Engineering For Commitment


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      "Engineering for Commitment":
Socio-Technical Design of Work and Lou Davis"

Written and Produced by Joel Fadem and Bert Painter.



(Links to specific 5-12 minute Segments)

 Chapter 1 : 'Systems Thinking' & Lou Davis

Chapter 2: Design Principles & Method

 Chapter 3: Choice in Technology & Systems

Chapter 4: A Philosophy for Work Design

Chapter 5: Social System Design

Chapter 6: Legacy for the Information Age

   (For more information, go to:- "Engineering For Commitment"   Resource Guide  )

This 48-minute video tells two stories: the power of 'Socio-Technical Systems' (STS) thinking as a force for improving business results in human and economic terms; and, the career of UCLA Anderson School management professor Louis Davis, an engineer, behavioral scientist and pioneer in the development and application of this radically successful approach to the design of work and organizations.

Uniquely offering both an engineering and behavioral science perspective, the video documents Lou Davis' profound contribution to STS and the subsequent evolution of high performance work organizations in North America, Western Europe and Australia over the past forty years.  Socio-technical systems design's proven bundle of concepts, values, methodologies and best practices in manufacturing and service industries is now poised for a resurgence in the modern information age. 

The video features interviews with senior managers, engineers, human resource professionals, union leaders, and academic colleagues of Lou Davis from around North America and the world.  Organized in 10-15 minute segments that can be viewed separately, the video is designed for multi-purpose use as a teaching or discussion aid.

Documentary footage and photos combine to illustrate innovative work design at three North American work sites: 1) Shell Chemical in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada; 2) the Skippy Peanut Butter plant in Little Rock, Arkansas (now Unilever); and, 3) Mead Paper in Stevenson, Alabama (now Stone-Smurfit).  These manufacturing plants, designed on socio-technical principles, are now 25 years old, and remain extremely successful.  Highlights are also included from work sites in Nabisco (now Kraft), Salomon Brothers and Hewlett-Packard.


Narration is provided by Joel Fadem, a former UCLA colleague of Lou Davis and co-founder of its Center for Quality of Working Life. "Engineering for Commitment" was directed by Bert Painter, a consulting social scientist and film-maker with Modern Times Productions.

The video is available in VHS and DVD formats. Regular price (single copy) is $ 225.00


                                                      To Order or make Inquiries, Contact:-

Modern Times Productions
our Email  Address

 Reviewers' Comments:

"The technology of STS remains as relevant today as ever.  It replaces the "silver bullet" palliatives ever present in the literature with a comprehensive, time-tested approach to designing and redesigning today's organizations."

 -      Len Schlesinger, Vice Chairman and COO, Limited Brands

"The video illustrates clearly that people and their social systems must be incorporated with technology design, and not in addition to it or after the technical system is designed. This should be a classic training video for all industrial and mechanical engineers."

 -     Harvey Kolodny, Professor, Rotman School of Management,
                    University of Toronto

"This is a truly outstanding video on socio-technical design and the role of one of its key proponents, Lou Davis.  The message grows more important with the passage of time:  organizational design must truly integrate the potentials of technology and of people, rather than sacrifice one for the other."

 -     Paul Adler, Professor of Organization and Management, 
       Marshall School of Business University of Southern California

"Socio-technical systems theory especially the applied practice of Lou Davis may well represent the most important thinking on organization design in the last century.  This is the finest video I've seen on the subject.  It opens a window to the limitless possibilities of STS as a critical shaping force for organizations of the future."

 -     Kimball Fisher, Author, "Leading Self-Directed Work Teams"
      and Co-Author, "The Distance Manager"

"Lou Davis is one of the handful of innovators who possessed knowledge on technology and work flow on the one hand, and individual, team and organizational behavior on the other. This video is a first class production that makes Lou Davis' legacy in socio-technical systems relevant and accessible to the viewer in the 21st century.  I highly recommend it."

 -    Patrick Canavan, Senior Vice President, Motorola, Inc.

"This film accurately portrays the principles of STS and its application at key industrial worksites, while also providing insight into Lou Davis's intellectual odyssey.  It is highly recommended for students, scholars and practitioners of human resource management, industrial engineering, organization design, industrial relations and workplace studies."

- Sanford M. Jacoby, Howard Noble Chair in Management,
   The Anderson School at UCLA

"This is a professionally produced video which nicely integrates the past and present, with a focus on the fundamentals.  Lou Davis has given us both a legacy and a guide for the future."

 -      Gerald I. Susman, Klein Professor of Management and Co-Director,
       Quality and Manufacturing Management, The Pennsylvania State

"This video is must watching for anyone who wants to see how jobs and organizations should be designed."

 -      Richard Chase, Justin Dart Professor of Operations Management,
        Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

"Through the vivid images of the factories Davis helped design and the personal testimonies of those who were directly involved, we understand more fully why the redesign of workplaces using socio-technical thinking improves the way people work.  For anyone who cares about the design of workplaces and for those who want to learn more about its history, this is the best account I have ever seen."

 -     Dr. William Pasmore, Partner, Mercer-Delta Consulting

"This video is a strong presentation of the work of Lou Davis and others at UCLA who were path breakers in creating a movement that has transformed the management of much of American industry over the past forty years."

 -   William G. Ouchi, Sigiloff Chair in Corporate Renewal,
    The Anderson School at UCLA