General engineering principles and systems theory Essay

Engineering and Socio-technical Doctrines

Developing information systems is a originative attempt which requires insight and judgement accomplishments. There are two common attacks which are & amp ; lsquo ; Engineering & A ; rsquo ; and & A ; lsquo ; Socio-technical & A ; rsquo ; used in systems development. Each of these attacks is explained below and a sum-up of the comparing is given afterwards.

Technology has been important in making a cardinal attack for development of information systems and with a driving concern of developing a complex proficient system. Inefficiencies in systems development procedure frequently consequences into debatable proficient systems, efforts to better on the state of affairs have drawn majorly on general technology rules and systems theory. Systems technology, which emphasizes analyzing entire systems without their stray constituents and systems analysis are rooted in the systems theory, they proceed to accomplish a undertaking consistently and bring forth the best system ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ) . They are said to be matching to the traditional life rhythm which has frequently been criticized non to be appropriate when covering with ill-defined demands but systems analysis has developed to put more accent on attempts for analyzing the job country and holding on demands for a satisfactory system as opposed to an optimum solution ( ibid ) .

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The technology attack has grown stronger over clip taking the signifier of different specialised subjects, the best known to be package technology. The purpose of package technology is to alter semi-structured development patterns to a systematic procedure which is effectual, governable and able to better package quality. Despite its significance, pertinence to IS development has been limited because a to the full formal procedure of development as it depicts has been seen by most to be impractical or unwanted for IS development. It has been said to be impractical because of deficiency of formal theories to depict organizational behavior and & A ; lsquo ; formal theoretical accounts to capture the profusion of the application domains & A ; rsquo ; ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993:146 ) . Several attempts have been made to include methods which support human creativeness and user engagement, some of these are usage of DFDs and Prototyping. Overall, though package technology has responded to the demands of human facet of systems development, & A ; lsquo ; its position is still that of the efficient development of a proficient merchandise & A ; rsquo ; ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993:147 ) . Some other signifiers of the technology attack which are aimed at bettering certain facets of system development are Knowledge technology and Human-computer interaction…their attack is still that of technology a proficient system ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ) .

Socio-technical, as another attack to system development, has been defined by Coakes ( 2002:5 ) as & A ; lsquo ; … [ researching ] the relationships and interrelatednesss between the societal and proficient parts of any system & A ; rsquo ; and is controlled by societal alteration and human communicating theories ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ) . It sees IS development procedure as an intercession to better communicating between people and how undertakings are carried out in an administration. As opposed to Engineering, IS is seen as affecting people and non stray proficient concepts ( Tatnall 2003 ; Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ) . Its end is to develop a system with which people can transport out their undertakings efficaciously and accomplish satisfaction and personal development ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ) . Laudon and Laudon ( 2006:28 ) reference that:

In a socio-technical position, the public presentation of a system is optimized when both the engineering and the administration reciprocally adjust to one another until a satisfactory tantrum is obtained.

The socio-technical attack in IS development expresses a combination of practical, ethical and theoretical concerns. The chief practical concern being that IT-based systems frequently fail to convey the needed benefits even though they are good designed due to the fact that & amp ; lsquo ; the societal kineticss of [ an ] administration … may overrule the intended public presentation of the proficient system & A ; rsquo ; ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993: 151 ) . This attack seeks to turn to issues such as opposition to alter towards a new IS in administrations by concentrating on the human demands and societal kineticss all through the procedure of development. The ethical concern is of the impression that workers should besides derive from the benefits the new engineering provides in their workplace in order to advance work environment that is satisfactory ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ; Coakes 2003 ) .

Some of the most widely known presentations of this attack are Participation and Job design. It is suggested that non merely should users be the beginning of demands specification but besides profoundly involved in the procedure of development and & A ; lsquo ; accomplishing effectual engagement has proved a non- fiddling affair in practice… & A ; rsquo ; ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993:154 ) . Land and Hirschheim ( 1983:155 ) place different classs of users who might be affected by a new system straight or indirectly and besides differentiate between two engagement types which are & amp ; lsquo ; engagement in determination devising about the undertaking & A ; rsquo ; and & A ; lsquo ; engagement in the existent analysis and design & A ; rsquo ; . The first could be advisory merely while the 2nd might be advisory, representative or consensus ( ibid. ) . As mentioned earlier, there are troubles to holding user engagement ( Cavaye 1995 ) but should merely function as obstructions to get the better of and non statements in resistance to wider engagement in IS development ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ) . Job design, another signifier of this attack, & A ; lsquo ; leads the development procedure towards reconstituting the work environment where a new information system would be used and aimed at supplying satisfactory work conditions for the employees & A ; rsquo ; ( Avgerou & A ; Cornford 1993 ) . Mumford and Weir ( 1979 ) contribute to this facet by presenting the ETHICS methodological analysis.

Having discussed each of these, a sum-up of the comparing is drawn ( figure 1.0 ) . It is necessary to indicate out the deductions of these attacks on the whole procedure of IS development as they are used as a footing for systems development. Engineering as a difficult systems attack, has dominated in computing machine systems development and consequences into a system that is technically perfect but faced with opposition from the users and could be ignored finally ( Platt & A ; Warwick 1995 ) . This is due to certain premises this attack makes ( Curtis & A ; Graham 2008 ) such as:

  • Engineering perspective applies in all instance and solutions should be mathematically/logically based.
  • Attention to the societal or organizational facets of the system non indispensable.
  • Emphasis on additive job resolution.

An illustration is the instance of Wessex Area Health ( Clarke & A ; Lehaney 2000 ) .

On the otherhand, the socio-technical attack helps to see both the societal and proficient facets of a system ( Laudon & A ; Laudon 2006 ) , reasoning that & amp ; lsquo ; the societal and proficient systems… can non be designed independently of each other & amp ; rsquo ; ( Curtis & A ; Graham 2005:581 ) so with its accent on user engagement, user credence can be achieved thereby ensuing into a success ( Avison & A ; Fitzgerald 2003 ; Coakes 2003 ) , for illustration, as proved by the instance of Bill payment system ( Fisher 2003 ) , the failure and subsequently success of London Ambulance service ( Clarke & A ; Lehaney 2000 ; Grant et al 2010 ) . Avison and Fitzgerald ( 1995 ) besides claim that engagement might ensue in bitterness from either analysts or users.

Information Systems Development Methodology

It is defined as & A ; lsquo ; a aggregation of processs, tools, and certification AIDSs which will assist the systems developers in their attempts to implement a new information system & A ; rsquo ; ( Avison & A ; Fitzgerald 2003:20 ) . There are many methodological analysiss, some of which are ETHICS, SSM, DSDM and they differ from one another largely in footings of aims. The Soft Systems Methodology ( SSM ) will be considered in this essay.

Philosophic root

SSM was introduced by Peter CheckLand with the parts of other research workers in Lancaster University. They started an action research programme by utilizing difficult systems technology as a model in unsuitable fortunes whereby jobs were non clearly defined but this effort failed so SSM was introduced as an option ( Checkland & A ; Scholes 1990 ) . The failure led to the reconsideration of the basicss of systems believing ( ibid. ) and a deep analysis of the basic premises behind this and systems development ( Fitzgerald et al 2002 ) . It was put frontward that & amp ; lsquo ; systems believing takes earnestly the thought of a whole entity which may exhibit belongingss as a individual whole ( & A ; lsquo ; emergent belongingss & A ; rsquo ; ) & A ; rsquo ; and there are two complementary traditions within it viz. the & A ; lsquo ; difficult & A ; rsquo ; tradition which takes the universe as systemic and the & A ; lsquo ; soft & A ; rsquo ; tradition that & amp ; lsquo ; creates the procedure of question as a system & A ; rsquo ; ( Checkland & A ; Scholes 1990:25 ) . Based on this, Checkland and Scholes ( 1990:25 ) refer to SSM as:

a systemic procedure of question which besides happens to do usage of systems theoretical account. It therefore subsumes the difficult attack, which is a particular instance of it, one arising when there is local understanding on some system to be engineered.

They besides claim that to hold a better apprehension of this, the word & A ; lsquo ; holon & A ; rsquo ; should be used give uping the word & A ; lsquo ; system & A ; rsquo ; to mundane linguistic communication and avoiding its usage as a proficient term. SSM uses a specific type of holon which they referred to as Human activity system ( HAS ) , a set of activities that are connected in order to do a purposeful whole, created to run into the nucleus system image demand ( ibid. ) . The HAS recognizes the importance of people in administrations due to the fact that it is necessary to include people in order to understand the existent universe ( Avison & A ; Fitzgerald 2003 ) . Therefore, this methodological analysis is regarded as a soft systems attack which Avison and Fitzgerald ( 2003 ) claim that is the most appropriate for understanding hard job state of affairss such as those in administrations. SSM truly focuses on looking into the organizational issues and ill-structured jobs and so suggestion of solutions which may or may non be computer-based ( Skidmore & A ; Eva 2004 ) .


As mentioned earlier, SSM is capable of analyzing and understanding the complex job state of affairss of an administration, for illustration, its usage in Shell and an Acute infirmary ( Checkland & A ; poulter 2006 ) utilizing a scope of techniques as shown in the seven-stage theoretical account ( Fig 1.1.0 and fig 1.1.1 ) , this makes it suited to analyze the bing issues in AIC limited, a belongings direction company in Nigeria. Though, the methodological analysis does non explicate methods for implementing suggested solutions particularly those affecting a computerised system but it is suggested that it could be used as a front terminal in SD procedure so proceed to utilize a more proficient attack which emphasizes design, development and execution ( Avison & A ; Fitzgerald 2003 ; Platt & A ; Warwick 1995 ) . Based on this restriction, some others raised the thought of associating SSM to bing structured methodological analysiss and came up with suggestions ( Stowel 1985 ; Prior 1990 ; Sawyer 1991 ; Gregory & A ; Merali 1992 ; Miles 1992 ; Savage & A ; Minger 1993 ) , farther concerns raised are that should it take the signifier of grafting SSM to SSD methods or implanting SSD methods in SSM ( Miles 1988 ) ? Miles ( 1988 ) argues that the grafting method could do the benefits of the SSM to be lost for case, SSM evidently supports user engagement from the oncoming ( Mingers 1995 ) .

Obviously, SSM has its noteworthy advantages which makes it suited for the instance of AIC but decidedly non without its failings. Researchs on the usage of SSM in pattern has been conducted ( Mingers & A ; Taylor 1992 ; Brocklesby 1995 ) , some findings in these and the literature by and large are as follows:


  • SSM helps to construction complex job state of affairss in an organized mode with the assistance of specific techniques which makes it a thorough tool to utilize in littered jobs ( Platt & A ; Warwick 1995 ; Mingers & A ; Taylor 1992 ) .
  • The full rhythm of SSM is based on acquisition and supports user engagement ( Mingers 1995 ) .
  • Its attack is holistic by concentrating on wholes instead than reductionist ( Brocklesby 1995 ; Camarinha-Matos & A ; Afsarmanesh 2008 ; Mingers & A ; Taylor 1992 ) .
  • It guides the user to look for a solution which is more than proficient ( Skidmore & A ; Eva 2004 ) .


  • The procedures involved in SSM does non urge a method of promoting wide engagement particularly when it extends towards taking action though it recognizes engagement ( Jackson 2003 ; Khosrow-Pour 2009 ) .
  • SSM does non include methods for planing and implementing solution ( Avison & A ; Fitzgerald 2003 ; Mingers 1995 ) .
  • The existent manner of deducing information and information theoretical accounts from the activities is considered as & A ; lsquo ; ad hoc & A ; rsquo ; due to miss of systematic agencies of finding information needed ( Mingers 1995 ) .
  • SSM merely works good with few people involved ( Bell & A ; Morse 2003 ) , though this favours the instance of AIC but it could be time-consuming ( Mingers & A ; Taylor 1992 ; Keenan & A ; Bustard 2009 ; Sutherland & A ; Morieux 1991 ) and demands high degree of committedness which is normally non easy to accomplish ( Brocklesby 1995 ) .

The Organisation ( AIC )

AIC is a good recognized company specialising in direction of belongingss. It has 3 subdivisions located in Nigeria, one of them serves as the caput office and each of the subdivisions has an operations director and the proprietor is the Pull offing Director of the company. Each subdivision has 8 to 10 Property agents and 1 or 2 comptrollers working under the supervising of the operations director. The belongings agents act as an intermediary between belongings proprietors and searchers so they are responsible for apportioning proprietor ‘s belongingss to searchers and direction by and large. Datas about belongingss, proprietors and searchers are soon kept on paper files and each subdivision has one or two Personal computers.

This concern country is fast turning and the company wants to hike their efficiency in client service bringing. The Managing Director of the company besides felt the demand for enlargement. Some employees think there is demand to better on information handling particularly due to the dissatisfaction of some clients ( proprietors ) with the manner of operation while some are less concerned and merely wish for an addition in wages. The MD has given his full support for a relevant and speedy solution to be implemented in less than a twelvemonth. Therefore, as an IS analyst, the state of affairs will be further expressed and analysed utilizing different patterning techniques suggested by Heeks and Morgan ( 2010a ) and Heeks and Morgan ( 2010b ) .

Problem/opportunity: The job is the uneffective agencies of maintaining records while the chance is the demand for enlargement.

Stakeholder analysis

Clients: Operationss directors, Property proprietors and Property searchers

Actors: Property agents, Accountants

Patron: Managing manager

Owner: Branches, Operations directors

Champion: Managing manager, Operations directors, Property agents

Others: IS analyst

Problem Statement: An uneffective agencies of information managing due to paper-based attack.

Undertaking Rationale: To back up the concern enlargement and take all hinderances.


Environmental Prediction: The system is likely to last long because there are more protagonists and spread out its coverage if successful.

Initial Statement: A system that eliminates the identified possible hinderance to the intended concern enlargement and supports the company desire to better service bringing.

CATWOE Checklist

Root Definition:

A system owned by the Managing Director and used by Operations Managers and Property Agents, which maintains proper record that helps in happening available belongingss for belongings searchers. The system to work under the fiscal restraints of the company and accomplishable in less than a twelvemonth to help the planned concern enlargement.

Undertaking Assessment


Hazard Appraisal: This undertaking, being a little one, is non prone to so many hazards but a really obvious 1 that needs adequate attending is the deficiency of IS experience in the administration history. Others are Management Support and User committedness, the absence of these could ensue into loss of user credence and IS failure finally.

Undertaking precedences: This is the lone major undertaking under consideration and important to the advancement of the company.

Analysis of the current system ( Rich Picture )


  • A belongings searcher can buy or lease a belongings or make both.

Requirements for a solution

  • It is advisable to run the system within a web other than independently so there is need to put up a web.
  • More Personal computers are required.
  • Users need to be given equal preparation.

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