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Mark Dale


Existing approaches to the problems in the governance of Enterprise Architecture (EA) implementation are characterized largely as unambiguous and objective. Using the case study of a large Australian financial services organization, one such approach is examined critically. Existing governance approaches espouse generic solutions such as new governance structures, architectural modularity, decision-making models, frameworks, inter-organizational relations, and evolutionary rather than big-bang approaches. This study draws on the machine, organism, and brain metaphors from Morgan’s Images of Organizations (1986, 1997, 2006) to capture the contradictory and competing images and assumptions associated with the governance of an EA implementation and the social behaviors they imply. Findings from this case study suggest that the current emphasis on technical solutions is an oversight and that a broader approach, one that encompasses a partnership of technical and qualitative approaches, is required. Metaphors can be used to provide important insights into the attitudes and behaviors of Enterprise Architects toward their stakeholders and the assumptions they make about the social context of an EA implementation. It will be shown that metaphors provide Enterprise Architects with context-sensitive tools that allow them to fully appreciate the complex social world of an EA implementation.


Enterprise Architecture, Implementation Governance, Metaphors, Interpretive Approaches, Technical Approaches, Machine-Perspective, Organism-Perspective, Brain-Perspective, Symbolic Interactionism

About the author

Mark Dale has over 25 years’ experience in banking, financial services, and consulting industries in Enterprise Architecture and solution architecture roles. He is currently a PhD candidate at Swinburne University of Technology and currently teaches EA at that institution. His research interests include interpretive approaches to understanding the problems of EA implementation.


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