Effective systems design requires not only technical expertise but a broad understanding of organisations, their people, structures and environments. This chapter argues that a participative design process may go some way to achieving this understanding, and in creating new systems which are both productive for the organisation, and satisfying for users. The designer's dream of using computers to monitor production as a whole is slowly becoming a reality. The introduction of computerised technology has produced many recent examples of resistance and it would seem that, within organisations, managerial resistance in this area has been a much more significant factor than any 'worker' resistance. In fact, many theorists argue that the opportunities presented by information technology may only be grasped by dealing with this 'total organisation'. The choice made, while enabling a new technology to be effectively exploited, simultaneously threaten, the existing social system.