5.2.9 Speech-Act based office Modeling aPprOach (SAMPO)
SAMPO is an approach to development of office information systems based
on a language/action view of the office (Hirschheim et al., 1995:199).
An office is seen as a system of communicative action (Auramäki et
al., 1988:126), and an information system is considered a technical implementation
of a social system.
A main reason for including SAMPO in the discussion is that it has been
assessed as constructivistic, both by Krogstie (1995:143) and Hirschheim
et al. (1995:199). Another reason is a fundamentally different set of model
concepts, claimed to be more appropriate for modeling office work than
traditional fact-based approaches (Auramäki et al., 1988:126).
The relevance of SAMPO to enterprise modeling is that office work is
a significant part of most enterprises. The purpose of modeling in SAMPO
is to understand the domain (office analysis) before constructing an office
information system (i.e., it can be associated with the ISE strand). Type
of work is office work, although the approach probably can be used with
any type of work involving social actors.
In SAMPO, two basic domains are modeled: The entity domain (ED) and
the action domain (AD). ED consists of static entities, such as items of
transactions (artifacts) and agents. AD includes dynamic entities, called
acts, that either can be instrumental acts or speech acts. Instrumental
acts change the ED. Speech acts are symbolic deeds, being utterances with
associated meaning. Speech acts are the basic units of communication, and
can have a complex structure. Auramäki et al. (1988:128ff) describe
the structure of speech acts in more detail.
Models in SAMPO are expressed using a number of more or less informal
tables and graphs. The two main types of models are:
In addition to the two types of graphs, there are a number of tables describing
purposes, effects, media, etc. of discourses and individual speech acts.
The modeling process of SAMPO is not discussed in a structured way in (Auramäki
et al., 1988), but the following activities can be identified (and iteration
Discourse graphs, describing the overall structure of the discourse.
Main objects are entities, speech acts and instrumental acts, activities,
and various components of and relations between these.
Conversation graphs, describing the dynamic discourse features.
Main elements are stages of conversations, speakers and hearers, and various
predicates controlling the conversation.
The foundation of SAMPO is claimed to be constructivistic. This claim stems
from SAMPO taking a language/action perspective on modeling, with explicit
support for modeling of the UoP in terms of communicative acts. Data modeling
is considered to describe the rules which govern the uses of signs
and symbols in organizational behaviors and thereby attach specific meanings
to the organizational vocabulary (Hirschheim, 1995:189). The constructivist
flavor of this is that rules are socially constructed and maintained through
their very application, and modeling according to SAMPO may be considered
modeling of a process of social construction of reality. However, SAMPO
does not aid the enterprise modeler much in the modeling process, as the
proposed modeling process is very general and focuses on representation
(as for several other approaches, e.g., OMT). The sense-making process
is not discussed in any significant detail in the surveyed literature.
Also, the modeling language (both the symbols and the underlying concepts)
does not lend itself easily to application by inexperienced modelers, as
also recognized by Hirschheim et al. (1995:232). Complicated modeling languages
restricts participation in the construction process.
Characterization of discourse:
Initial interviews with users in order to define discourse type.
Identification of main speech acts of the discourse.
Naming of discourse entities, e.g., agents.
Further clarification of speech acts and instrumental acts in tables (purpose,
frequency, timing, etc.).
Construction of activity tables (functional units of the organization).
Construction of predicate tables to control the flow of the discourse.
Analysis of discourse:
Analyze coherency of discourse by creating a conversation graph.
Analyze the completeness of discourse (finding conditions for termination
of processes through transformation of conversation graph into reachability
Describe coordination of commitments (modeling how speech acts influence
Analyze discourse ambiguity (concerning performance, commitments, and roles).