To Review the list of  Recommended Articles,  Click-on the specific  Topic  in the right-hand column


"Socio-Technical Systems Theory: From the Industrial to the Knowledge Age"
- This article provides a detailed bibliography and an overview from experiments in the coal fields of post WWII Great Britain, and then, to innovations in manufacturing in Scandinavia, Europe, North America, and Australia, and more recently, in service industries, that have evolved a "new paradigm" of work organization, demonstrating that the "technological imperative can be disobeyed" by an alternative form of organization that achieves a "joint optimization" of social and technical arrangements in an "open socio-technical system".
by Bert Painter, 2009.

" Using Action Research To Promote New STS Theory & Practice"

- Prepared for an International Research Conference hosted by the Work Research Institute of Oslo, Norway, this paper documents the efforts of the STS Roundtable to develop new Socio-Technical Systems concepts and methodologies to apply to the problems of the 21st century. Project information is being shared among academics and practitioners along 8 tracks of modern STS Design Challenges in a world driven by technology and knowledge work.
by Bert Painter, 2007.

Managing New Office Technology: An Organizational Strategy,
- Breakthrough concepts for 'second' generation of socio-technical systems theory, as applied to non-linear work processes such exist in knowledge/office work. Most significant is the introduction of "deliberation" analysis. Deliberations are "equivocality reducing events" or "choice points". However, deliberations are not simply the equivalent of decisions or meetings; rather, they are sense-making exchanges, communications and reflections that are integral to the nature of non-routine work. Deliberations are identified by the existence of an equivocal topic, which is explored in different types of forums, involving a particular group of interested parties.
by Cal Pava, Free Press, NY., 1983. (See also Pava:
"Non-routine Office Work", Vol. II: The Socio-Technical Perspective, Trist/Tavistock
"Organization Design and The Knowledge Worker"
- Explores non-routine systems design from a socio-technical systems (STS) perspective. Includes a brief discussion of non-routine systems and an examination of alternative methods for diagnosing and redesigning organizations composed of knowledge workers. The results of two STS case studies (an R&D division of a high technology firm, and a medical rehabilitation hospital) provide new insight and special design principles for non-routine systems. Concludes with implications for both managers and STS consultants interested in management of knowledge workers.
by Shani & Stebbins, The Journal of Knowledge Management Practice, Volume I: 1998-1999, 1998.

" The Search for Effective Strategic Planning Is Over"
- Review of the field-tested principles and theory of the Search Conference methodology for strategic planning and organization design
by Steven Cabana, Journal for Quality & Participation, 1997.

Participative Design for Participative Democracy
- Primary source and most comprehensive summary of Fred and Merrelyn Emery's application of Design Principle 2 in the Participative Design of work and community life
by Merrelyn Emery (ed.), Centre for Continuing Education, Australian National University, 1993.

The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life
- Rapidly falling costs of communication are enabling a change in business organization as profound as the shift to democracy in governments; based on 20 years of ground-breaking research, this book uses vivid examples of organizations worldwide with highly effective decentralized organizational structures that rely upon a shift from 'command-and-control' to 'coordinate-and-cultivate' management, enabled by modern information technology and an appreciation for enduring human values.
by Thomas W. Malone, Sloan School of Management and MIT Center for Coordination Science, Harvard Business School Press, 2004.
" Not Just an Operator: How Manitoba Telephone System & CEP Implemented Work Redesign"
- Case study report of how Telephone Long-Distance Service Operators re-designed their work and implemented new technology, with dramatic reductions of Operator stress and significant improvement of service Quality 
Joanne Swayze & Alma Bromilow, Presentation, Vancouver, 1993.
"The Process  and Content of Work Design"
- Summary  of work design principles, change process, and  labor-management participation, integrated in a model of work  redesign as continuous learning
by Bert Painter, 1995;

"Options For Accelerating The Design of  High Performance Organizations"
This article provides a comprehensive review of a variety of recent developments that both accelerate the design process and, through the direct participation of key people, build strong commitment for the implementation of the new organization.
By William O. Lytle, 1998,

"Designed for Learning: A  Tale of Two Auto Plants"
- Two successful  auto assembly plants, Toyota-GM's Nummi and Volvo's Uddevalla  represent two different ways of organizing labour-intensive  manufacturing of standardized products
by Paul Adler  & Robert Cole,
Sloan Management Review, Spring 1993,  pp. 85-93

The Effects of High Performance Work Practices on Job Satisfaction in the Steel Industry
- Analysis from 13 US steel plants (1350 workers) indicates that the effect of HPWO practices on job satisfaction depends primarily on whether workers are able to make full use of their knowledge and skills, reinforced by a positive employee-management relationship, in a company that helps them balance work and family responsibilities
by Peter Berg,
Relations Industrielles/IndustrialRelations, Vol. 55, No. 1, 1999

The 20% Solution:
Using Rapid Redesign to Create Tomorrow's Organizations Today
- The best comprehensive reading dealing with todayıs critical issues of strategic and tactical organization design
by John J. Cotter, 1995
John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.

"Designing Organizations for High Performance"
- The  Organization Performance Model provides an excellent framework  to merge thinking about the Business Process with  Organizational Assessment and Design
by David P. Hanna,  1988
Addison - Wesley OD Series (paperback  edition)

The adoption of Innovative Work Practices in Service Establishments
- Survey data and speculation about why, among 5 innovative work practices--TQM, self-managed teams, job rotation, job sharing, and flextime--service enterprises are found to be more likely to use job sharing and flextime
by Larry Hunter,
International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 11, June 2000.

Designing a High-Performance Organization:-
 Guide to the Whole-Systems  Approach
- Very understandable and incredibly  comprehensive set of concepts and tools that can aid  "designers" from start-to-implementation
by William  Lytle, 1998;
Block, Petrella, Weisbord,  Inc., Clark, NJ.

See also:
The Flying Starship Simulation
An excellent educational experience for people who are interested in learning about the differences between traditional and high-performance organizations

Starting an Organization Design Effort: A Planning & Preparation Guide,
Block Petrella Weisbord Inc., 1997
Visiting Innovative Work Design Sites: A Guide for Successful Planning,
Block Petrella Weisbord Inc., 1994.
by W.O.Lytle;

Work ReOrganization in an Era of Restructuring: Trends in Diffusion and Effects on Employee Welfare
- Extensive survey results show that HPWO practices continued to diffuse at a rapid rate in the United States between 1992 and 1997, although more slowly for self-managed teams than for other practices; however, HPWO practices were associated with increased layoff rates and no compensation gains, except in unionized workplaces
by Paul Osterman,
Industrial and labor Relations Review, Vol. 53, January 2000.

"Developments in Work Re-Organization in Canada: An Overview"
- Key findings from the literature on workplace re-organization summarized in 10  important lessons, plus the evidence on workplace re-organization in Canada during the 1980's and early  1990's
by the Task Force on Workplace Change, Canadian Labour & Business
Centre, 1994

"Customer Intimacy and Other Value  Disciplines"
- Successful organizations choose a  particular discipline/strategy to provide value to  customers--operational excellence, customer intimacy, or  product leadership--which requires very specific  organizational capabilities, that are potentially fulfilled  through a particular form of High Performance Work  Organization
by Michael Treacy & Fred Wiersema,
Harvard Business Review, January-February 1993, pp.  84-93

Design of Jobs
- A definitive work on the socio-technical perspective to job design as the specification of the contents, methods, and relationships of jobs, so as to satisfy both technology and social-psychological requirements
by Louis E. Davis & James C. Taylor, 1972, Penguin Books.
"Optimizing Organization-Plant Design: A Complementary Structure for Technical and Social Systems"
- Even the simplest of equipment or IT design can have significant human implications and requirements, so that organizational success can be optimized only through a process of comprehensive design that includes, jointly, the technical system and the social system.
by Louis E. Davis, Organizational Dynamics, Autumn 1979, pp. 3-15

"Technology Effects on Job, Work, and Organizational Structure:
  A Contingency View"
- Work in automated technology requires skills in diagnosing and adjusting processes, that are related more to group efforts than to individual jobs, for a heightened response capability based on worker commitment and autonomy.
by Louis E. Davis & James C. Taylor, Volume One: The Quality of Working Life, The Free Press, 1975, pp. 220-243.