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Social Systems Engineering

Book Description

Uniquely reflects an engineering view to social systems in a wide variety of contexts of application

Social Systems Engineering: The Design of Complexity brings together a wide variety of application approaches to social systems from an engineering viewpoint. The book defines a social system as any complex system formed by human beings. Focus is given to the importance of systems intervention design for specific and singular settings, the possibilities of engineering thinking and methods, the use of computational models in particular contexts, and the development of portfolios of solutions. Furthermore, this book considers both technical, human and social perspectives, which are crucial to solving complex problems.

Social Systems Engineering: The Design of Complexity provides modelling examples to explore the design aspect of social systems. Various applications are explored in a variety of areas, such as urban systems, health care systems, socio-economic systems, and environmental systems. It covers important topics such as organizational design, modelling and intervention in socio-economic systems, participatory and/or community-based modelling, application of systems engineering tools to social problems, applications of computational behavioral modeling, computational modelling and management of complexity, and more. 

  • Highlights an engineering view to social systems (as opposed to a “scientific” view) that stresses the importance of systems intervention design for specific and singular settings
  • Divulges works where the design, re-design, and transformation of social systems constitute the main aim, and where joint considerations of both technical and social perspectives are deemed important in solving social problems
  • Features an array of applied cases that illustrate the application of social systems engineering in different domains

Social Systems Engineering: The Design of Complexity is an excellent text for academics and graduate students in engineering and social science—specifically, economists, political scientists, anthropologists, and management scientists with an interest in finding systematic ways to intervene and improve social systems.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. List of Contributors
  4. Preface
  5. Introduction: The Why, What and How of Social Systems Engineering
    1. The Very Idea
    2. Epistemic Notions on the Engineering of Social Systems
    3. Using Engineering Methods
    4. Into Real‐World Applications
    5. References
  6. Part I: Social Systems Engineering: The Very Idea
    1. 1 Compromised Exactness and the Rationality of Engineering
      1. 1.1 Introduction
      2. 1.2 The Historical Context
      3. 1.3 Science and Engineering: Distinctive Rationalities
      4. 1.4 ‘Compromised Exactness’: Design in Engineering
      5. 1.5 Engineering Social Systems?
      6. References
    2. 2 Uncertainty in the Design and Maintenance of Social Systems
      1. 2.1 Introduction
      2. 2.2 Uncertainties in Simple and Complicated Engineered Systems
      3. 2.3 Control Volume and Uncertainty
      4. 2.4 Engineering Analysis and Uncertainty in Complex Systems
      5. 2.5 Uncertainty in Social Systems Engineering
      6. 2.6 Conclusions
      7. References
    3. 3 System Farming
      1. 3.1 Introduction
      2. 3.2 Uncertainty, Complexity and Emergence
      3. 3.3 Science and Engineering Approaches
      4. 3.4 Responses to CSS Complexity
      5. 3.5 Towards Farming Systems
      6. 3.6 Conclusion
      7. References
    4. 4 Policy between Evolution and Engineering
      1. 4.1 Introduction: Individual and Social System
      2. 4.2 Policy – Concept and Process
      3. 4.3 Human Actors: Perception, Policy and Action
      4. 4.4 Artefacts
      5. 4.5 Engineering and Evolution: From External to Internal Selection
      6. 4.6 Policy between Cultural Evolution and Engineering
      7. 4.7 Conclusions and Outlook
      8. Appendix: Brief Overview of the Policy Literature
      9. References
    5. 5 ‘Friend’ versus ‘Electronic Friend’
      1. References
  7. Part II: Methodologies and Tools
    1. 6 Interactive Visualizations for Supporting Decision‐Making in Complex Socio‐technical Systems
      1. 6.1 Introduction
      2. 6.2 Policy Flight Simulators
      3. 6.3 Application 1 – Hospital Consolidation
      4. 6.4 Application 2 – Enterprise Diagnostics
      5. 6.5 Conclusions
      6. References
    2. 7 Developing Agent‐Based Simulation Models for Social Systems Engineering Studies: A Novel Framework and its Application to Modelling Peacebuilding Activities
      1. 7.1 Introduction
      2. 7.2 Background
      3. 7.3 Framework
      4. 7.4 Illustrative Example of Applying the Framework
      5. 7.5 Conclusions
      6. References
    3. 8 Using Actor‐Network Theory in Agent‐Based Modelling
      1. 8.1 Introduction
      2. 8.2 Agent‐Based Modelling
      3. 8.3 Actor‐Network Theory
      4. 8.4 Towards an ANT‐Based Approach to ABM
      5. 8.5 Design Guidelines
      6. 8.6 The Case of WEEE Management
      7. 8.7 Conclusions
      8. References
    4. 9 Engineering the Process of Institutional Innovation in Contested Territory
      1. 9.1 Introduction
      2. 9.2 Can Cyber Security and Risk be Quantified?
      3. 9.3 Social Processes of Innovation in Pre‐paradigmatic Fields
      4. 9.4 A Computational Model of Innovation
      5. 9.5 Discussion
      6. Acknowledgements
      7. References
  8. Part III: Cases and Applications
    1. 10 Agent‐Based Explorations of Environmental Consumption in Segregated Networks
      1. 10.1 Introduction
      2. 10.2 Model Overview
      3. 10.3 Results
      4. 10.4 Conclusion
      5. Acknowledgements
      6. References
    2. 11 Modelling in the ‘Muddled Middle’: A Case Study of Water Service Delivery in Post‐Apartheid South Africa
      1. 11.1 Introduction
      2. 11.2 The Case Study
      3. 11.3 Contextualizing Modelling in the ‘Muddled Middle’ in the Water Sector
      4. 11.4 Methods
      5. 11.5 Results
      6. 11.6 Discussion
      7. Acknowledgements
      8. References
    3. 12 Holistic System Design: The Oncology Carinthia Study
      1. 12.1 The Challenge: Holistic System Design
      2. 12.2 Methodology
      3. 12.3 Introduction to the Case Study: Oncology Carinthia
      4. 12.4 Insights, Teachings and Implications
      5. Acknowledgements
      6. Appendix: Mathematical Representations for Figures 12.5, 12.6 and 12.7
      7. References
    4. 13 Reinforcing the Social in Social Systems Engineering – Lessons Learnt from Smart City Projects in the United Kingdom
      1. 13.1 Introduction
      2. 13.2 Methodology
      3. 13.3 Case Studies
      4. 13.4 Discussion
      5. 13.5 Conclusion
      6. References
  9. Index
  10. End User License Agreement