Can a Re-Discovery of Open Socio-Technical Systems Strengthen EA?

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James Lapalme and Don de Guerre


Recent publications by reputable market research firms affirm that IT organizations and Enterprise Architecture groupsare not doing very well: high project failure rates and low acceptance of the Enterprise Architecture group. These challenges can be attributed to the “mechanistic” worldview of current IT organizations according to socio-technical systems theory, a theory from the 1950s which has only recently started to be integrated in IT. Over the last decade, therehas been a quasi-exponential growth in the use of the term “socio-technical systems” in the IT literature. From this, onecould suggest that a possible paradigm shift is occurring in the IT space: a shift from a mechanistic view of organizations to a socio-technical one based on the rediscovery that organizations are open socio-technical systems.

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