Hella’s PhD project

My dissertation project

The impact of cultural diversity on the Enterprise Architecture process

Problem definition

Enterprise architecture (EA) is positioned as an instrument for steering enterprise transformation. However, existing EA approaches do not cover all aspects having an impact on enterprise transformation. The existence of different organisational subcultures is not taken into account although it is considered as significant in the context of change. The social alignment of business and IT groups plays, for instance, a major role in transformations and in EA. Hella’s research aims at exploring the impact of organisational subcultures on the EA process, i.e. the process of coordinating enterprise transformations by using EA.

Research questions

How do the differences between organisational subcultures influence the process of coordinating enterprise transformations by using Enterprise Architecture?

1. What is the role of organisational subcultures in EA guided enterprise transformations perceived by enterprise architects?

2. What is the impact of differences between organisational subcultures on struggles in EA guided enterprise transformations?

3. How does communication impact the relation between cultural differences and EA guided enterprise transformations?

Research objective

  • Exploring and understanding the role of differences between organisational subcultures in EA guided enterprise transformations
  • Develop an explanatory theory

Research approach

As this research tries to understand a complex social phenomenon, qualitative research techniques are used. Unstructured and semi-structured interviews with architects from multiple organisations provide a broader view on the role of subcultures in EA. The interviews focus especially on the question to what extent struggles in EA guided transformations can be traced back to differences between organisational subcultures. In a second step, case-study research is used to zoom in on selected insights from the interviews.

Research results

  • Niemietz, H. (2013): The impact of organisational subcultures on the Enterprise Architecture process. In Proceedings of the International Conference Information Systems 2013, Lisbon, Portugal, pp. 397-400.
  • Niemietz, H., de Kinderen, S., Constantinidis, C. (2013): Understanding the role of subcultures in the enterprise architecture process. In Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Niemietz, H., de Kinderen, S. (2013): Communication breakdowns in architecture driven transformations: the result of cultural diversity? In Proceedings of the 15th IEEE Conference on Business Informatics (CBI), Vienna, Austria.
  • Abraham, R., Niemietz, H., de Kinderen, S., Aier, S. (2013): Can boundary objects mitigate communication defects in enterprise transformation? Findings from expert interviews. In Proceedings of the 5th International Workshop on Enterprise Modelling and Information Systems Architectures (EMISA), St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Hella Faller