UML: A Complex Technology Embedded in Complex Organizational Issues

  • Tor J. Larsen
  • Fred Niederman
  • Moez Limayem
  • Joyce Chan
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 206)


Much computer science literature addresses the mechanics of UML and requirements modeling, but little research has addressed the role of UML in the broader organizational and project development context. This study uses a socio-technical approach to consider the interaction between UML as a technology embedded in a social environment. In this study, project developers were interviewed in detail about their use of UML along with influences on their decisions to use this tool and the results of using it. Data were analyzed using a causal mapping approach. Major findings included (1) the unanticipated observation that project success was only one of several distinct and important development outcomes; (2) a very large number of variables impacting project success were reported; (3) a number of important variables that exist in complex (nonlinear) relationships with project success; and (4) the majority of interviewees linked use of UML to project success.


Unified modeling language (UML) social environment causal mapping approach 


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tor J. Larsen
    • 1
  • Fred Niederman
    • 2
  • Moez Limayem
    • 3
  • Joyce Chan
    • 4
  1. 1.Norwegian School of ManagementOsloNorway
  2. 2.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Lausanne University LausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.City University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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