Models and tools for analyzing and designing organizational work processes and information systems

Funding agency:  Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Principal Investigator:
Eric Yu, Faculty of Information Studies, U. of Toronto

Duration:  4 years  (1995 -- 2000)


This research aims to develop a new class of information systems modelling techniques based on the concept of intentional, strategic actor relationships, first outlined in the doctoral dissertation of the Principal Investigator.  The objective is to extend existing conceptual modelling and knowledge representation techniques so as to better deal with domains involving complex networks ("organizations") of agents, roles, and processes.  Modelling complex systems in terms of intentional relationships (such as wants and abilities) among its constituent agents provides a higher level abstraction than conventional input-output modelling, allowing motivations and rationales to be expressed and reasoned about.  The intentional models will support explicit reasoning about cooperation and conflict, and the systematic management of change.  These considerations are crucial as information systems become more distributed, heterogeneous, and more deeply intertwined in complex (and constantly evolving) organizational processes.  Initially, the research will target three main application areas: information systems requirements engineering, business process reengineering, and software processes. In each area, knowledge-based tools will support the modelling, analysis, and (re)design of organizational processes and their information systems.
Keywords:  information systems analysis and design, strategic actors, intentional models, requirements engineering, organization modelling

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