Welcome to Organisational Semiotics Home

Organisational semiotics (OS) is a paradigm that guides semiotic research and practical applications in organised activities by addressing questions such as how organisations and individuals behave effectively in the information era, stakeholders’ needs and expectations, processes for achieving goals, norms for governing actors’ behaviour, and social values in organisations. OS, as a branch of a long-established discipline of sign – semiotics, sees an organisation as an information system in which information is processed and utilised as a key resource for achieving the organisational goals and objectives.

OS provides a framework for information management, and explores the nature, characteristics and functions of information in an organisational setting. The OS approach enables us to holistically inquire information and information systems from the syntactic, sematic, pragmatic, and social perspective. The OS also provides a set of methods and techniques which can be used to define a problem context, capture stakeholder’s requirements, specify business functions and norms, and represent enterprise knowledge that lead to design technological solutions.

In the past decades, OS and related methods and techniques have been applied in multi-disciplinary applications including computing, enterprise architecture and strategy, digital business, healthcare informatics, business-IT reengineering and intelligent spaces for working and living. Specifically, OS facilitates information systems development by providing semiotic diagnosis of organisations within an information ecosystem. Furthermore OS serves as the theoretical and methodological foundations for designing business valued IT systems through tackling infrastructural, operational, and organisational alignment. In the digital society, as new technologies e.g. social media, big data, cloud computing, mobile technology and internet of things increasingly affect business, organisation and people’s life; OS has become more relevant for its power of dealing with the interplay between signed based world (i.e. data and information world) and physical world (i.e. physical infrastructure and activities). The OS approach offers effective means to understand the phenomenon, design and produce solutions that integrate seamlessly the physical objects and the signs in the “semiological domain” in order to respond to the organisational needs in a business ecosystem.

The OS community aims to meet annually in a form of conference during which new research outcomes, challenges and trends are discussed. The first ground-breaking event to mark the birth of the discipline of OS was the workshop in Twente in 1995. Since 2001 the OS community started to receive regular support from the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), Working Group 8.1 for the OS workshops and conferences. In 2009, the workshop for Organisational Semiotics was renamed as the International Conference on Informatics and Semiotics in Organisations (ICISO). Over the years the conferences have covered many research themes to reflect the new challenges and trends, e.g. web of things, people and information systems; service science and knowledge innovation, information and knowledge management in complex systems, and socially aware organisations and technologies: impact and challenges. These regular events provide the opportunities for academic scholars and industrial practitioners to publish their research findings, reviews, and solutions which intend to improve economic and social welfare in the evolving organisation, foster business innovation, and advance the disciplines of OS and related informatics research in business, organisation and technologically enabled systems.

The next ICISO conference will be held in Campinas, Brazil on 1-3 August 2016. Please visit here for more information.