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Metamodel for Understanding, Analyzing, and Designing Sociotechnical Systems

Steven Alter
University of San Francisco, USA


Abstract
This paper presents a metamodel designed to help in understanding, analyzing, and designing sociotechnical systems. The metamodel extends and clarifies the work system framework and related concepts at the core of work system approach for understanding IT-reliant work systems in organizations [Alter, 2003, 2006a, 2008a]. Development of the metamodel supports a larger goal of creating an enhanced work system approach that is understandable to business professionals but that is somewhat more rigorous than most current applications of work system concepts and can be linked more directly to precise, highly detailed analysis and design approaches for IT professionals. The 32 elements in the metamodel include work system, the 9 elements of the work system framework (with information replaced by informational entity), and 22 other elements that clarify a number of questions and confusions observed in past applications of the work system approach. Specification of the metamodel clarifies ambiguities in the work system framework and forms a clearer conceptual basis for tools and methods that could improve communication and collaboration between business and IT professionals. It can also be used to organize much of the know-how and many of the system-related research results in the IS field.

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Reference:Alter, S. (2009). "Metamodel for Understanding, Analyzing, and Designing Sociotechnical Systems," Proceedings > Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 9(59). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/9-59
Keywords:Sociotechnical systems; systems design
Item Type:Article - Volume 9 Article 59 (2009)
Language:English
Email: Steven Alter (alter@usfca.edu)
Additional Information:THIS PAPER HAS BEEN CORRECTED, REVISED, AND EXTENDED. PLEASE USE THE VERSION THAT WAS PRESENTED AT ICIS 2010. IT IS CALLED "BRIDGING THE CHASM BETWEEN SOCIOTECHNICAL AND TECHNICAL VIEWS OF SYSTEMS IN ORGANIZATIONS.

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