Call for PhD/MSc Workshop: “Researching Sociotechnical Systems”

“Designing Collaborative Ecosystems”

2017 Annual STS Roundtable & Global STS Design Network in partnership with Rutgers’ Center for Collaboration in Work & Society and Rutgers’ Center for Work & Health

Rutgers University: September 12—15, 2017

Pre-conference workshops: September 12, 2017

Pre-conference Workshop for PhD and MSc students

“Researching Sociotechnical Systems”

The future of sociotechnical systems (STS) research and design is in the hands of the younger generation. STS is an approach to complex organizational work design with a shared emphasis on achievement of both excellence in performance and quality in people’s work

lives. Investing in the next generation of researchers is an important instrument to increase the quality of STS research, and to promote further theoretical development of STS concepts.

Objective of the workshop

The objective of the workshop is to help PhD and Masters students design and execute their dissertation plans and provide them with feedback from senior academics and from the other participants. Graduate students in every stage of their dissertation research are welcome to participate. The call is aimed at students whose research is STS based; yet students researching organizations or organizational networks from other perspectives, who are interested in the possible added value of an STS approach to their research, are also very welcome. Possible research topics include work design, teamwork, organizational networks, business ecosystems, digital transformation, automation, management, task  division, coordination, worker participation, collaboration, governance, quality of working life, and organizational performance. Possible research settings include, but are not limited to: health and social care, information technology, manufacturing, education, public sector and unions. The focus of the workshop is on ‘doing research’, by addressing STS and organization design issues in a scientifically grounded way. The workshop offers PhD and Masters students a unique possibility to present and discuss, receive feedback, and exchange comments and views on their research in an inspiring community of fellow graduate students and experienced researchers active in the Global STS Design Network. The Roundtable is pleased to provide this workshop at NO charge to successful applicants.

Outline of the workshop

The half-day workshop will start with a brief keynote presentation on “Researching  Sociotechnical Systems”. The workshop is organized primarily around participative interaction. The participants are expected to write a short paper on their research in advance, and act as active contributors. Each short paper will be assigned to a fellow  student and to a senior discussant. Participants will be asked to present their short paper after which the two discussants will lead a group discussion.

The following scholars organize the workshop and will participate as discussants. Other names of discussants will be added later.

– Ezra Dessers, Assistant Professor, Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven, Belgium.

– Adrienne E. Eaton, Professor, Labor Studies & Employment Relations Department, Rutgers University, USA.

– Don De Guerre, Associate Professor, Applied Human Sciences, Concordia University, Canada.

Due date for application is June 15, 2017

Please submit your application for participation in the workshop by sending (1) a motivation letter, explaining the topic of your research, and what you expect to learn from the workshop, and (2) a short paper (2500 words max), in which you either present an overview of your dissertation plan, or focus on a specific part of your research (e.g. research questions, conceptual model, case description, preliminary results, etc.). Submissions should be sent by email, no later than June 15, 2017. The submissions will be reviewed, and notification of the decision can be expected by June 30, 2017. All accepted short papers will be published on the STS Roundtable website. Interested  participants will be invited to write a contribution for a forthcoming book on organizational networks in health and social care. In addition to the workshop, participants can submit a proposal for a poster at the conference.

Workshops and conference

The 2017 Annual STS Roundtable & Global STS Design Network conference, in partnership with Rutgers’ Center for Collaboration in Work & Society and Rutgers’ Center for Work & Health, will be held at Rutgers University: September 12—15, 2017—see:


The workshop is part of the pre-conference workshops, which will also be held at Rutgers University: September 12, 2017. We would encourage all workshop participants to join us for the entire conference if possible so everyone can benefit from ongoing dialogue throughout the conference with academics, practitioners, union leaders and managers. A reduced conference fee is available for students. If necessary, students may also apply for financial support – contact us.

Share Button

April 5th: Designing Adaptive Ecosystems

Join Don de Guerre and Peter Aughton in this webinar that will help you better understand the ecosystem model and how to redesign your organization. 

This seminar will discuss the design of business ecosystems using OST and its methods. To begin the conversation, Peter  Aughton will present his recent work with Merrelyn Emery, and the rationale and process of setting up a healthcare ecosystem.

Join the Socio Technical Systems community and learn more about Designing Adaptive Ecosystems.

Share Button

An idea can change everything

This week I had the opportunity to participate in a “preview” of  the webinar  Applying Social-Political-Technical Design to any Purpose no Matter How Complex with Bill Smith, and I can say, I’m truly excited about it!

Bill’s ideas are really innovative, and I’m really looking forward to hear more about how every system can be understood in terms of purpose and power, and how we can design more effective interventions.  Join the Socio Technical Systems community on March 22nd at noon EST!


Webinar Invitation


Share Button

Webinar Announcement – March 22nd

Mark this date: March 22nd, 12.00 to 1.30 EST

Applying Social-Political-Technical Design to any Purpose no Matter How Complex

Share Button

2017 Roundtable – Call for Proposals

We want to hear from you!


The 2017 Annual STS Roundtable & Global STS Design Network date is getting closer and we want to invite you to share with us your ideas about

Designing Collaborative Ecosystems


either in the form of a Presentation or a Case Study Workshop.

Here you can find all the relevant details to submit your ideas.

Please, send us your  Ideas for Proposals before April 15th, 2017, and help us maximize the active participation of Roundtable attendees, through  interactive group sessions and deliberations.

Share Button


Only a Ten Hour Week 

is the book written by our colleague Eli Berniker, who shared with us a summary  of it during our meeting in San Francisco.

As many of you may know, Eli is professor emeritus with Pacific Lutheran University, where he taught operations management and systems. His research has been in the field of organization design with a particular focus on the challenges of operating highly complex technical systems.

Eli has designed production systems in the US, and factories and service operations for kibbutzim in Israel. He taught Sociotechnical Systems Design at graduate programs in the US and Europe. Eli has consulted with large and small enterprises in the US, Canada, and Israel. He and his wife Frances reside in Puyallup, Washington.

To buy this book, please, go to this link:


This is a message from Eli: 


Only a Ten Hour Week: Architecture for a Sustainable Society of Plenty

The book is published after these many years of effort and expense. It is a call for organizational designers to expand their concerns and practice to include sustaining the human habitat. We are necessary contributors to the pursuit of world-wide sustainability.  

My book is optimistic and practical. I hope it provides a useful toolkit for a sustainable future. I am serious about the ten-hour week and provide data and analyses to support that estimate.

Emery and Trist called for a Social Ecology recognizing that eventually organization design must evolve to designing the societal environment of human work organizations. The impetus for recent progress has been the challenges posed by the sustainability.

The nexus between STS and worldwide sustainability is the job. Everywhere, nations are seeking to increase employment in jobs exactly when sustainability calls for reducing our ecological footprint.

The essence of the job is to be expendable. Emery noted that jobs are defined so that each individual can be held accountable for their performance, i.e. be replaced. Worker priorities must be to keep their jobs, not a sustainable habitat.

Thus, transcending the job, as the core mode of work engagement, is a necessary component of any path towards world-wide sustainability. Those Durham coal miners who asked for a “common pay chit” became, in effect, a team based cooperative. They transcended “jobs” and were remarkably productive. The book develops models for all productive organizations, however owned, to transcend jobs and sustain their members.

What is new? Productive capitalism has created a world of plenty in an era when financial capitalism requires scarcity. Plenty is sustainable; scarcity is unsustainable. Maintaining scarcity requires enormous waste and vast overhead in all of our organizations.

When we meet all of humanity’s needs in ten hours of work a week, our ecological footprint will shrink dramatically.

Sustainable productive organizations need sustainable communities. The book draws upon Theoretical Ecology to both explain the failure of our communities and propose models for viable families, food security, and sustainable communities.

Models, not designs. We all know design requires a focus on the uniqueness of each organization, community and their environments.  

The book is an exercise in Social Ecology developing architectural models for sustainable productive organizations and sustainable communities.

Social Ecology is necessarily an eclectic discipline that must integrate the organizational sciences, systems theory, economics, and ecological principles. This expands the horizon of practical organizational and community design possibilities. I present a coherent integration that represents a horizon with many more adjacent possibilities. I call it a practical utopia.  

For more information, I invite you to explore the Contents and Glossary and availability on the web site:

Please order it at the CreateSpace website.  The Kindle version is in process.

Cost:    US $ 24.95  Can$33.00

Create Space:

It is also available at Amazon website: North America, Europe, England, but I’d like to ask you to please order it through CreateSpace website.


Share Button

Webinar: Design and the Expression of Human Aspirations

Join our colleagues Don de Guerre and Bernard Mohr in this free webinar/dialogue for Plexus Institute, tomorrow  Friday Jan 13 at 1 pm EST.

Design and the Expression of Human Aspirations”


When people who work in organizations help create the design and structures that align with organizational purpose and values, the result can be centers of creative energy that are also productive and enjoyable places to work.

Bernard Mohr, who notes design is a verb and a noun, is co-author of  a new book, Co-Creating Humane and Innovative Organizations. His colleague Donald de Guerre, who believes workplace environments impact society at large, wrote the book’s chapter  “Open System Theory and the Two-Stage Model of Adaptive Action.”  De Guerre writs that treating workers as cogs in a big impersonal machine begins a process that “over time creates a dissociated superficial society in which fewer and fewer people vote and we are vulnerable to a new kind of feudalism.”

Join this provocative conversation!


Or paste link below into your browser
Bernard Mohr  is a change strategist, design practitioner, thinking partner and author and speaker on joyful and innovative workplaces. His clients have included global R&D corporations, governments and organizations in healthcare and post secondary education. His areas of expertise include change strategy in large, complex organizations seeking to become more agile, innovative and purpose driven through greater engagement of their people’s strengths. His work draws on socio-technical systems principles, design thinking, appreciative inquiry and large group processes. He is the author of five books and numerous articles on workplace innovation, quality and effectiveness. He earned an EdM degree for the University of Toronto and a Diploma in Human Resource Management form Columbia University.
Donald de Guerre is a professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University  in Montreal where he teaches human systems intervention in graduate and undergraduate programs. He was previously manager of organizational effectiveness at Syncrude Canada Ltd, where he led a total organization in environments redesign process.  He has also worked internationally on development of democratic organizations in various industries and economic sectors.   He earned a PhD in human and organizational systems and a MA degree in organizational development from the Fielding Graduate Institute.
Share Button

My reflections on SF 2016

It seems like yesterday but almost 3 months have passed since our meeting in San Francisco.  I’d like to share my experience and invite you to send us your own reflections. We would love to share them with the rest of the members of the Socio Technical Systems Roundtable.

You’ll find my reflections, as well as Adam’s and Sonja’s insights in this file, which can also be found with the rest of the reflections, on this page. 

All the best to you in this 2017!


Share Button

Webinar Announcement

How to help trade union organizations evolve in their own eco-systems and seek out new forms of alliances and the required changes to their own organization design?

What can we learn about this from Socio Technical Systems theory and practices, from recent initiatives such as the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI)?

What are the useful learnings (principles, tools and methods)?

Join us this January 18th, 12.00 pm EST, to discuss with Kevin Boyle and Ike Overdiep

Employees voice in the design of innovative and humane organizations: tools, good practices and necessary skills

where we will explore ways of engaging employees and their representative organizations (trade unions, works councils) in the design of their workplace.

To find  more information about the webinar, and to sign-up, please, click here.  This webinar is free for active members of the Global STS -D Network.

Share Button

Webinar reminder

This is a reminder for tomorrow’s webinar

“Hindsight, Insight and Foresight: What is the Future of SocioTechnical Systems Design”

This webinar is free to all active members of the Global STS-D Network. To read more and sign-up for the webinar, please click here.  And to know more about the book and order it, please visit this page.

We would love to hear from you! Join us on November 8th from 12.00 pm to 1.30 pm EST, and share with us your thoughts and reflections on the evolution of organization design and work systems.

If you have already signed-up, we will be sending you the link to the session shortly.


Share Button

Co-Founder of the Global STS Design Network