The general concept of technology refers to all the knowledge, techniques and procedures that, as a result of a theoretical and scientific framework, are developed with the aim of advancing and modifying the environment that surrounds us.

A little known part of this field is soft technology . Throughout this article, we will analyze this concept, as well as its possible applications and some examples to help us clarify these ideas.

What is soft technology?

The concept of soft technology is a relatively new term that is used to encompass the body of knowledge of a technological, administrative, commercial and organizational nature .

Soft technology encompasses the knowledge, procedures, methodologies, disciplines, skills that make the further development of products and services possible. For this reason, the equivalent concept in the English language is “know how”, which is translated literally as “to know how” or “to know how to do it”

This concept arises in contrast to the term “hard technologies”, which refers to technologies that exist in the material world, which are tangible.

Despite the fact that both concepts have in common their relationship with the scientific field that enables the development of new technologies, as well as goods and services, soft technology is the intangible part . Thanks to it, people have the necessary skills to adapt to the technological environment or the organisations in an effective way.

As is reasonable, without the soft technology, i.e. without the knowledge, the hard technology would not be possible. It is necessary to possess the prior cognitive capacities that make the creation and advancement of these goods a reality.

The main objective of soft technology is to achieve the best possible results in any type of organization, administration, corporation or society; it can be applied in areas as diverse as industries, government bodies or educational environments.

By creating efficient dynamics and procedures within all these areas mentioned above, soft technology enables the effective use of both a company’s human resources and the optimization of its production processes.

Finally, soft technologies can also be used in political and governmental contexts. Knowledge about organizational and administrative processes can achieve all kinds of objectives in this area in the shortest possible time and using all resources.

How is it different from hard technologies?

As mentioned above, soft technology refers to the intangible part of the development of goods and services. That is, the set of knowledge necessary to enable the operation and progress of companies and organizations. This knowledge is usually linked to sciences such as computer science, economics, sociology and psychology .

In contrast, hard technologies are those that people’s collective imaginations associate with the concept of technology. They refer to the material and tangible aspects of technology, including both those that enable the transformation of materials for the production of new objects and the final physical products that are developed in companies.

This means that both the machinery that makes production possible and the final product are part of what is known as hard technology.

What are its uses and applications?

Since soft technologies constitute the body of knowledge on a number of specific areas, which makes it possible to develop and advance these, there are a large number of intangible tasks and tasks in which they play an essential role.

Among some of these areas we can find:

  • Business Administration
  • Education
  • Accounting tasks
  • Software development
  • Marketing
  • Organization
  • Psychology of work
  • Production logistics
  • Event organization

The objectives of the application of soft technologies are to optimize the performance of companies, government bodies and industries at both operational and organizational levels. In the same way, soft technology also seeks to optimize the relationships, dynamics and communications within each and every one of these organizations.

As a consequence, independently of whether the objective of these organizations is profit or not, this set of knowledge and know-how will make it possible to increase their performance, obtain better results and, of course, increase profits .

Examples of soft technologies

In order to clarify what exactly soft technology is and how it can be applied, we present a series of examples below. Some cases or prototypes of soft technology are

1. Human resources

The creation of human resources departments using psychological approaches and currents of work is one of the best examples of soft technology.

The use of knowledge in the field of work psychology and organizations to select the working staff of a company, as well as when organizing and optimizing this organization chart, achieves an improvement in the potential and growth of organizations.

2. Computer and mobile device software

In this case you can see how hard technology (electronic device or hardware) and soft technology (software) work together. Without the knowledge and skills of handling electronic devices the latter would not even exist; without the knowledge the operating system that would make hard technology possible could not have been developed.

3. Digital marketing

Since the objective of any company is to increase its profits by selling goods or products, the ability to influence potential buyers is essential. This is where soft technology comes in. Through knowledge of consumer psychology, marketing and advertising, a company can persuade the consumer on their behalf.

4. Food preservation

There are sciences that study and analyze the development and degradation of food. This knowledge can be applied within the food industry, as well as in catering, in order to extend the life of food, preserving it as long as possible, thus generating greater profitability for companies.

These are just some of the examples where soft technology facilitates and enhances the development of companies, organizations and institutions.

Bibliographic references:

  • AA.VV. (2009). Science, technology and environment. Latin America: Cengage Learning Latin America.
  • Cegarra Sánchez, José (2012). The technology. Madrid: Ediciones Díaz de Santos.
  • Giménez Montiel, Gilberto (2003). Las ciencias sociales, universidad y sociedad: temas para una agenda de posgrado. UNAM.
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Science, Technology and Gender. (2007). International Report; UNESCO.