• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Sociotechnical Systems

Sociotechnical systems are assemblages of technological, material, cultural, political, and psychological components interwoven together. The operation of technological systems that provide societal goods, such as water, energy, transport, consumer products, and chemicals, depends on how humans process information about the world, interact with each other and with technologies, and translate cultural values into resource use. Technological systems can influence consumption greatly through absorbing social norms, practices, and relationships, helping create the conditions for consumer behavior, and increasing resource inputs. However, consumption studies have seldom looked at sociotechnical systems as an important player in driving and structuring consumption (and vice versa).

The idea of “sociotechnical systems” first appeared during the 1950s when Eric Trist and Ken Bamforth at the Tavistock Institute in London studied why British industry ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles