The Scope for Social Impact in Engineering Outcomes: A Diagrammatic Aid to Analysis

TitleThe Scope for Social Impact in Engineering Outcomes: A Diagrammatic Aid to Analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsVincenti, W. G.
Secondary TitleSocial Studies of Science
Abstract

This Note presents ideas, and a resulting diagram, for use in analysis of social impact in the outcomes of engineering design. The diagram shows the degree of technical constraint in a design problem as a function of the independent variables type of design (radical to normal) and level of hierarchy within a systematic device (upper to lower). It is argued that technical constraint is greatest in normal design at the lower levels of hierarchy. On the (plausible) assumption that scope for social impact tends to decrease as technical constraint increases, these ideas have implications for the social study of technology.

URLhttp://sss.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/4/761