This paper suggests a new type of enterprise models called fractal enterprise models (FEM), with accompanying methodological support for their design. FEM shows interconnections between the business processes in an enterprise by connecting them to the assets they use and manage. Assets considered in the model could be tangible (buildings, heavy machinery, etc.) and intangible (employees, business process definitions, etc.). A FEM model is built by using two types of patterns called archetypes: a process-assets archetype that connects a process with assets used in it, and an asset-processes archetype that connects an asset with processes aimed to manage this asset (e.g., hiring people, or servicing machinery). Alternating these patterns creates a fractal structure that makes relationships between various parts of the enterprise explicit. FEM can be used for different purposes, including finding a majority of the processes in an enterprise and planning business change or radical transformation. Besides discussing FEM and areas of its usage, the paper presents results from a completed project in order to test the practical usefulness of FEM and its related methodological support.
This paper presents an ongoing study on defining and maintaining organizational identity of an institution of higher education, such as a department or school. The theoretical background used in the study is the concept of structural coupling that comes from biological cybernetics. The study concerns the authors own department. The paper presents proposals of to which elements of the environment such an institution is structurally coupled and how the identity maintenance is arranged. The paper provides examples of how maintaining identity works or not works in practice based on reflections on the authors’ experience of working in their own department. It also shows that maintaining identity may requires changes in different components of the socio-technical system, e.g. methods, people, technology.