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Organizational Semiotics: Evolving a Science of Information Systems

Edited by Kecheng Liu, Rodney Clarke, Peter Boegh Andersen and Ronald Stamper, with El-Sayed Abou-Zeid, Kluwer Academic Publishers (Boston), 2002, ISBN 1-4020-7189-2.


Organisational Semiotics regards organisations as the real information systems in which technologies have an essential role to play. It develops this perspective using the established discipline of semiotics, the theory of signs. A sign is anything that stands for something else with a certain community. This fundamental notion supports a unified treatment of human and technical aspects of information systems.

The International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) conducts its scientific work within Working Groups. This meeting, the initiative of WG 8.1, which deals with "The planning, analysis, design and evaluation of information systems for organisations", marks its recognition of Organisational Semiotics within its scope. Its range of topics is illustrated by the papers in this book, which cover such issues as: Fundamental concepts such as 'information', 'data', 'message', 'communication', 'knowledge', 'organisation', ' system' and so on; Properties of signs vital to organisational functioning, such as their meanings, the intentions they express and the valuable social consequences the produce; 'Architecture' of organisations when they are viewed as information systems, based on their semiotics features; Understanding language in organisational contexts, for example, the limitations on the language used to conduct business affairs: The empirical study of communications for requirements elicitation; Applying semiotic categories (e.g. physical, empiric, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, social) to various problems; Organisational knowledge representation; Business process re-engineering methods and the design of e-commerce systems.

This conference was held in Montreal (Canada), 23-25 July 2001. It was sponsored by the IFIP, supported by Concordia University (Montreal) and by Staffordshire University (UK). This IFIP Working Conference was preceded by related workshops over a period of six years. Kluwer Academic also publishes the proceedings of the 1999 and 2000 meetings. These books on Organisational Semiotics are of prime interest to all those working in information systems, especially researchers, lecturers, and students, but also practitioners, such as tool and method developers.