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The 6th International Workshop on Organisational Semiotics

Virtual, Distributed and Flexible Organisations
11 - 12 July, Reading, UK

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Organisational Semiotics, a branch of semiotics, focuses on the nature, characteristics and behaviour of signs. The term Organisational Semiotics (hereafter OS) was officially coined in the first international workshop in Twente in 1995 after a long time of research by colleagues who have worked in the many fields of organisational studies and information systems. OS opens up new ways of understanding the functioning of information and information resources in organised behaviour. It treats 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. The fundamental notion of sign - anything that stands for something else with a certain community - offers a handle for in-depth study of human and technical aspects of information systems.

The OS community aims to meet annually by running the OS workshops. The community has been fortunate in receiving support and recognition from IFIP (the International Federation of Information Processing). In 2001, the IFIP WG 8.1 held a working conference in Montreal 2001 entitled "Organisational Semiotics - Evolving a Science of Information Systems", which reflects the ambition of establishing a new discipline by the OS research community. The table below summarises the meetings held in the past years.

No. Type of event Host/venue Year Deliverables
1st International workshop University of Twente, Enschede (NL) 1995 Proceedings
2nd International workshop University of Twente, Almelo (NL) 1999 Book by Kluwer
3rd International workshop Staffordshire University, Stafford (UK) 2000 Book by Kluwer
4th  IFIP WG8.1 Working Conference Concordia University, Montreal (Canada) 2001  IFIP official conference proceedings (book by Kluwer)
5th International workshop Groningen University and Delft University, Delft (NL) 2002  Book by Kluwer (to appear)

This workshop in 2003 will continue the effort of an international research community in the development of a new discipline of organisational semiotics (OS). It will focus not only on the theory-building, but also on practical benefits gained so far through application of methods and techniques derived from various OS approaches.