6.6.1    Groups of actors

Seeing enterprise modeling as a process of perspective making and perspective taking implies that communities of knowing can be identified. As enterprise modeling was integrated with and thus inseparable from strategy development, all groups of actors involved in the project are potential communities with respect to modeling.

An indication of the existence of distinct communities of knowing is observation of disagreement on the modeled domain. The domain (aspects of the enterprise or the project) can be seen as the perspective of a community of knowing, and disagreement on perspectives may stem from actors being affiliated with different communities.

Before discussing disagreement in more detail, an overview of the models that were created and their domain is provided, as disagreement varied with the model. The section is closed by a discussion of some possible communities of knowing.

Types of work being modeled in the strategy project

The enterprise models M1 - M7 all describe perspectives held by some community of knowing (at least the creators of the models), and provides an assessment of the models according to the following variables:  
Label  Type of work  Model description  Agreement 
M1  RI  The project plan -- prescribes form, not contents of the development process. The forms of the artifacts were well known, and hence, replication risk.  Yes 
M2  RI, DI  The method foil -- prescribes implicitly work dominated by design risk in the question part of the model. The nature of the answers to the questions were not known in advance, hence, design risk.  No 
M3  RM  Installations in the North Sea -- describes the flow of physical artifacts being well known.  Yes 
M4  RM, RI  The production chain, including assessment matrices describing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Artifacts known at the required level of abstraction. Both matter and information present in each element (although implicitly).  Yes 
M5  RI  Communication model -- communication of information was well known activity (hence replication risk).  Yes 
M6  RI  Revised version of the method foil M2 after the work groups had finished. Describes what had been done, being known at the time of presentation and level of abstraction.  Yes 
M7  RM, RI  Model at same level of abstraction as M4, but distinguishes between oil and gas.  Yes 
Table 6.2: Type of work that is represented in models from the strategy project

All three enterprise level models (M3, M4 and M7) mainly represent the physical production chain, although project actors were well aware of the existence of an "infor-mation chain". One of the consultants claimed in a preparatory meeting before WS1 that most of the company employees actually worked in the information and decision chain. At WS2, the following dialogue occurred when one of the WG leaders presented their enterprise model:

Actor from audience: "Why do you have the production chain one way and the value chain the other? And what about the information chain?"
WG leader: "The value chain corresponds to the cash flow. And the information chain ought to be incorporated, it is the most difficult of all."
Despite the awareness, the physical production chain was the one that dominated the discussions and the models. The information or decision chain was only implicitly present in the models (e.g., as a part of field development, interpretation of seismic data, or deciding what area to develop).

Most of the models describe work associated with replication risk. Only M2 describes work dominated by design risk (neither the process of developing the strategy nor the outcome of the development process were well known in advance). The M6 model, being a rational account of the work that had been done, was more known, as the work groups had been through and gained experience from answering the questions.

Disagreement on models and reality

The degree of disagreement concerning models and reality varied significantly. Conflicting views were observed related to M2, the assessment matrices accompanying M4 (and later M7), and on terminology. Before going in detail on what the conflicts concerned, the models subject to agreement are discussed.
Models that were introduced and used without disagreement
All three enterprise level models M3, M4 and M7 were introduced and used without disagreement on their validity. The project plan M1, the communication model M5 and the final method foil M6 were also accepted without any objections.

The models that were agreed upon all described work dominated by replication risk, either with material or information-based artifacts.

One interpretation of the lack of conflict is that the realities these models were perceived to represent were widely agreed upon among the actors involved in the strategy project. From a constructivist point of view, there was a closure concerning the core processes in Statoil.

Disagreement over the method -- M2
The disagreement on model M2 followed the distinction between the process group and the work groups. The PG had developed the method (with some help from the consultants concerning some techniques used for assessments), while the WGs were asked to work according to it. Observations pertaining to disagreement over method are reported in WG Gas (page 110), at WS2 (page 114), and in the PG (page 116).

There was no disagreement over the need for the method or the method per se, i.e., all actors seemed to agree that the information asked for in the method foil was required to develop the strategy. The disagreement concerned the possibility of making the assessments required by the method, i.e., to work as the method prescribed. The work groups claimed that method could not be enacted, while the process group claimed that they had to try a bit harder. Hence, the disagreement concerned validity of the model -- is the model elements compliant with reality or is it not practically feasible with the available resources?

Disagreement over the assessment matrices
The disagreements over assessment matrices (the ones developed together with M4) were first and foremost between the actors in the enterprise audience and the work groups presenting their preliminary deliverables at WS3 (page 118). Most of the disagreement did not have a "correct" answer, it was more to be seen as extending or moderating the assessments made by the work groups.

One type of disagreement concerned categorization: Is a given event or factor a threat or an opportunity? Does it belong to one category or several categories simultaneously? Another type of disagreement concerned the correctness and completeness of the assessments: Is the claimed strength really a strength or does it represent a "should-be" reality (page 112)? Why is a certain element not included in the assessment?

Disagreement over terminology
Disagreement over terminology was observed throughout the whole project, and occurred both within and between the project groups. Incidences within project groups have been reported for the PG (page 101) and SG (page 122). Disagreement between project groups is described on pages 103, 116 and 124 (BoT vs. PG), page 112 (PG vs. WGs at WS2) and page 124 (users vs. PG).

Most disagreements were due to differences in understanding of a term. Terminology is a significant part of a perspective of a community of knowing, and conflict in terminology may indicate that the perspective is evolving. Terminology is discussed in more detail on page 136.

Groups of actors as communities of knowing

Figure 6.11 summarizes the groups of actors involved in the strategy project. The central group is the PG, with several other groups overlapping in participation.
Figure 6.11: Groups of actors in the technology strategy project

There are a number of candidates for communities of knowing in the project, but it is easier to start with the ones that do not stand out as distinct communities. The chief engineers are not a single community of knowledge, as they do not have any formalized cooperation as group per se. This is also a valid claim for the external consultants, suppliers and academia, other Statoil employees and to some degree WG Deliverable, as they did not work together as a group for a prolonged period of time (i.e., they did not construct a common perspective).

Although these groups did not develop distinct perspectives on their own, the individual actors in these groups come from different communities of knowing, depending on factors like their education (e.g., engineer), organizational unit (e.g., gas transportation), and professional discipline (e.g., maintenance of pipelines). Hence, these actors brought the perspectives of their more permanent communities of knowing -- the communities where they normally conduct their work -- to bear upon the perspective created in the technology strategy project.

From the disagreement on the model M2 discussed above, the WGs and the PG/SG can be considered as distinct communities with distinct perspectives concerning the work process described by model M2. Still, in most other matters, there were no distinctions between the groups. Hence, whether to consider the WGs and the PG/SG as distinct communities is not clear, as the observed incommensurability was not severe. One possible reason is the intensive communication between the groups, combined with overlap in project group participation. Hence, the groups did not have time to develop perspectives that differed significantly from existing perspectives before communicating them to the others.

The PG/WG/SG constellation is more reasonably seen as a distinct community of knowing with their perspective on terminology and assessments in the technology strategy. Hence, with respect to enterprise modeling in the strategy project, the two most distinguished communities of knowing involved in perspective making and perspective taking were:

During the six months the strategy development lasted, the PG/WG/SG group essentially developed a perspective that concerned the use of technology in Statoil. The dissemination phase was intended as a way to support perspective taking.