Theory-Driven Reverse Engineering of Organisations

  • Antonia Albani Institute of Information Management University of St. Gallen


Driven by the strong demand for reusable yet situational business solutions on the one side and the necessity to provide a stable, reliant foundation that allows to adapt the supporting information systems in a systematic way on the other side, the need for a closer link between relevant theories and successful practices for the design of enterprise information systems becomes evident. The aim of the reported research is to provide such a link by means of prescriptive guidelines for the class of problems concerning the reverse engineering of organisations. The reverse engineering of organisations aims at deriving at the ontological models of organisations, which build the basis for the design and engineering of information systems supporting the business needs. An ontological model as used in the presented research is defined as the highest-level constructional model of an organisation, which is fully independent of its implementation. The prescriptive guidelines for reverse engineering presented in this paper are derived from the Ψ-theory (the Greek letter Ψ is pronounced PSI, which stands for Performance in Social Interaction), the theory that underlies the notion of Enterprise Ontology. This theory regards organisations as social systems and sees IT systems as support for social actors in performing coordination-related activities and productionrelated activities. In this paper we focus specifically on recommendations based on the Ψ-theory concerning the coupling of two types of enterprise models in order to derive at ontological models of organisations. The first type of models are derived by applying the Design and Engineering Methodology for Organisations (DEMO) and the second type of models are derived by applying the Architecture of Integrated Information Systems (ARIS).
Research Articles