social dimension

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The Social Dimension of Enterprise Architecture in Government

Citizens’ rising demands and expectations concerning both the quality and equality of public services are increasing pressure on the Finnish public administration to improve its efficiency and responsiveness. An enacted act on Information Management Governance in public administration declares Enterprise Architecture (abbreviated EA) as a central tool for developing administration’s services. EA is seen as a strategic management tool standardising the development of administration and exploitation of Information and Communication Technologies (abbreviated ICT). The new act demands agencies to apply EA yet there exists relatively limited knowledge and experience of the concept. Since EA is an abstract and complex tool there is great risk that the expectations put on EA are not met. The large numbers of agencies demanded to apply this tool increases the significance of the problem. This article is based on a case study research where the goal was to identify issues of EA use and adoption, to gain understanding why these issues exist and to recommend ways of improving the perceived value of EA. The focus was on the social dimension of alignment since most existing studies have emphasised the technical dimension. The study approaches the problem from the perspective of strategic management and organisational learning. EA is treated as a mechanism and a strategy tool to enable alignment of business and IT. EA adoption presents a learning challenge to an organisation – it has to learn the intellectual content but more importantly, it has to learn how to cooperate and share information across functional, hierarchical and professional boundaries.