Business systems purpose, analysis

  • Petros Panagiotidis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis deals with the problematic of the business systems systemic purpose definition. The definition of the systemic purpose, which is regarded as the utmost expression of the system's purposefulness, is to be achieved by ensuring the participation of all the stakeholders, if possible, who affect or they are affected by the business system's operations. The nature of participation, defined as a process of the stakeholders' perceptual exchanges, is deemed to be problematic in itself due to the influence exerted upon it by organisational power, coercion and false consciousness. The main focus of the thesis then is to make aware and provide the stakeholders with an explicit philosophical pedestal and a set of principles upon which a meta- epistemological framework for the enquiry of the business system's purposeful behaviour is developed. In addition, the thesis focuses on the development of a methodology that can be used by the stakeholders to achieve self-knowledge through the critical and systemic examination of their normative presuppositions, about the business system, at both sociological as well as the psychological levels concurrently and the subsequent development of an organisational intrinsically motivated information system. According to the critical systems philosophy and principles, developed in this thesis, normative presuppositions define the stakeholders' perceptions about the purposeful behaviour of the business system they perceived as having a material, an informational and/or an emacipatory stake (human interest) in. The methodology will provide Information Systems that demonstrably improve coordination of organisational activities by enabling the development and maintenance of a single/multifaceted view of purpose throughout organisations.
Date of AwardNov 1998
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn Edwards (Supervisor)


  • critical systems thinking
  • complementarism
  • business systems
  • power
  • coercion
  • false consciousness
  • intrinsically motivated information systems

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