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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Using the organisational actor concept in information system analysis Monu, Kafui Andre


The correct and complete identification of requirements for information systems is important to the development and implementation of systems into organisations. These requirements are gathered using conceptual models, which are important tools used by system analysts to understand organisations. However, as more users participate in system analysis, researchers have found that traditional conceptual modeling techniques do not completely represent the contextual information in a user's scenario. In this work we design and develop a structured conceptual modeling method, called the organisational actor method. We define a conceptual modeling method as a set of concepts, rules, and method for representing phenomena in the world. The organisational actor method represents the context of an environment which can be represented by understanding how an actor thinks about the environment and how the environment affects, and is affected by, the actor. A design-science approach was used to develop the organisational actor method. The approach used the theory of affordances, the systems approach, ontology, and software agent literature as theoretical foundations for the development of the organisational actor method. This study's purpose was to develop a method that could represent the internal view of an actor, the external view of the actor, and connect the two views. We also conducted four studies determining the usefulness and usability of the organisational actor concepts and the organisational actor method. We found that our concepts: perceptions/inputs, beliefs, learning, goals, reasoning, intentions, capabilities, actions, output are usable because non-technical people implicitly use the organisational actor concepts when describing domains. Also, our concepts are useful because domain experts judge them to be better representations of the domain than another commonly used conceptual modeling language called i*, and our method is usable because domain experts better represent the domain when using a method than when they don't. Finally, our method is useful because it can be used to gather information from employees about how they perform, and make decisions about, their work. In future research we will use our method to design cooperative information systems and to gain an understanding of processes that involve interdependent but autonomous individuals.

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