitator who seeks to find a consensus on the systems development exercise using special questionnaires.
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