Using Structural Coupling Approach for Defining and Maintaining Identity of an Educational Institution. Experience Report

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.

Another Look at Enterprise Architecture Framework

Although there were many comparison literatures of EA frameworks, these literature use qualitative criteria based on intuitive practitioner’s experience. The paper first defines 36 concrete features of EA frameworks using six categories and six interrogatives. Then we concretely compare typical EA frameworks based on the key features. The result shows the easiness and concreteness of the proposed EA comparison framework.

Becoming a Digital Organization: The Journey to Digital Dexterity

As the digital age unfolds, executives face new strategic choices about how to take advantage of fast-moving technology innovations. Prior research showed that value comes not simply from adopting digital technology, but from using technology to transform the way a company does business. But while the term digital transformation is much in vogue, relatively less attention is paid to the design of the organization that must fulfill the chosen digital strategies. New digitally-enabled possibilities for designing, organizing, and managing productive work challenge leaders to make choices about how to operate (organizational design choices) as well as what to produce (strategic choices). This paper builds on interview and survey data from over 150 organizations to develop a model of digital organizational design. We identify a core set of organizational characteristics (including mindsets, practices and resources) that underpin enterprise development of Digital Capability to improve customer experience, internal operations or employee engagement. We introduce the concept of Digital Dexterity, the sustained organizational ability to rapidly adapt and self-organize to take advantage of emerging digital possibilities, and show that these same organizational characteristics are associated with digital dexterity. We argue that in a digital economy where technologies continue to improve exponentially, digital dexterity is the hallmark of a true Digital Organization. In order to build an enterprise for long term digital advantage, executives need to cultivate the unique set of characteristics of a Digital Organization that collectively enable both Digital Capability and Digital Dexterity.

On the Role of Enterprise Architecture in Enterprise Integration

In the current business era, it is crucial for an organization to understand the rapidly changing environment of today. To swiftly respond to the changing environment, an organization must provide enterprise integration (EI) not only internally, but also externally, with its customers and suppliers. Many approaches and technologies have been proposed to facilitate EI – however, due to its complexity, integration has remained a continuous challenge in organizations. One of the major integration obstacles is maintaining architectural descriptions of the organization. Architectural descriptions, or Enterprise Architecture (EA), provides a comprehensive view of all the organizational entities and their relationships to achieve an organization’s strategic goals. Many studies have referred to EA as a solution to facilitate EI in organizations. However, developing EA is not easy to achieve. This PhD dissertation aims to facilitate integration projects by approaching EA obstacles from a social and organizational perspective. The main research question is What is the role of EA and its obstacles in EI? A qualitative and interpretive research approach is applied in this dissertation. The data was collected through interviews with practitioners from 17 large organizations and analyzed using the Grounded Theory method. The study first investigates the EI obstacles and identifies EA maintenance as a major obstacle in EI projects. After identifying the EA obstacles, the dissertation further investigates them to understand the issues in EA development that prevent EA from being efficient. By investigating the obstacles in EA development, this research shows that if not addressed properly beforehand, the obstacles follow EA through the development process. Most of the identified obstacles are social and organizational issues. The results indicate a ‘lack of communication and collaboration’ as the root obstacle in EA development that can address most of the other obstacles. Revisiting the data from a communication and collaboration point of view, the results reveal ‘organizational culture’ and ‘clarity in EA development process’ as additional causes of the lack of communication and collaboration in EA development. Furthermore, ‘personnel’s distrust’ and ‘organization loses its competitive edge’ are identified as additional effects of the lack of communication and collaboration in EA development. Finally, this study provides some recommendations to facilitate EA development for researchers and practitioners.

Beer’s Viable System Model and Luhmann’s Communication Theory: ‘Organizations’ from the Perspective of Meta?Games

Beyond the descriptions of ‘viability’ provided by Beer’s Viable System Model, Maturana’s autopoietic theory or Luhmann’s communication theory, questions remain as to what ‘viability’ means across different contexts. How is ‘viability’ affected by the Internet and the changing information environments in a knowledge?based economy? For Luhmann, social systems like businesses are coordination systems that do not ‘live’ as viable systems but operate because they relieve human beings from environmental complexity. We situate Beer’s concept of viability with Luhmann’s through analyzing the way that ‘decisions’ shape organizations in an information environment. Howard’s (1971) meta?game analysis enables us to consider the ‘viable system’ as an ‘agent system’ producing utterances as moves in a discourse game within the context of its information environment. We discuss how this approach can lead to an accommodation between Beer’s practical orientation and Luhmann’s sociological critique where the relationship between viability, decision and information can be further explored.

A Systematic Review of Business-IT Alignment Research with Enterprise Architecture

Because of the dynamic environments of business and IT, achieving any alignment between the two fields has become challenging. In view of its multiple viewpoints and artifacts, the discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is often regarded as an effective methodology to deal with BITA issues, and thus has attracted plenty of research. This article conducts a systematic literature review of BITA research using EA. Six questions are answered through 5W1H (When, Who, What, Why, Where, How) analysis. These questions aim to acquire a thorough understanding of BITA from the perspective of EA, to discover weak points in the status quo, and to identify future research directions.