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Emergence Event

On March 16, 2012, an event was organized bij Stijn Hoppenbrouwers at Radboud University Nijmegen titeled:

Designing the Enterprise: Emergence or Engineering?

The partial text of the invitation & programme can be found below.

Slides for download and links to full video recording (in four parts, YouTube) can also be found below.

For a PDF of the original invitation (including al hyperlinks) see here.

“There is a notable tension between, on the one hand, 'blue print' approaches to enterprise engineering and, on the other, the phenomenon that in many respects, enterprises ‘just happen’. Of course things are not so black and white; let's explore! And of course: how can we possible deal with this in organizational design?”

Erik Proper, Jan Dietz and James Taylor, all distinguished academic researchers with ample experience in business-IT alignment and organizational design, each approach this theme from their specific personal outlooks, followed by a joint discussion. Abstracts and biographies: see below.

12:30 Arrivals and coffee
13:00 Opening, Stijn Hoppenbrouwers
13:10 Erik Proper:
    "Engineering and Emergence in Enterprises; a Story of Four Es"
13:55 Jan Dietz:
    "Enterprise Engineering and Enterprise Ontology"
14:40 Coffee
15:00 James Taylor:
    "Innovation and the Authoring of the Large Organization, Why the Problem?"
16:00 Discussion among the speakers, led by Stijn Hoppenbrouwers
17:00 Drinks

Engineering and Emergence in Enterprises; a Story of Four E's
Prof.dr. Erik Proper
Radboud University Nijmegen and CRP Henri Tudor, Luxembourg

Abstract: In this presentation, we consider enterprise transformations. Enterprises change. They transform themselves continuously. Senior management (and the "owners") of enterprises have a desire to influence the direction/speed of these transformations. However, being socio-technical systems, enterprises tend to resist desired (engineered) changes, while at the same time changing at their own accord (emergence). We will explore the need for the deliberate engineering of enterprises, while at the same time acknowledging and exploring the need for emergent changes in enterprises. Finally, we present a perspective on enterprise transformation which aims to balance the need for engineering and the need for emergence in enterprises.

Erik Proper is professor of information systems at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He is one of the co-initiators of the development of the ArchiMate language for Enterprise Architecture. He is currently a senior research manager at Public Research Centre - Henri Tudor in Luxembourg, where he leads the ASINE research programme on architecture-based service innovation. He has been a Professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen since 2002. Erik is driven by the desire to create theories that work. Therefore, he has always mixed his work in academia with work in industry, by working for consultancy firms. He co-authored two books on enterprise architecture, and provided substantial contributions to two other books on this topic. He is also an editor in-chief of a book series on Enterprise Engineering, published by Springer. His home on the web can be found at

Enterprise Engineering and Enterprise Ontology Jan L.G. Dietz
Delft University of Technology

Abstract: The vast majority of strategic initiatives in enterprises fail, including information systems development, and business process management. Abundant research indicates that the key reason for these failures is the lack of coherence and consistency among the various components of an enterprise. At the same time, a holistic approach to cope with these problems challenges our ability to master their complexity. Enterprise Engineering is an emerging discipline, basically originating from a convergence between the information (processing) science and the organization science. Enterprises are taken to be designed systems, as opposed to naturally evolving systems. Enterprise Engineering is able to solve said problems effectively, in particular through three powerful ideas: enterprise ontology, enterprise architecture, and enterprise governance. The emphasis in this lecture will be on enterprise ontology. The ontological model of an enterprise provides a coherent, consistent, comprehensive, and concise understanding of the enterprise’s implementation independent essence. It is the objective starting point for conducting any substantial change, while offering unprecedented insight and overview, because of the enormous reduction of complexity that is achieved.

Jan L.G. Dietz is emeritus full professor in Information Systems Design at Delft University of Technology, full professor in Enterprise Engineering at Delft University of Technology, and director of Sapio ( He holds a Master degree in Electrical Engineering and a Doctoral degree in Computer Science. He has published over 200 scientific and professional articles and books. His current research interests are in the emerging discipline of Enterprise Engineering, of which Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Ontology, and Enterprise Governance are the major pillars. Before his academic career, he has practiced application software engineering for ten years in industry. Jan Dietz is the spiritual father of DEMO (Design & Engineering Methodology for Organizations), and honorary chairman of the Enterprise Engineering Institute ( For the development of Enterprise Engineering, he chairs the international research network CIAO! ( He also acts as editor-in-chief of a book series on Enterprise Engineering, published by Springer. For more information, visit

Innovation and the Authoring of the Large Organization,
 Why the Problem?
(Revised title: Authoring the Organization)
Prof.dr. James R. Taylor
Université de Montréal, Canada; Department of Communication

Abstract: We are unaccustomed to thinking of it in this way, but the authorship of organization is not a privilege of some special group, such as a policy task force, or a strategy committee. Everybody is authoring their own organization, all the time; if they were not, there would be no organization. The authoring occurs at three levels. First, every individual understands his or her experience with others by formulating it as a personal narrative, or account. Second, as those same people collectively engage with each other to construct a shared world of practice, anchored in materiality, they interactively make sense not only of what is happening but come to identify their own place in the community, as well as its powers and its limitations. Third, until these disparate, typically geographically dispersed communities manage to organize themselves as a collectivity they possess no common organizational identity. That requires a different kind of authoring, that leads to a common reference point of collective authority. But because this more extended establishment of organization is loosely coupled it can quickly develop settled patterns of interaction and distribution of privileges of authorship, typically inscribed in texts that are supposed to embody the established authority. The problem here, however is that the resultant hierarchy reflects only where the organization has been, not always where it is now. When the organization ventures into new domains of practice, typically as a consequence of technical innovation, it is the local communities who learn first, and it is they who develop new kinds of expertise and a different understanding of the organizational order. What happens to an organization when local expertise comes up against the established regimes of authority, when, in other words, expertise and corporate position contradict each other?

James R. Taylor, Ph.D., F.I.C.A, is the author, co-author or editor of eight books, including Rethinking the Theory of Organizational Communication, How to Read an Organization (1993), The Vulnerable Fortress: Bureaucratic Or­ga­ni­za­tion and Manage­ment in the Information Age (1993), The Emergent Organization: Communication as its Site and Surface (2000), The Computerization of Work: A Communication Perspective (2001), Empirical Explorations into the Dynamic of Text and Conversation (2006), The Situated Organization: Case Studies in the Pragmatics of Communication Research (2011). He is the author of more than ninety scientific articles, published in four languages, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. He was the initial Kurt Baschwitz Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, 2003. He is a fellow of the International Communication Association, an Emeritus Professor and “Pioneer” of the Université de Montréal (as founder of its Department of Communication). He has also been voted outstanding member of the Organizational Communication Division of the International Communication Association. More information here (Wikipedia) and here (homepage).


Stijn Hoppenbrouwers: Introduction

Erik Proper: Engineering & Emergence in Enterprises: a Story of 4 Es

Jan Dietz: Enterprise Engineering & Enterprise Ontology

James R. Taylor: Authoring the Organization

Links to full video recording (YouTube)

Due to a technical error the sound quality of the recordings when the handheld microphone was used is not great. We apologize for this.

Intro & Erik Proper

Jan Dietz

James R. Taylor

Forum Discussion