David Sardinha Andrade de Aveiro,

D – Departamento de Engenharia Informática, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa


This thesis has the main purpose of assessing the usefulness to model organizational functions in the context of organizational engineering. To achieve this we present an extensive analysis of current insights found in literature of diverse fields of knowledge, like management, engineering, biology and philosophy, to bridge the gap between the several different perspectives and clarify what in fact are organizational functions and what should be considered artifacts of the functional dimension of an organization. Based on current findings and on previous work done in the field of organizational engineering, an ontology is proposed, for the purpose of modeling the functional concern of an enterprise architecture, in a coherent manner.
Namely, in organizations, representing a function means specifying, for a certain process X, its interdependencies with other parts of the organization, which contribute to its self-maintenance, namely: (1) a norm (goal value) for a certain state variable of the process; (2) which other process (or processes) depend on this norm, in order to remain functional; (3) the set of business rules – embedded in the process itself, or other process(es) – that work as resilience mechanisms to expected exceptions and try to reestablish the norm to the process functioning; (4) set of specialized and accumulated knowledge related to process X’s domain used for treatment of unexpected exceptions in a special dynamics called microgenesis.

We further propose an extension to an existing modeling framework that argues that the multidimensional aspects of the enterprise should be organized into five architectural components: Organization, Business, Information, Application and Technological architectures. The extension we propose is an additional architectural view: the Function Architecture. This architecture allows the modeling of organizational functions separating it’s inherent concerns of: operation, monitoring, resilience and microgenesis, while maintaining coherence in their components and interconnections.
Several benefits seem to arise out of this proposal, like: simplification of organizational models thanks to the separation of concerns; increased traceability between fundamental entities of organizations and model elements reutilization; detection of vital processes and gaps on the organization’s self maintenance mechanisms; among others. The usefulness of these possible benefits will be assessed in the final stage of this thesis which aims at a practical experiment on modeling functions in real organizations, with the proposed architecture, in the context of at least two case studies, already planned for execution.
Keywords: Function Modeling, Organizational Engineering, Organizational Modeling, Organizational Function


Date: 2006-Jul-24     Time: 10:00:00     Room: INESC – Auditório Alfa 9º piso

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