Today, information systems are becoming more and more complex with the passage of time, to incorporate all of the organization’s functions, scaling up to the complete enterprise. While these systems are built on the philosophy to incorporate all the engineering principles, that is to ensure that a “technically high quality” product is at hand, built as efficiently as possible, most of these projects initiated for information systems development fail due to reasons other than technical, more towards human failure, organizational failure (Ottens, 2005), legal failure. Researchers hence are more inclined towards understanding these systems as socio-technical systems that involve both the technical facets such as engineering as well as social facets that are essential for its effective functioning. Systems, however complex they may be, require collaboration, organizational commitment, and legal commitment etcetera.
A near-perfect comparison of these differing philosophies shows us different sides to this picture. On one side, both engineering and socio-technical philosophies involve rational and logical elements only, that fall into the laws bounded in Physics. Predictability (Ottens, 2005) is one factor that makes these two philosophies parallel to each other, as both of these fall under rationally and logically defined boundaries. Both of these philosophies also emphasize on systems that are ‘Component-based’, involving different parts of the system that interrelate with each other to ensure effective functioning of the entire system. Both these philosophies are based on the principle that the system, as a large entity, is extremely difficult to manage, and hence can be broken down into small manageable parts.
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