Towards a pattern language for information centred business change

Hinton, C. Matthew (2002). Towards a pattern language for information centred business change. International Journal of Information Management, 22(5) pp. 325–341.



Business change designates one of the most conspicuous and most pervasive features of organisational life. However, there has been very little consideration of business change in itself, rather the emphasis has been on studying the outcomes of this change. This paper focuses on a subset of business change that is centred on the information flows of the organisation and is stimulated by catalysts and enablers which induce such changes. Furthermore, change is recognised in a generic sense as either internal or external to an organisation. A conceptual framework is offered which expresses the relationship between the various elements of information-centred business change (ICBC). In order to capture this model of change a language of patterns is suggested which makes it possible to identify change in different contexts and fashion an appropriate organizational response. Patterns are advantageous as they have the potential to identify areas of change which are repetitious, and therefore, lend themselves to the communication of best practice. This research offers a template for such patterns and applies this concept to four case study organizations. The results of this application suggest that patterns offer a way of recognizing under which circumstances different interventions are most appropriate. However, the study suggests that their application is limited. Whilst patterns facilitate the codification and transfer of knowledge, ICBC depends on social interpretation, so much of this meaning is lost when transferred between contexts. The author would like to acknowledge the support of the Environmental and Physical Sciences Research Council in the UK.

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