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There is much discussion in business management literature about the breakdown of hierarchical structures in business and the emergence of horizontal structures. These changes imply that the interactions across and between businesses need to be as complex as the component parts of the businesses. This relates well with the POSD view of the structure of systems. Work by Bootsma (recursive process management), Warnecke (the fractal company ISBN 354056537x), and others have explored these ideas. Click here and here to see references to such work.
The work on mobility by Milner and others is concerned with dynamic change in the structure of systems. It recognises that a system needs to be able to modify its structure. In other words the system needs to be able to modify the network of interactions connecting its components. However whilst the work on mobility allows the components to be viewed as complex compositions of (lower level) components and interactions, it views the interactions as primitive entities.
The key idea of POSD is that the interactions between components of a system should be treated as first class citizens with the same compositional power as the components. However POSD only caters for a static view of system structure and does not allow for change in this structure.
Click here for some thoughts on how these two approaches might be brought together.
A simple example demonstrates POSD coexisting with IDEF0. A more complex example in a local government context demonstrates POSD coexisting with an IDEF0 like notation.
last revision: 21st June 1997