Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine a unique sociotechnical system in its historical context to better understand and appreciate how a naturalistic organization enacted five key characteristics identified as critical to sociotechnical systems by theorists hundreds of years after the fact. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents an examination of the history and context of this unique method of organizing. The literature of sociotechnical systems was examined and five guiding principles are identified which provide the framework for this evaluation. Findings – A sociotechnical system with naturalistic origins is identified, described, and discussed; providing fresh insights into the nature of sociotechnical systems and there enactment. Originality/value – This is a unique case not previously identified in the literature of management and organizations. It should be of particular interest to scholars interested in sociotechnical systems.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 11, 2008
Keywords: Management history; Sociotechnical change; Mining; United States of America