Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

The Variety Engineering Method: Analyzing and Designing Information Flows in Organizations

Rosenkranz, Christoph
Volume: 9
Number: 1
Pages: 11 - 49
Month: March
ISSN-Print: 1617-9846
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2011
Keywords: Organizational Design; Business Engineering; Viable System Model; Variety Engineering; Conceptual Modeling; Method Engineering

In every organization, various decisions have to be made continuously, from the simple choice, which customer order to be processed next, to the serious question, whether to select a new supplier or to cancel an existing one. All of these decisions are supported by the provision of relevant information. Therefore the efficiency of a value chain is strongly influenced by the accurate setup of information flows. To make organizations more effective and efficient, one needs to understand what information flows are currently available and how information flows should be designed for a given organization. However, there is hardly any methodology available in order to analyze and redesign information flows in organizations in a structured way. Using the design science research framework, we develop a method for the analysis and design of information flows in organizations. Our research on the Variety Engineering Method (VEM) attempts to develop a method to analyze, diagnose and design information flows. VEM is built based on systems theory and cybernetics, especially the Viable System Model. VEM has been tested internally, and evaluated externally through field studies. In this paper, we present VEM in detail and discuss some general issues involved in its development, including the application of concepts form method engineering and evaluation in field studies.