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Integrative systems: assessing requirements and capabilities for intra- and inter-organizational contexts

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1 Author(s)
Sutherland, J.W. ; Dept. of Inst. Syst., Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Richmond, VA, USA

Of the several major functions of management (planning, control, etc.), integration remains the least well-elaborated in terms of its technical implications. It has been dealt with primarily as an aspect of formal organization theory where, naturally enough, the focus is on integrative requirements, deficiencies, and remedies that are essentially structural or configurational in nature. In contrast, the emphasis in these pages is instrumental, focused mainly on the relationship between technical requirements and technical capabilities. This paper is divided into four parts. The first part works through a generalized conceptual framework that will hopefully provide some meaningful insights into the origin and nature of integrative requirements. In the second part is proposed a four-part taxonomy of technically significant integrative modes. In the third part, arguments about the apparent reach and limits of currently available integrative instruments are presented. The final part suggests some ways in which implications drawn from the technical perspective might perhaps usefully complement integrative inquiries undertaken by management and transaction theorists

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Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 2 )