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Welcome toClassic STSD: History, Concepts and Practice In North America 1 Bernard Mohr Innovation Partners International Don de Guerre Concordia University.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome toClassic STSD: History, Concepts and Practice In North America 1 Bernard Mohr Innovation Partners International Don de Guerre Concordia University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome toClassic STSD: History, Concepts and Practice In North America 1 Bernard Mohr Innovation Partners International Don de Guerre Concordia University

2 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Bernard J. Mohr, (co-founder, Innovation Partners International) is a design practitioner, educator and author specializing in performance improvement for complex organizations. Over the last 40 years, his work in the US, Central America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, Canada and the Middle East has focused on strength based Innovation in strategy, organization, leadership, key relationships and work processes and HOW the organization addresses challenges such as merger, rapid expansion, new market demands and sustainability. Recent books include "Appreciative Inquiry: Change At the Speed of Imagination" (Jossey Bass, 2011) and Essentials of Appreciative Inquiry: A Roadmap For Creating Positive Futures (Pegasus Communications, Waltham, USA 2002) and "The Appreciative Inquiry Summit: A Practitioner's Guide for Leading Large-Group Change" (Berrett-Koehler 2003). He can be reached at or Don de Guerre, BA, M.Ed., M.A., Ph.D. After a distinguished international career as a consultant and manager working in the private, public service, and non-profit sectors, Dr. de Guerre is an Associate Professor at Concordia University. His major area of interest is the development of participative governance and organization and the further development of open systems theory. He teaches in the domains of human systems intervention and action research and consulting process The STS Roundtable (STS/RT, Inc.) is a professional association where STS researchers and practitioners come together as a professional learning community. We are a global (not-for-profit) network of business leaders, researchers, trade unionists, academics, managers, consultants, and students who share the values, principles and practices of sociotechnical systems theory and a common interest in developing more humane and effective organizations. The purpose of the Roundtable is to provide an open environment in which to share research, knowledge, and practice to support community learning. The members of this professional learning community continually devote time and energy to advance the connections between the principles of democracy and the social and economic objectives of organizations. Since the 1980's, the STS Roundtable has been an open professional learning community advancing the values, theory and practice that create healthy and powerful work systems that are demonstrably capable and responsible -- better places to work and places that work better. For more information about us, please see our website at The Ulbo de Sitter Institute is a community where academics and practitioners come together to exchange experiences, models, cases and good practices based on the STS design and change theory. The members are researchers, managers, consultants, students and unionist from the Netherlands and Belgium. 2

3 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Acknowledgments Special thanks to the following individuals and groups who have generously contributed materials and content to this presentation: – John Cotter, who has generously shared some of his slides as well as his experience and wisdom and guidance over the years – Concordia University, for making Don DeGuerre available to share his STS knowledge and experience – Innovation Partners International, for making Bernard Mohr available to share his STS knowledge and experience – All the active members of the STS Roundtable and the Ulbo de Sitter Institute, who have given so generously of their time over the years to keep STS alive through thick and thin 3

4 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Is your organization an open sociotechnical system? 4

5 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Our Agenda 5 1)What Is STS Design and Where Did it Come From? 3)STS Design – stories and experiences 2)STS Design Methodology and Tools

6 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Our 2 hour Agenda A.What was Classical STS Design (STSD) and Where Did it Come From? a)The early history of STS: from the UK coal mines to Europe and North America b)The open sociotechnical systems perspective and its implications c)What does it mean to design a sociotechnical system, and who gets involved? d)Is there a one-size-fits-all solution - Principles of STS Design and the STS Paradox B.The Classic 7 Phase STS Design Process (and Tools) 1)Scanning of the business environment Clarify organizational purpose and design scope 2)Structuring and setting up the design process 3)Analyzing the requirements for and functioning of technical and social systems 4)Generating design alternatives 5)Developing a best-fit final design 6)Implementing the design 7)Ongoing renewal C.Classic STS Design – stories (yours/ours) and experiences (yours/ours) 6

7 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre History of STS Design – A North American View Great Britain in the 1950s (Tavistock Institute) Norways Industrial Democracy projects in the mid-1960s UCLA beginning in the late 1960s Procter & Gamble North America in the late 1960s Sweden and Netherlands via Phillips, De Sitter, van Beinum and Univ of Eindhoven in the early 70s … called Work Restructuring UCLA Center for Quality of Working Life in 1975 Application and refinement in Dutch, Scandinavian, and American industry starting in the 1970s 7

8 An Open Sociotechnical System in Its External Environment Feedback Competitors and/or Regulators InvestorsCustomers Technical System Transformation Social System INPUT Materials Information OUTPUT Goods Services Key Concepts STS as a Whole, Open Systems Perspective 8 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don DeGuerre

9 Implications 1.Organizations are complex systems where the relationship (ie the fit) between the parts is as important as the parts themselves. Implying that: the requirements of the social and technical subsystems must be well understood so that this issue of fit can guide organizational and technological choice quality of working life (as defined by those within the system) is an explicit design criterion along with economic and societal reqts 2.Involvement in designing and design outcomes are linked. Implying that: Content Specialists (external and internal) can be part of the design process along with External Stakeholders, BUT those who do the actual day to day work i.e. - the prime users of the new design, should be the prime designers. The same group people design BOTH the social AND Technical system 9 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don DeGuerre

10 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre STSD is an INTENTIONAL DESIGN PROCESS aiming to create organizations that are effective in human, economic and societal terms… it is… Based on Assumption of CHOICE Organizational choice Technological choice 10 A collaborative process for consciously rethinking AND implementing the choices that make up an entire organizational systemincluding business/work processes; jobs and organization structure; management practices, beliefs, and assumptions; and technology to achieve significant breakthroughs in quality, cost, safety, speed, quality of work life and …adaptability. Definition

11 REQUIREMENTS OF THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT ORGANIZATIONAL PURPOSE, VISION Plus SCOPE AND STRUCTURE FOR DESIGNING Development of a best-fit final design TECHNICAL SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS SOCIAL SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (Individual & Orgn) 11 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don DeGuerre DEVELOPMENT And IMPLEMENTATION OF A BEST FIT FINAL DESIGN Implementing the design and ongoing renewal

12 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Areas of Choice in the Design Process 12 Mission and Goals Tools and Equipment Operating Philosophy Vision of Desired Future Design Guidelines, Principles, and Involvement in the Process Process Control and Improvement Horizontal and Vertical Boundaries around Work Units Information FlowAuthority and Responsibility Measure,Rewards and Recognition Processes for People Selection & Development o\ Distribution of Tasks

13 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre 13 Design Activities and Tools ActivityReasonTypical Tools System Scan Agree on ORGANIZATIONAL PURPOSE, VISION Plus SCOPE AND STRUCTURE FOR DESIGNING Stakeholder mapping, Events, Trends and Developments Map; Philosophy Statements Business Environment Analysis (BEA) Clarity on customer requirements, now and in future outside influencers – what they want (now/future) what we give (now) and what we want to give (future) Outside Influencer research and mapping, Customer requirements interviews Technical System Analysis (TSA) Agreement on: Unit Operations for Core Process Inputs, key activities, outputs for each unit operation Key Variances Current and Alternative Variance Controls Process Mapping Variance Matrix Variance Control Tables Social System Analysis (SSA) Understanding of current QWL Understanding of how current structures processes and practices support GAIL and create behaviors Interaction/Role Network Chart GAIL Grid QWL analyses (6 criteria)

14 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre 14 Key Concepts QWL - Designing for Human Beings – A Core Value of STS Design Do people still have these needs? – Elbow room? – Learning on the job? – Variety? – Mutual support and respect? – Meaningfulness? – Desirable future?

15 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Defining STS The STSD Paradox Peoples behavior IS influenced by the design of the systems, structures and processes within which they work However, the primary focus of the STS ORGANIZATION DESIGN process is innovation in structures, systems, policies and practices – the focus is not on changing people (as contrasted with Organization Development interventions seeking to change peoples behavior) 15

16 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Key Definitions and Basic Concepts STS Principles for Designing and for Design Choices 16

17 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre STS Design Process : BASIC STEPS or PHASES 1.High level scan of the business environment to clarify organizational purpose and design scope and structures for and participation in designing 2.Analyzing in Detail: a)The Business Environment (to understand the requirements for technical and social systems) b)Functioning of technical system WRT the Business Environment requirements c)Functioning of social system WRT the Business Environment and QWL requirements 3.Generating design alternatives 4.Developing a best-fit final design 5.Implementing the design 6.Ongoing renewal 17

18 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Technical Analysis: The VARIANCE MATRIX (Nabisco Brands Example) 18

19 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre STS Process and Methodology VARIANCE CONTROL TABLE – Nabisco Brands Key Variance Name of Unit Operation Controlled by Whom (Role) Activities Required to Control Information & Sources of Information Related to Control Activities Suggestions for Job or Organization Redesign? Suggestions for Changes in the Technology? Where Occurs Where Observed Where Controlled No. 10 – Proportion of Ingredients into mix u/oIIIu/oIII IV V VI XVI XVII XXIII XXIV u/oIIIMixerSelects formula. Monitors and Adjusts. Weights Within Tolerances. Feedback from u/o V and XVI re dough performance. Needs info from u/o I and II re materials received and buffer solution strength and temperature. Needs info on previous batch run. u/o I through XVI should be on same team. Training on how materials interact. Instrument to evaluate dough rheology. 19

20 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Superior/ Subordinate Relations Relations Within Work Groups Relations Across Work Groups Relations With Outsiders G Goal Setting Supervisors Convey information top down Results shared, but little participation in goal setting. Supervisors are linked. Others are not. Contact is at the top only. Customers dont feel included in goal setting. A Adaptation Input solicited. Use depends on quality of input. Better planning for change needed. Information is received, but usually after the fact. Changes in other product areas not known until problems arise. I Integratio n Employees expect supervisor to solve all their problems. Good communication. Conflict resolution not satisfying. Frustrating, unclear about how to resolve problems. Little opportunity to work on external issues. Time not available. L Long-Term Development Supervisor key to learning, but not active in personnel development. Informal communication only. Little cross- training, Little awareness of future needs and skills required. STS Process and Methodology Example :This is a summary sheet taken from a multi-page GAIL report at a white collar financial services organization. A completed GAIL report often contained a multi-page description for each of the sixteen cells. 20

21 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre STS Process and Methodology QWL (Measured by 6 Intrinsic Motivators) EFFECTIVE ORG DESIGN HIGH QWL MEETS THE BASIC HUMAN NEEDS OF WORK ELBOW ROOM LEARNING ON THE JOB VARIETY (Autonomy in (a) Setting Goals decision making) (b) Getting Feedback MUTUAL SUPPORT AND RESPECT MEANINGFULNESS (a) Socially Useful (b) See Whole Product DESIRABLE FUTURE OPTIMALOPTIMAL MAXIMALMAXIMAL High Engagement

22 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Sample Cases: Manufacturing Greenfield (Startup) The Organization – A new wallboard plant in New England, 220 employees at full capacity, late 80s Initial Results Obtained – Start-up = On time and 8% under budget (A Corporate "first ever") – Labor Productivity = 50% fewer people. – Quality = Highest Customer Satisfaction Ratings in Division. – Market Share = 150% increase in two years. – Safety = 74% better than Division level. – Operating Costs = Lowest Conversion costs in division. – ** The organization design has been renewed many times and survived multiple changes in corporate ownership and leadership** What we did and what we learned – Content, timeline and the nature of the interventions 22

23 © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don de Guerre Sample Cases: Financial Services Company (Redesign) 23 The Organization – A large financial services company located in the midwest - late 80s employees Initial Results Obtained – Total redesign of mission, operating philosophy, processes, structure, rewards, etc. – Eliminated two layers of management, redesigned all roles including VPs – Created highly empowered self-managing customer-focused service teams organized around customer accounts – one of the first customer-focused designs in FS –Quantum-leap in all standard service performance metrics to the extent that they were abandoned in favor of new metrics 12 months into implementation – Cost of operations reduced 15%, saving millions of dollars over the life of the design – Quality of work environment (QWL) improved from worst to best in company – Success of initial redesign expanded STS to banking operations and redesign of 4000 financial advisors nationwide followed 12 months later – Initial redesign model lasted 10 years and survived 3 changes in management What we did and what we learned – Content, timeline and the nature of the interventions

24 24 Summary 1.STS as a design process…is 1.A primary construct is organizations as open, sociotechnical systems – and the importance of designing with the environment in mind. 2. Choice as a key element in sociotechnical systems design Organizational choice Technological choice 3.Design Principles guide the process vs. a one size fits all solution 4.A key principle is joint optimization A collaborative process for consciously rethinking and implementing the choices that make up an entire organizational systemincluding business/work processes; jobs and organization structure; management practices, beliefs, and assumptions; and technology to achieve significant breakthroughs in performance, involvement, and quality of work life. © 2013 Bernard Mohr & Don DeGuerre


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