The 6th International Workshop on Organisational Semiotics (OS2003)

Venue: Department of Computer Science

Location: Reading, United Kingdom

Event Date/Time: Jul 11, 2003 End Date/Time: Jul 12, 2003
Registration Date: Jun 15, 2003
Early Registration Date: May 15, 2003
Abstract Submission Date: Jan 06, 2003
Paper Submission Date: Mar 15, 2003
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Call for Papers
The 6th International Workshop on Organisational Semiotics
Virtual, distributed and flexible organisations
11 - 12 July 2003, Reading, UK

Organisational Semiotics, a branch of semiotics, focuses on the nature, characteristics and behaviour of signs. The term Organisational Semiotics (hereafter OS) was officially coined in the first international workshop in Twente in 1995 after a long time of research by colleagues who have worked in the many fields of organisational studies and information systems. OS opens up new ways of understanding the functioning of information and information resources in organised behaviour. It treats organisations as the real information systems in which technologies have an essential role to play. It develops this perspective using the established discipline of semiotics, the theory of signs. The fundamental notion of sign - anything that stands for something else with a certain community – offers a handle for in-depth study of human and technical aspects of information systems.

The OS community aims to meet annually by running the OS workshops. The community has been fortunate in receiving support and recognition from IFIP (the International Federation of Information Processing). In 2001, the IFIP WG 8.1 held a working conference in Montreal 2001 entitled “Organisational Semiotics - Evolving a Science of Information Systems”, which reflects the ambition of establishing a new discipline by the OS research community. The table below summarises the meetings held in the past years.

No. Type of event Host/venue Year Deliverables
1st International workshop University of Twente, Enschede (NL) 1995 Proceedings
2nd International workshop University of Twente, Almelo (NL) 1999 Book by Kluwer
3rd International workshop Staffordshire University, Stafford (UK), 2000 Book by Kluwer
4th IFIP WG8.1 Working Conference Concordia University, Montreal (Canada) 2001 IFIP official conference proceedings (book)
5th International workshop Groningen University and Delft University, Delft (NL) 2002 Book by Kluwer (to appear)

This workshop in 2003 will continue the effort of an international research community in the development of a new discipline of organisational semiotics (OS). It will focus not only on the theory-building, but also on practical benefits gained so far through application of methods and techniques derived from various OS approaches.

Paper submission in the following, but not restricted, topics will be welcome:
• Semiotic analysis of the nature of virtuality and virtual organisations
• Co-design of business and IT systems for distributed and flexible organisations
• Organisational behaviour and changes based on developing semiotic entities like models, plans, norms and designs
• Modelling and simulation in organisational understanding, organisational re-design, process re-engineering and change analysis
• Legacy systems re-engineering and integration of IT and business systems,
• Interaction between semiotic and material processes in organisations
• Actability and transparency in information systems: under which conditions will system behavior be interpretable to users and support proper actions?
• Interface design and the division of labor in organizations: who needs to access to what information?
• Pervasive computing: designing an environment of computer based signs. Physical space as the new interface to information systems. .

The papers will be peer reviewed. Both papers of a theoretical nature and papers that discuss historical and empirical research are welcomed. Contributors are encouraged to submit an abstract to register interest and seek advice from the programme committee. Full paper submission must reach the conference secretary in a Word file by the 31st March 2003. We intend to publish selected papers in a post conference book as previous workshops.

Important note on submission
Interested contributors are strongly advised to send a no more than one-page abstract (in a Word file attachment) to the workshop secretary ( to seek advise on the papers; interested participants are also advised to indicate your intention to the workshop secretary, both no later than Monday 6 January 2003. We currently intend to limit the size of the workshop to 50 participants, subject to the expression of interest received by that date. In case there is a short of space, priority will be given to those expressed their interest.

Important dates
Abstract submission: 6 January, 2003
Indication of intended participation (if no abstract submission): 6 January, 2003
Full paper submission: 15 March 2003, in Word
Notification of acceptance: 1 May 2003
Camera-ready version: 1 June, in Word
Workshop: 11-12 July, 2003

Programme Committee
Kecheng Liu (chair) – The University of Reading, United Kingdom
Peter Andersen, Aalborg University, Denmark
Cecilia Baranauskas, UNICAMP, Brazil
Rodney Clarke, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom
Joaquim Filipe, Escola Superior de Tecnologia de Setubal, Portugal
Henk Gazendam, Groningen University and Twente University, The Netherlands
Göran Goldkuhl, Linköping University, Sweden
René Jorna, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Ronald Stamper, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Workshop Secretary: Steven Xie (

The workshop website, where you can also find information on past workshops/meetings of Organisational Semiotics and on how to order OS books, is:


The University of Reading
United Kingdom