There has been no attempt in this introduction to put forward a particular method for dealing with these challenges nor to assess the full contribution of the articles in this issue. This outline and discussion has been intended merely to stimulate interdisciplinary debate and provide some of the background to assist in making this possible. A full account would at least have involved a broader review of the background of McLoughlin and Aicholzer and Schienstock in developments within the industrial sociology or industrial relations discipline. Their contributions do, however, provide a good introduction to the traditions within which they are working and so it is not necessary to provide more information here. It is nevertheless important to note in McLoughlin's case that his analysis of "technological systems" and "system architectures" is based on earlier work by McLoughlin and his colleagues, cited in the article, on the complex nature of "engineering systems" and the importance of taking this complexity into account in any discussion of "the impact" of "technology" on organisation. If the result of this issue is the stimulation of system designers to read further in such areas or the encouragement of industrial sociologists to become more involved in research directed towards human-oriented system design then it will have served its purpose.