Potential is change analysis: a socio-technical approach

Christine Welch, Moufida Sadok

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper discusses IS analysis and design as one example of purposeful change in a human activity system, embracing both technical and social aspects of work design. Organizations may be regarded as emergent open systems, subsisting through on-going interactions of the individuals who act within them. It follows that holistic approaches to systems analysis are needed, in which individual actors are empowered to contribute their tacit understandings of contextual dependencies inherent within their work situations. Appropriate tools and techniques are required to surface this contextual knowledge and to support design of total work systems, not just technological solutions. The paper puts forward suggestions for such techniques, and goes on to discuss ways in which holistic, critical and socio-technical methods may be combined in order to support enhanced systems change processes. An empirical study is reported, which was used to support potential change analysis in 26 companies from a variety of business domains. Our findings further support the conclusion that a socio-technical, change perspective is beneficial in supporting design of useful and usable information systems.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2016
EventEuropean Conference on Information Systems: Information Systems as a Global Gateway - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 12 Jun 201615 Jun 2016


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Information Systems
Abbreviated titleECIS 2016
Internet address


  • change management
  • contextual dependencies
  • information systems analysis
  • socio-technical design


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