Transformation of Multi-level Systems – Theoretical Grounding and Consequences for Enterprise Architecture Management

  • Ralf Abraham
  • José Tribolet
  • Robert Winter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 146)


In this paper, we investigate the support of enterprise architecture management (EAM) for enterprise transformation. Conceptualizing enterprises as systems, we draw on two theories that investigate static and dynamic system aspects, respectively – the theory of hierarchical, multi-level systems and control theory. From the theory of hierarchical, multi-level systems, we first introduce three orthogonal dimensions of hierarchy – layers, strata, and echelons. We then position EAM as a cross-dimensional transformation support function in this there-dimensional hierarchy space. Finally, we draw on control theory to derive a model of control and feedback loops that enables a designed EAM support of system-wide transformations. Using this model, we propose to extend the multi-level systems theory by a set of interlinked feedback loops as a fourth dimension. A case study of transformation in the Portuguese air force serves as an example illustrating the usefulness of the two theories for describing enterprise transformation.


Enterprise Architecture Management Control Feedback Multi- Level Systems Hierarchy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf Abraham
    • 1
  • José Tribolet
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robert Winter
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Information ManagementUniversity of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.CODE, Center for Organizational Design & EngineeringINOVLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Information Systems and Computer Science, Instituto Superior TécnicoTechnical University of LisbonPortugal

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