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The Business of Systems Integration$
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Andrea Prencipe, Andrew Davies, and Michael Hobday

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263233

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263233.001.0001

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Systems Integration and the Social Solution of Technical Problems in Complex Systems

Systems Integration and the Social Solution of Technical Problems in Complex Systems

Chapter:
(p.35) 3 Systems Integration and the Social Solution of Technical Problems in Complex Systems
Source:
The Business of Systems Integration
Author(s):

Stephen. B Johnson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263233.003.0003

As has been shown in books such as Charles Perrow's Normal Accidents, it is difficult to build reliable complex technologies. The primary reasons revolve around the communication of deep and heterogeneous information between design engineers, compounded by the difficulty of assuring foolproof manufacturing and integration of thousands of components. This chapter will show that most technical failures ultimately result from human error or miscommunication, and that the solutions to these problems, including systems integration, are likewise social in nature. Both engineering and historical analysis are used to point to the social basis of failure and dependability.

Keywords:   defence industry, complex weapons, human-machine interaction, technical failure, miscommunication, engineering

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