May 8 – 13 , 2016, Dagstuhl Seminar 16192

Supporting Organizational Efficiency and Agility: Models, Languages and Software Systems


Tony Clark (Sheffield Hallam University, GB)
Ulrich Frank (Universität Duisburg-Essen, DE)
Vinay Kulkarni (Tata Consultancy Services – Pune, IN)

For support, please contact

Dagstuhl Service Team


Dagstuhl Report, Volume 6, Issue 5 Dagstuhl Report
Aims & Scope
List of Participants
Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


Organizations are complex systems that need to respond to a variety of changes while operating in a dynamic environment. They involve multiple stakeholders each having a domain-specific perspective that relies on concepts and languages relative to individual information-centric processes, which may lead to undesirable side-effects such as scattered and fractured knowledge about goals, strategies, operational processes etc.

Organizations are increasingly penetrated by software: Processes and resources are digitized, decision making relies on data provided by software systems, and transactions with external stakeholders are performed by machines. On the one hand, the omnipresence of digital systems creates the opportunity for further automation: The more structures and processes that constitute organizations are represented in software, the greater the scope for computer-supported management. On the other hand, this omnipresence creates a substantial challenge: Many organizations lack the competence to cope with the further increasing complexity of IT infrastructures. This includes the problem of assessing the business impact of IT investment and of assigning IT costs appropriately.

In addition to these problems, organizations face a tremendous challenge: The digital transformation will eliminate many existing business models. It will enable new products and services and it may require organizations to substantially change the way they do business. Only, if organizations are prepared to cope with this challenge, will they be able to benefit from the digital transformation instead of suffering from it.

A key aspect of the digital transformation is automation. While the potential for further automation through software is especially obvious in industrial production, other areas such as administrative work, management, and professional training are more and more dominated by machines. Therefore, there is need for new ways of supporting enterprise agility through the use of integrated computer-based systems

This seminar analyses how organizations can be supported not only with managing their resources and processes efficiently, but also with coping with the digital transformation, a topic which is subject of various research fields including: Management Science (a rationalist perspective); Organisational Studies (including Psychology and Sociology); Information Systems; Software Engineering (including modelling and meta-modelling, big-data and self-adaptive systems); Requirements Engineering. Even though there is an obvious correspondence of foundational assumptions, there is hardly any exchange between these fields: an issue that the seminar aims to address.

Against this background, the seminar is based on the following assumptions:

  • Organizations are prepared for change only if they account for the challenges related to adapting their software systems as well as the peculiarities of social change.
  • Research on organizational change in general, on designing organizational software systems in particular, recommends not only ideas of how to make organizations more efficient, but of how to make them a better place to work and live in. Otherwise it will be hardly possible to develop advanced conceptions of future organizations that may serve as an orientation for change. Without respective considerations efficiency remains a fairly meaningless concept.
  • Support for organizational efficiency and change recommends cross-disciplinary collaboration. While all three research streams outlined above focus on important aspects, none of them is sufficient on its own.
  • Support for organisational decision making is currently very difficult due to the tacit nature of knowledge that must be reified and processed using advanced technologies.
Summary text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Tony Clark, Ulrich Frank, and Vinay Kulkarni


  • Data Bases / Information Retrieval
  • Modelling / Simulation
  • Society / Human-computer Interaction


  • Conceptual Modeling
  • Information Systems
  • IT-Business Alignment
  • Language Engineering
  • Management Theory
  • Organizational Theory
  • Software Engineering


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.