Viable System Model


A Systemic-Discursive Framework for Enterprise Architecture

This article examines, through a case study of an Australian government agency, the systemic and discursive properties of Enterprise Architecture adoption in a government enterprise. Through the lens of Luhmann’s generalised systems theory of communication, the authors argue that the manner in which organisational communication is organised throughout the Enterprise Architecture adoption process has a noticeable impact on successful implementation. Two important conclusions are made: Firstly, successful Enterprise Architecture adoption demands sustainable resonance of Enterprise Architecture as a discourse communicated in the enterprise. Secondly, misunderstanding and reshaping Enterprise Architecture as a management discourse is an inherent premise for high quality adoption. The authors propose a new theoretical model, the Enterprise Communication Ecology, as a metaphor for the communicative processes that precede, constrain, and shape Enterprise Architecture implementations. As a result, Enterprise Architecture as a discipline must adopt a systemic-discursive framework in order to fully understand and improve the quality of Enterprise Architecture management programs.

Archetypes of Organisation: Laying Systemic Enterprise Architecture Foundations at an Upstream Oil and Gas Company

Enterprise Architecture (EA), a discipline that emerged from IT with the aim to link ‘strategy to design’ provides frameworks, taxonomies and languages for organisational design. However, it lacks an appreciation of the dynamic relationship between technology and organisational evolution and the complex process of strategy. Systems Thinking (ST), a multidisciplinary science and praxis that evolved from the coming together of social systems theory, second order cybernetics and biology provides holistic and reflexive approaches for intervention into complex situations. Similar to EA, it has a number of modelling tools for describing and diagnosing organizational problems. However, it lacks precise and rigorous modelling approaches for describing technology solutions. This article explores the process and possibility of embedding systemic thinking into enterprise architecture and the practice of organisation design by carrying out theoretical research and practical inquiry in a particular oil and gas independent.

Reinterpreting TOGAF’s Enterprise Architecture Principles Using a Cybernetic Lens

In the literature, there are many definitions of Enterprise Architecture (EA), but most of them have three items in common: elements, relationships and principles. Among these, principles represent an essential element in the definition of EA, and some researchers posit that they are the main element in this definition. However, despite the recent advances in defining enterprise architecture principles (EAPs), this notion is suffering from the lack of a theoretical foundation that provides a logical framework for defining them. Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model (VSM) and its application to IT governance, the Viable Governance Model (VGM), have shown to be comprehensive blueprints for designing viable organizations and IT governance arrangements, respectively. Similarly, in recent realizations of EA, the design of the whole organization, and not just the IT, is brought into consideration. Therefore, this paper aims to establish whether the laws and principles of cybernetics, especially those embodied in the VSM and the VGM, can provide a sound theoretical basis for deriving EA principles. This paper investigates the principles defined in the Open Group’s TOGAF based on the theoretical concepts drawn from the VSM/VGM and cybernetics more broadly. This investigation demonstrates that the principles in TOGAF can be derived from the laws and principles of cybernetics.