Using process-oriented holonic (PrOH) modelling to increase understanding of information systems

Ben T. Clegg, Duncan A. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methodologies for understanding business processes and their information systems (IS) are often criticized, either for being too imprecise and philosophical (a criticism often levied at softer methodologies) or too hierarchical and mechanistic (levied at harder methodologies). The process-oriented holonic modelling methodology combines aspects of softer and harder approaches to aid modellers in designing business processes and associated IS. The methodology uses holistic thinking and a construct known as the holon to build process descriptions into a set of models known as a holarchy. This paper describes the methodology through an action research case study based in a large design and manufacturing organization. The scientific contribution is a methodology for analysing business processes in environments that are characterized by high complexity, low volume and high variety where there are minimal repeated learning opportunities, such as large IS development projects. The practical deliverables from the project gave IS and business process improvements for the case study company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-477
Number of pages31
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Issue number5
Early online date17 Apr 2008
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • systems thinking
  • business process
  • modelling
  • IS development projects
  • problem structuring methods


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