Engineering principles for open socio-technical systems

Document type: Dissertations
Full text:
Author(s): Jenny Lundberg
Title: Engineering principles for open socio-technical systems
Series: Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series
Year: 2011
Issue: 1
Pagination: 121
ISBN: 978-91-7295-183-9
ISSN: 1653-2090
Publisher: Blekinge Institute of Technology
City: Karlskrona
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Computing (Sektionen för datavetenskap och kommunikation)
School of Computing S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: Engineering Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for robust information sharing is the fundamental area of investigation in thesis. Robust workflow based information sharing systems have the potential to be part of robust information infrastructures providing positive effects for the individuals and teams as well as opportunities for societal and economical gains.

Challenges in design and implementation of open socio-technical systems include identifying engineering principles empowering individual and team using the systems as well as supporting flexibility in design and maintenance. Of specific importance are principles supporting semantically correct information sharing. Information sharing in open socio-technical systems is given affordances due to coordination and exchange of services. Approaches ensuring robust semantically correct information sharing and user empowerments are key requirements especially since changes in context, roles and intentions are the rule and not the exception in socio-technical systems.

Empirical observations of behaviours have been important for identifying critical patterns in workflow. A configuration of models and methods under the umbrella Participatory Design has been used including Ethnography and approaches based on Situation Theory, Knowledge Engineering, Interaction Design and Computer Supported Cooperative Work. The results of the configurations of methodologies are context sensitive since the methodologies are domain dependant.

Three cases illustrating engineering support for empowerment of individuals and teams in open sociotechnical systems are presented. Two cases are based on studies performed in Sölvesborg and concerns engineering principles towards empowering individuals with cognitive impairments via ambient assistance. In the third case the focus is on hand-over situations and ontologies/abbreviations assuring semantically correct information sharing in distributed handling of critical emergency calls in Swedish Emergency Service Centres (SOS centres).

The main contributions in this thesis, methodological contributions included, are engineering principles for open socio-technical systems from an empowerments perspective. The principles support understanding of workflows, information flows, interaction models, data models, semantics of information, trust, resilience, validation and training as well as assurance mechanisms in hand-over of critical operations. Identification and validation of key service qualities including mechanisms for improving performance critical tasks of semantics in information sharing are contributions. Service, Agent based and sensor approaches presented are final contributions.
Subject: Human Work Science\Human Computer Interaction
Human Work Science\Participatory Design
Computer Science\Distributed Computing
Keywords: principles, socio-technical systems, semantics, ethnography, empowerment, service, agent, sensor
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-00482