Secondly, I finished my master's thesis with the final (catchy) title: Government Enterprise Architecture Adoption: A Systemic-Discursive Critique and Reconceptualisation (click here to download a PDF format from Google Docs). I was awarded full marks (ECTS cale: A, Danish scale: 12, Australian scale: HD) for the final product with the a remark of excellence from my supervisor, Dr. Gotze: apparently it has excellent potential to evolve in to a full-scale PhD thesis. I will examine my options and possibilities in the near future for turning this in to a full-scale PhD or doctorate in business administration.
My next project is to work on a book with the Sourcing Initiative with the headline: Enabling Collaboration. The time frame of the book is 12 months with updates released publicly on an incremental basis. The book is a not-for-profit project with the final product being released under the Creative Commons license, very similar to the loosely knit network of authors contributing to Dr. Gotze's popular and important book on e-government and government 2.0.
So what will the agenda of my contributions be? The theoretical foundation of the book is that Enterprise Architecture is an important instrument for managing organisational sourcing processes. Given the recent interest of describing and architecting business and operating models for building and shaping the modern enterprise---particularly when shed in the theoretical light of the virtual organisation (Raffaini 2001)---I have formed my own research area of interest. When sourcing business operations and enabling collaboration in the extended enterprise, it is crucial to understand how each enterprise relates to others, especially in terms of regulations, knowledge production, profit generation, collaboration, and communication. In the classic, Zachman-inspired view of the enterprise (Zachman 1987), an enterprise architecture provides a static, consistent snapshot of an (extended) enterprise at a certain point in time. Building several architectural representations of all the enterprises sourcing and collaborating in the extended enterprise is thus key to managing efficient and effective sourcing processes. However, as I stated in my master's thesis, the enterprise is too complex to build a uniquely transparent and consistent picture at any point in time. Instead, I argue, it is the core role of Enterprise Architecture to highlight the communicational and discursive processes taking place within and in between the virtual enterprises.
A second, important research factor is that the analysis and management of sourcing processes should depart from and emphasise systems thinking as a means for understanding how social and communicative entities in the extended enterprise cooperate, constrain, and collaborate with each other.
Sourcing enabled by Enterprise Architecture thus carries two important dimensions:
- A systemic dimension describing how the virtual network of enterprises emerges and is managed in a coherent fashion through architectural thinking
- A communicative (discursive) dimension describing how the flow of information and knowledge in the sourcing value chain should be captured and understood in a holistic manner.
The final theoretical foundation is built on K. E. Weick's theory of sensemaking (Weick 2001) and Luhmann's general theory of social systems (Luhmann 1995, Luhmann 2000).
For now, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year wherever in the world you may be.
Luhmann, N. (1995), Social Systems, Writing Science, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
Luhmann, N. (2000), The Reality of the Mass Media, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
Raffaini, M. (2001). The Virtual Organisation, in Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Concurrent Enterprising, Bremen.
Weick, K. E. (2001), Making Sense of the Organization, Blackwell Publishing.
Zachman, J. (1987), `A Framework for Information Systems Architecture', IBM Systems Journal 26(3), 276-292.