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2021 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

On Model-Based Coordination of Change in Organizations


Change seems to be an inherent property of organizations and the enterprises they undertake. During such changes, coordination among the different actors involved is key, in particular when there is a need to consider the longer term impact of change.When the complexity of an organizations, and/or the context in which it operates, is high, the need emerges to use “represented abstractions” of the organization and its context to support coordinated change. These “represented abstractions”, taking the form of e.g. sketches, narrative descriptions, diagrams, spreadsheets, or formal specifications, are used for informed decision making about changes, as well as to coordinate changes among the different actors that may be involved. We take the stance that these “represented abstractions” are all forms of models. Doing so, does requires us to look beyond the “boxes-and-lines” metaphor that seems to be the traditional way of looking at models in our field.Meanwhile, the transition to the digital age has resulted in organizations to be (and operate in) a complex and hybrid mix of human and digital actors, while the pace of change has increased as well. This also puts more pressure on the coordination of the changes, and as a direct consequence also puts more pressure on the use of model-based instruments.The goal of this paper is to explore some of the challenges that these model-based instruments will need to meet (while indeed looking beyond the “boxes-and-lines” metaphor). To this end, we will start with a discussion of our current understanding of the notion of model. We then zoom in on the use of models in the coordination of change. Using this as a base, we finalize with a discussion of some of the main challenges we see in improving the use of model-based instruments for the coordination of change in organizations.

On Model-Based Coordination of Change in Organizations
Henderik A. Proper
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