Here is a bold new book that faces up to the challenge in social science: designing social systems to be more efficient, effective, and responsive to societal needs. In the present age of ever more rapid change, creating or changing such systems as businesses, schools, government agencies, communities, and even committees, it is essential. Social Systems Design supplies the tools, with a technology called MAPS – Multivariate Analysis, Participation and Structure.
MAPS is the first comprehensive integration of organization design theories into a practical design technology. Although it is heavily normative, giving guidelines, criteria, and principles to suggest how social system should be designed, it grounds itself in the growing substantive knowledge of psychology, social psychology, sociology, computer science, and the philosophy of science. As any technology of social change must do, MAPS uses both quantitative and behavioral traditions and social and management science. MAPS combines the sort of statistical analysis that can only be done by computers with the clinical skills, judgment, and deliberation over values practiced, for example, by organizational development (OD) specialists.
To date, no other technology purports to do what the MAPS Design Technology does. Reading the book provides an ideal way to confront the critical substantive, methodological, and value issues which inevitably arise in social systems design. This pioneering technology is laying the foundation, in both its shortcomings and successes, for future efforts. Anyone interested in social systems design either theoretically or practically will have to be familiar with it.
Ralph H. Kilmann is Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Millon University and his Ph.D. in Management from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Kilm is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma, he is included in Who’s Who in the East, and he is a co-recipient of an award from the 1976 TIMS College on Planning Competition. He has co-edited the Management of Organization Design: Volumes I and II (Elsevier, 1976) with Louis R. Pondy and Dennis P. Slevin, and has published over 30 articles in such journals as Administrative Science Quarterly, The Columbia Journal of World Business, Academy of Management Journal, Human Relations, California Management Review, Personnel, Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Personality Assessment, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Dr. Kilmann is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Academy of Management, and the Institute of Management Sciences. Is also President of Organizational Design Consultants, Inc., a firm specializing in the application of the MAPS Design Technology.