Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Women's Cyber Monday Deals Week Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer mithc mithc mithc  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Shop Now HTL

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Plans and Situated Actions: The Problem of Human-Machine Communication (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) 2nd Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521337397
ISBN-10: 0521337399
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.05
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
More Buying Choices
6 New from $80.64 18 Used from $19.72

Deals in Books

Editorial Reviews


"Plans and Situated Actions is a substantive book. It has somthing important to say both to designers of interactive computer systems and to cognitive scientists who wish to understand communication either between people or between people and machines." Contemporary Psychology

"...a genuine pleasure to see a book that makes a real contribution to cognitive science by way of an anthropological analysis of interaction." American Anthropologist

Book Description

A compelling case for the re-examination of interface design models is presented by this text's assertion that human behavior is not taken into account in the planning model generally favored by artificial intelligence.

Product Details

  • Series: Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives
  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (December 25, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521337399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521337397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,313,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 6 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sandro on June 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is THE book to start with if anybody is interested in studying interaction design. In a time everybody calls themselves an interaction designer, it's a highly recommended reading to learn there's more to interaction than simply large colourful buttons... Based on an ethnomethodological perspective, Suchman does a brilliant job in analysing users' interactions with an advanced Xerox machine, and putting forth an interesting critique of classical AI concepts. It's highly recommended for anybody interested in Human-Computer Communication and interaction design.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tom Gray on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding book. The insight that showed the power of the idea of `situated action' goes far beyond the realm of interactive design or even human computer interaction in its entirety. It is a fundamental solution to the problem of facing complexity and contingency. Its implications are widespread. This book was published in the 1987 when during the last days of classical AI. This is one of the seminal books that showed the inadequacies of the classical formulation. Indeed it showed a new and much more way of achieving the goals that classical AI set for itself and failed. Despite its age the ides in this book are still fresh and important.
. Absolute certainty is impossible and the quest for it is costly and futile. Instead of trying to overcome the uncertainty that is in the world, the system designer should embrace it and use it as a tool to solve the problems that it creates.
This is a book that should be read by anyone who has set the task for themselves of developing any system that must function in an uncertain environment. In short this is a book that should be read by anyone who is developing a system that will have to function within the real world
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a reader on May 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is not for everyone. Suchman makes connections between AI, HCI and the sociological areas of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (EM/CA) - connections that have been very visible and influential in subsequent HCI and CSCW research. If you don't have any background in these sociological areas, it will take some work to read it.

That said, I think this book is reasonably accessible, and certainly more so than has been suggested by some reviewers. Suchman was writing to counter a prevalent mindset in the AI community of the time. Basically, Chapters 2 and 3 set up a technical and philosophical strawman (human action as the execution of plans), Chapters 4 and 5 provide an explanation of some necessary theoretical background, and the rest is an analysis of interaction in the context of these theories that serves to knock down the strawman. It's fairly hard to have a more clear and logical organization than that. There's no part of that organization that could be left out and still have the book make sense.

Furthermore, by comparison, the theoretical parts of this book should be easier for the uninitiated to read than are Garfinkel's writings on ethnomethodology (or most CA writings by almost anyone). They may or may not do justice to those ideas, but that's a separate question. And for someone with any background at all in these areas (though as suggested by other reviewers, this does not include a huge number of people), this book should be a very straightforward read.

The bottom line for me is that this book (like Paul Dourish's "Where the Action Is") is an interdisciplinary gem that has the potential to change how you think about how people approach technology. There aren't that many books for which that can be said.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?