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A Framework for Science and Technology Policy

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1 Author(s)

Science by itself has no impact on society. Its impact is mediated through the professions, all of which are concerned with design in some sense. Science and technology are both option-generating processes, and the options have a high mortality. It is only the application of technology in a replicative process that is option-choosing and commits us to its social consequences. Social systems do not conform to traditional systems analysis. They do not have single objective functions. They exhibit conflicting and internally inconsistent goals. Systems analysis which aims to incorporate society as part of the system must incorporate these conflicts and inconsistencies as part of the analysis. Paretian environmental analysis and Allison's models of governmental decision-making are described as illustrating how the concepts of systems analysis might be broadened to take into account the response of social groups and bureaucratic structures to technocratic plans. If engineers are to bring systems thinking to bear on social problems, they must learn how to incorporate social and political theory into their analytical framework ab initio.

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Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:SMC-2 ,  Issue: 5 )