A major cause of the slow adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies by U.S. industry, and the disappointing performance gains from such technologies, is the failure to adapt oreganizations and work practices to the new technologies. This article proposes "sociotechnical systems" as a framework for examining the organizational implications of new manufacturing systems, and as a tool for guiding the change process. The sociotechnical systems approach suggests that different new manufacturing technologies have different implications for work design and organizational structure and systems which are likely to necessitate a realignment of the entire organization. Also different technologies are suited to different external environments.
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