Socio-Technical Systems and Organizational Values

Modern organizations define themselves using statements of vision. They state their vision in terms of human resources and technology, a socio-technical view. Modern organizations also define themselves in terms of values. New employees entering the organization learn the value system from employees with longevity in it. How organizations incorporate socio-technical systems as a reinforcement tool of their value system is the focus of this paper.


In business, small and large, values determine course the business sets for itself. Yukl (2006) defines values as key statements of an organization. The value statement is ideological, what the organization considers important. Many values find their way into organizations including customer service, innovation, satisfaction of internal and external constituents, and excellence. Yulk’s view of values suggests something deeper. Organizational values and value creation are the soul of competitive edge, competitive advantage.

Hill and Jones (1998) write of management values as statements of how managers will conduct themselves and how they will do business. Managers in high performing businesses conduct themselves with stakeholders in mind. Winston (2002) suggests that high performing leaders accept the values of the organization as being of higher consequence and importance.


Values of an organization (customer service, innovation, satisfaction) imply an organization is a system. Senge (1990) tells us that organizations are organic systems of interconnected and interrelated sub-groups. This suggests more than brick and mortar structures, it suggests organizations of people, technology, and social interaction. Technology, according to Davis (1996), is a “conceptual bridge” between science and economics. This link gives form to how organizations manage. Conversely, Wren (2005) presents the view of technological change being disturbing to the social system of an organization. Socio-technical systems offer leverage to dispel the disturbing nature of change.

Socio-Technical Systems

Lee (2000) explains social of the socio-technical systems as the habitual attitudes of people. He includes the relationships between people with their values and behavioral styles. He also describes it as the formal power structure identified using traditional organizational charts. However, he continues with the aspect of an informal power structure based on influence and knowledge. The technical system makes up second part of the dyad. This system, according to Lee (2000), is “machinery, processes, procedures and a physical arrangement.”

A socio-technical system, abbreviated STS for the remainder of this paper, is people and technology blended. Yet, this is a much too simple definition. Some elements of STS are closely interrelated; therefore, it is not easy to distinguished items within a STS as purely technical or purely social. Aldridge (2004) explains STS as approaching organizational work groups as social systems and macro social systems. A third level of work observed is primary work systems. The primary work system according to Aldridge is one or more work units involved in face-to-face work. Work units collaborate jointly and have support of management, relevant technology, resources, and workplace specialists. Aldridge includes the writings of Trist (1981) when defining macro social systems, “…macro social systems include systems in communities and entire business sectors as well …

Social Stratification In United States

Social stratification:

When we speak of social stratification we mean inequality between various groups of people. Inequality exists in all sorts of societies and cultures. Societies are consisted of layers that are hierarchical.

The four basic stratification systems are:

1) slavery

2) caste

3) estate

4) class.

Stratification systems of slavery, caste and estate have been demolished in modern societies except some tribal societies.

The social class system is mainly a description of how scarce resources (wealth, income, education and occupation) are distributed in society. In other words Class could be explained as an indication of the positions a person may occupy within society, positions which are not equal.Thus, in order to analysis social classes in a society, it is necessary to explain that how these resources are distributed and make social classes.

In spite of the fact that some scholars argue that in developed countries, inequality has reduced rather than previous societies but, social stratification, inequality and class conflict have increasing rate today. In the United States Inequality between rich and poor has increased to the extent that the gap among them is larger than any point in the past 75 years. United States has the largest wealth disparity of any industrialized nation in the world and this disparity is growing larger every year.

In the United States, income is obviously one important scarce resource. Clearly, it is occupation that provides income, and it is education that determines the sort of occupation. At the more extent level, income is related to life consequences, such as the quality and quantity of education, health care, and housing one obtains, and even the how long one lives. So, there is interrelationship between accesses to each of these sources.

in the United States individual income depends on educational characteristics; in 2005 most people with doctorate and professional degrees were in top 15% of income earners. Those with Bachelor degrees had incomes considerably above the national median and people with college degree had less income.

The noticeable point is that, while the population of the United States is becoming increasingly educated on all levels, the conspicuous link between income and educational attainment remains.

Another point is that tertiary education is rarely free; education in elite private colleges for a four year program costs $120,000 approximately. While public colleges and universities costs much less but they are not free. Scholarships and low interest loans by government and universities are available too, but still the cost of education is high for many people.

Overall, educational attainment serves as one of the most essential class feature of most Americans, which is directly linked to income and occupation.

On one hand occupational status is consequence of educational attainment, personal or family income and on the other hand it defines access to other resources including income and health.

Low-wage jobs are associated with those people who have less education. Workers in these areas are unskilled because it does not require education in order to perform these jobs. But, White …