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

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Mesbah Khan


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.

About the author

Mesbah Khan is a Solution Architect at Tullow Oil and a student at the Open University currently completing his MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice. He has been working in the oil industry in various operational and business improvement roles in the Supply Chain Management and Development Project Management functions. He has a deep interest in operationalising systems theory for organisational design and his current focus is to define architectures for interoperability across complex supply chains in the upstream oil and gas development projects and production operations. He is also an active member of the nascent EAST initiative, a group of EA and ST practitioners aiming to integrating the two disciplines.


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