In this paper we argue for the possibilities of applying the concept of autopoiesis to the information systems of modern organizations. Modern organizations in today’s rapidly changing, turbulent and complex environment are virtual, open, heterarchic and autopoietic. The main question we try to address in this paper is how to support these organizations with an adequate information system. We show that it is possible to develop autopoietic information systems that should be able to respond to the challenges of modern organizations.
Autopoietic theory which represents a framework for describing complex non-linear and especially living systems is described in a context of biometric characteristics. It is argued that any living system by performing an internal process of reproducing its structural components yields physical biometric characteristics. Likewise any living system when structurally coupling to another (eventually allopoietic) system yields a behavioral or psychological characteristic of the living system. It is shown that any system that can be considered as autopoietic can potentially be measured, authenticated and/or identified using adequate biometric methods, and thus biometrics is applicable to any autopoietic system: living beings, groups of living beings, social systems, organizations as well as information systems. In the end implications of such a conceptualization are discussed as well as possible applications.
The PhD thesis is dealing with the idea of applying autopoietic theory to social semantic Web applications. The result of this view is the definition of application users as a social system that can be analyzed and measured. Using this framework social network analysis is used to annotate and amalgamate meta data gathered from a semantic wiki system based on frame logic. The new language allows querying uncertain data, amalgamation of heterogenous wiki systems and intelligent agent implementation.
Autopoietic theory, a theory of complex, nonlinear, autonomous and especially living systems, found its way from biology, through the social sciences to organization theory and information systems. It enjoys major attention from scientific audience in lots of different disciplines. Still there hasn’t been enough effort to establish a common foundation for a new theory. There are often contradictions in the very essence of the theory which are outlined in this article. By using a more simplistic conceptualization of autopoiesis, we are trying to give guidelines for a new foundation in this area.