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A Systemic Approach to Systems of Practices in Engineering Projects


  • Andrés Esteban Acero López Universidad de los Andes


The engineer's work is based on the conception, design, and implementation of artefact creation and improvement. These devices are nested in an economic, social, environmental, and cultural operation, on which to think what is better and worse makes sense. The difference with other professions is the direct responsibility for thinking and designing to solve problems in social systems, in most cases without contemplating the dynamics of the environment or the cultures receiving these solutions. To solve this problem, there are different theories that, from critical visions, try to reformulate the teaching and practice of engineering in social and environmental contexts of vulnerability. Then, the use of systemic models would allow us to anticipate, based on an understanding of the social system and its dynamics, solutions based on possible scenarios. Through understanding the characteristics and structures of the engineering systems of practices as human activity systems and conveying it through a systemic model, this article explores a novel approach to the problem of social justice design in engineering. The results show us that there are five possible categories of engineering practices associated with working with communities, based on intellectual work intensity and the engineer's social engagement. In addition, causal loops that reinforce or affect the application of these practices were identified and used as leverage points within the systems of practices structure.

Author Biography

Andrés Esteban Acero López, Universidad de los Andes

PhD Student on Engineering Universidad de los Andes Bogotá D.C., Colombia