Designing for an Uncertain Future

Designing for an Uncertain Future

Enid Mumford (Manchester University, UK)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-118-6.ch014
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Abstract

The philosophy of this book is that problem solving and the management of change will be facilitated by participation. By participation is meant that all those affected by change, or their representatives, will be able to play some part in its definition, in agreeing strategies for its implementation and in evaluating its success. Most of the case studies discussed have been concerned with the positive aspects of change involving systems redesign. The stimulus here was usually the introduction of a new technical system. Early projects used participation as a means for assisting the introduction of a specific new system into a single or small number of departments. Later ones were larger and had more dramatic effects. All employees would now be involved, either from a particular function or from the company as a whole and, on occasion, from its environment. My objective has been to try and assist the creation of work systems which are both efficient and meet human needs for acceptable, stimulating and satisfying work environments. As well as user involvement, these systems will aim to have certain other desirable characteristics, namely, suitability, flexibility, complementarity and sustainability. Suitability requires them to provide a good fit with the technical and social needs of the work situation. In other words they do a good job in production and human terms. They are also flexible and able to cope easily with subsequent technical and organizational change. They complement existing systems and connect easily with these, and because they have these characteristics, they are sustainable and endure into the future. Their complementarity feature will also extend into the external environment so that industrial and clerical systems will mesh easily with environmental systems and create harmonious work, community and physical environments. But, most important, they are also democratic. All except the first enabled the people who would work with or be affected by them to have a role in their design, development and implementation.

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