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==Human and Organizational Nature of SoS==
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[[System of Systems (SoS) (glossary)]] [[Acronyms|(SoS)]] contain many types of [[System (glossary)|systems]] among which are, what are often termed, [[Enterprise (glossary)]] Systems (Chen et. al. 2008). There are many different definitions of enterprise:  within a SoS [[Environment (glossary)]] an enterprise system could be described as a [[Complex (glossary)]], socio-technical system that comprises interdependent resources of people, information, and technology that must interact with each other and their environment in support of a common [[Mission (glossary)]] (See also [[Enterprise Systems Engineering]]. Emerging ‘soft’ issues critical to the [[Design (glossary)]] and operation of Systems of Systems can be identified as follows (see Hubbard et. al. 2010),  
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'''''Lead Authors:''''' ''Judith Dawson, Mike Henshaw, Bud Lawson'', '''''Contributing Authors:''''' ''Heidi Davidz, Alan Faisandier''
*Decision making in SoS, including issues in autonomy, authority, responsibility and [[Ethics (glossary)|ethics]]
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*Measures of Enterprise SoS performance
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In perhaps the earliest reference to Systems of Systems (SoS), Ackoff (1971) describes a concept that is mostly concerned with organizations, i.e. social. However, this section is concerned with the socio-technical aspects of technical SoS, which are composed of interdependent resources, such as, people, processes, information, and technology that interact with each other and with their environment in support of a common mission (glossary).
*Impact of [[Culture (glossary)|culture]] and cultural attributes on multinational and multicultural [[Team (glossary)|team]] performance
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*System of Systems ethics, [[Governance (glossary)|governance]], and regulation
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==The Socio-Technical Nature of Systems of Systems==
*System of Systems experimentation
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Rebovich (2009) [ has captured the essence of the SoS problem as:
*Shared/distributed situational awareness
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*Alternative approaches to training, e.g., virtual reality, gaming
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“From a single-system community’s perspective, its part of the SoS capability represents additional obligations, constraints and complexities. Rarely is participation in an (sic) SoS seen as a net gain from the viewpoint of single-system stakeholders.”
*SoS lead and lag ‘soft’ [[Metric (glossary)|metrics]], e.g., improved mental and physical workload [[Measurement (glossary)|measurement]] techniques
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*Enterprise System [[Agility (glossary)|agility]] and [[Resilience (glossary)|resilience]], e.g., dynamic allocation and reallocation of function, the human in the loop
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Three of the persistent SoS challenges, or pain points, identified by Dahmann (2015) are directly related to this problem of stakeholder perspective and the local optimization of constituent system performance at the expense, or to the detriment of, the overall SoS performance. These are: SoS Authority, Leadership, and Autonomy, Interdependencies & Emergence. Thus, the sociological aspects affecting decision making and human behaviors must be given similar weight to the technical aspects of SoS.
*Enterprise SoS leadership and motivational issues
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 +
Turning to views outside of Systems Engineering, Ergonomists regard socio-technical systems as having the following characteristics (Maguire, 2014):
 +
* There are collective operational tasks,  
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* They contain social and technical sub-systems,  
 +
* They are open systems (i.e. strongly interacting with their environments), and
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* The concept of the system being an unfinished system. 
  
The holy grail of being able to look into the future by evaluating the [[Effectiveness (glossary)]], impact or added value of alternative enterprise system configurations, prior to deployment, is still a long way off.   Such a [[Capability (glossary)]] would greatly enhance an enterprise’s ability to dynamically (re-)configure appropriate systems (people, [[Process (glossary)]], and technology) to achieve the performance required to produce designated capability in different [[Context (glossary)|contexts]] and to avoid enterprise structures that are susceptible to undesirable emergent behaviour (See also [[Emergence]]) including adverse circumstances such as accidents, disastersEnterprise System [[Model (glossary)|models]] not only provide the means to visualize, represent, and analyse the inner workings of an Enterprise SoS, but can also constitute the building blocks of an [[Enterprise Architecture (glossary)|Enterprise SoS Architecture]] [[Acronyms|(EA)]].  
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These are also characteristics of Systems of Systems. Klein (2014) has noted that approaches to socio-technical systems can take the two perspectives of “system affects people” or “people affect system”, depending upon how the [[What is a System?|system boundary is drawn]].  It is generally true for systems that consideration of their context requires socio-technical aspects to be taken into account.
  
An EA is an [[Architecture (glossary)]] of an organization that supports strategy, analysis, and planning by [[Stakeholder (glossary)|stakeholders]] to determine how the organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives. (1)  An EA Framework provides a methodology to describe how an EA is organized, structured, and operates in terms of people, processes, [[Product (glossary)]], [[Information Technology (glossary)]] [[Acronyms|(IT)]] and resources in order to achieve its goal.(1A)
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Although focused largely on IT systems, Baxter and Sommerville (2011) have noted that the introduction of new business SoS are generally carried out in conjunction with a change process. They argue that frequently the social and organizational aspects are disruptive and that inadequate attention is paid to the connection between change processes and systems development processes. They propose two types of Socio-Technical Systems Engineering activities:
1 + 1A = tiger team document (replace with appropriate description)
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* Sensitizing and awareness activities, designed to sensitize stakeholders to the concerns of other stakeholders.
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* Constructive engagement activities, which are largely concerned with deriving requirements accurately and meaningfully.
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The extent to which these activities can be effective may be challenged by independent management or operation of constituent systems in a SoS.
  
Existing [[Model (glossary)|models]] and enterprise system architectures and Frameworks (e.g. Zachman, CIMOSA, GERAM, VERAM, ToVE , PERA DoDAF, MODAF)  tend to deal with enterprise [[Element (glossary)|elements]] such as Resources, Information Flows and Functions well, but a) within a process framework and b) they do not show a sufficient capability to include ''soft'' enterprise characteristics such as policies, culture, [[Competency (glossary)|competencies]], decision making structures, etc. within dynamic models. Hence, changes in one or more of these characteristics are not shown in overall organizational system performance. The following points can be made with reference to EAs:
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Although there are many matters concerning the socio-technical aspects of SoS, there are two important issues, that are dealt with her. The first is the need for appropriate governance structures, given that operational and/or managerial independence affects top-down direction of the SoS and may compromise achievement of the SoS goal(s).  The second issue is a lack of situational awareness of managers, operators, or other stakeholders of the SoS, so that they may not understand the impact of their local decisions on the wider SoS.
  
*Architecture is foundational for managing modern enterprises and planning enterprise integration.
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==SoS Governance==
*An EA framework is an organized collection of ingredients (tools, methodologies, modeling languages, models, etc.) necessary to architect or re-architect whole or part of an enterprise.  
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Generally, design and operation of complex systems is concerned with control, but the classification of SoS (Dahmann, et. al., 2008) is based on the notion of diminishing central control, as the types go from directed to virtual.  Sauser, et. al. (2009) has described the ‘control paradox of SoS’ and asserted that for SoS, ‘management’ is replaced by ‘governance’.   ‘Control is a function of rules, time, and bandwidth; whereas command is a function of trusts, influence, fidelity, and agility’.
*For a given enterprise, the enterprise architecture describes the relationships among the mission assigned to the enterprise, the work the enterprise does, the information the enterprise uses, and the physical means, human labor, and IT that the enterprise needs.
 
  
The prime advantage of an EA is to provide a common view (in the form of models) of what is going on in the enterprise to relevant actors or stakeholders of the enterprise. The second decisive advantage of an EA is that it provides a sound basis for the management of change that occurs throughout the [[Life Cycle (glossary)]] of the enterprise. Vernadat (1996) combines the two methodologies of enterprise modeling and enterprise integration and advocates a systematic engineering approach called Enterprise Engineering, for modeling, analysing, designing and implementing integrated enterprise systems.
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Some practitioners have found the Cynefin framework, developed by David Snowden, helpful in understanding the nature of complexity that may arise in SoS. Developed from knowledge management considerations, Kurtz and Snowden (2003) propose three reasons why the behavior of systems involving people may be difficult to predict. Firstly, humans are not limited to one identity, and so modelling human behaviors using norms may not be reliable. Secondly, humans are not limited to acting in accordance with predetermined rules. Thirdly, humans are not limited to acting on local patterns. These reasons all undermine control, so that the sociological aspects of SoS make their behaviours hard to predict and, possibly indeterminate.  The Cynefin framework considers systems to be classified in four domains:
 +
* Known – simple systems with predictable and repeatable cause and effect
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* Knowable – amenable to systems thinking and analytical/reductionist methods
 +
* Complex – adaptive systems where cause and effect are only discernable in retrospect and do not repeat
 +
* Chaotic – no cause and effect relationships are perceivable
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The different types of SoS (directed, acknowledged, collaborative, and virtual) could all be described in any of the above domains, depending on many factors internal to the SoS, but in all cases it is the sociological element of the socio-technical SoS that is most likely to give rise to ambiguity in predicting behavior.
  
Enterprise modelling [[Acronyms|(EM)]] is concerned with the representation and specification of the various aspects of enterprise operations; namely, functional aspects to describe what are the things to be done and in which order; informational aspects to describe which objects are used or processed; resource aspects to describe what or who performs things and according to which policy; and organizational aspects to describe the organizational structure and the responsibility frame within which things are being done.  These Enterprise System models can be combined within an EA framework to provide a dynamic overview of the enterprise system.
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A major governance issue for SoS is understanding the ownership of, and making reliable estimates of risk (Fovino & Masera, 2007).  High levels of connectivity, and the potential for emergent behavior due to the interactions of separately owned/operated constituent systems, means that significant risks may go unacknowledged and their mitigations unplanned.  
  
Although there are several models available to assess the structure and performance of organizations (e.g. Castka 2001; Curtis et. al. 2001; Tannenbaum et. al. 1996), few if any of these models provide quantitative and qualitative measures of performance and none are truly able to provide a direct multi-point, measurable cause and effect link between the various ''soft'' attributes of an enterprise system and its performance.  It is clear, though, that success factors from a human perspective do center upon the structure of communication (stakeholder management) and decision making processes and systems within the overall System of Systems
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In general, governance can be summed up by asking three connected questions (Siemieniuch and Sinclair, 2014):
 +
* Are we doing the right things (leadership)?
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* Are we doing those things right (management)?
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* How do we know this (metrics and measurements)?
  
==Governance in SoS==
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Currently, there is no accepted framework for addressing these questions in a SoS context, but Henshaw et. al. (2013) highlighted architectures as an important means through which governance may be clarified.  They postulate that a SoS can be regarded as a set of trust and contract relationships between systems (i.e. including both informal and formal relationships).  The systems architect of a constituent system must, therefore, address trust issues for each participating organization in the overall enterprise with which his/her system must interoperate.  For SoS, technical engineering governance is concerned with defining and ensuring compliance with trust at the interface between constituent systems.  An example of difficulty managing the interfaces in a SoS is provided in the [[How Lack of Information Sharing Jeopardized the NASA/ESA Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn|Cassini-Huygens mission case study]] .
==The SoS mindset==
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SoS problems often exhibit many of the characteristics of so-called ''wicked problem'' (Rittel and Webber 1973):
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==Situational Awareness==
*Problems are extremely complex and not bounded or stable
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Situational awareness is a decision maker’s understanding of the environment in which he/she takes a decision; it concerns information, awareness, perception, and cognition.  Endsley (1995) emphasizes that situational awareness is a state of knowledge.  There are numerous examples of SoS failure due to the operator of one constituent system making decisions based on inadequate knowledge of the overall SoS (big picture).
*They do not have unique, right solutions, but rather solutions that are either better or worse than others, and they do not have a definitive formulation
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*SoS requirements are often volatile with changing constraints and moving targets
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On the other hand, SoS development is also viewed as the means through which improved situational awareness may be achieved (Van der Laar, et. al., 2013).  In the defense environment, Network Enabled Capability (NEC) was a system of systems approach motivated by the objective of making better use of information sharing to achieve military objectives.  NEC was predicated on the ability to share useful information effectively among the stakeholders that need it.  It is concluded that improving situational awareness will improve SoS performance, or at least reduce the risk of failures at the SoS level.  Thus, the principles which govern the organization of the SoS should support sharing information effectively across the network; in essence, ensuring that every level of the {{Term|Interoperability (glossary)|interoperability spectrum}} is adequately serviced. Operators need insight into the effect that their own local decisions may have on the changing SoS or environment; similarly they need to understand how external changes will affect the systems that they own.
*Stakeholders have different views, and
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*Understanding the whole context is difficult and critical.
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Increasingly, SoS include constituent systems with high levels of autonomous decision making ability, a class of system that can be described as cyber-physical systems (of systems). The relationship to SoS is described by Henshaw (2016).  Issues arise because autonomy can degrade human situational awareness regarding the behavior of the SoS, and also the autonomous systems within the SoS have inadequate situational awareness due to a lack of competent models of humans (Sowe, 2016)  
SoS problems relate to both hard (mechanical, electronic, and [[Software (glossary)]]) and soft (people, organizations, and regulatory) systems considerations. Research must nowadays include mixed methods and approaches (Conklin 2005) that include both quantitative and qualitative techniques, making this a very challenging area intellectually.
 
  
 
==References==  
 
==References==  
Please make sure all references are listed alphabetically and are formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed). See the [http://www.bkcase.org/fileadmin/bkcase/files/Wiki_Files__for_linking_/BKCASE_Reference_Guidance.pdf BKCASE Reference Guidance] for additional information.
 
  
===Citations===
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===Works Cited===
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Ackoff, R.L.(1971)  “Towards a Systems of Systems Concepts,” ''Manage. Sci.'', vol. 17, no. 11, pp. 661–671.
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Baxter, G. and I. Sommerville, (2011) “Socio-technical systems: From design methods to systems engineering,” Interact. Comput., vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 4–17.
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Dahmann, J. S. & Baldwin, K. J. (2008) Understanding the Current State of US Defense Systems of Systems and the Implications for Systems Engineering, 2nd Annual IEEE Systems Conference, 1–7. http://doi.org/10.1109/SYSTEMS.2008.4518994
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Dahmann, J.S. (2015) “Systems of Systems Characterization and Types,” in Systems of Systems Engineering for NATO Defence Applications (STO-EN-SCI-276), pp. 1–14.]
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Endsley, M. R. (1995) Toward a Theory of Situation Awareness in Dynamic Systems, J. Human Factors and Ergonomics Soc., 37(1), 32–64. http://doi.org/10.1518/001872095779049543
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Fovino, I. N., & Masera, M. (2007) Emergent disservices in interdependent systems and system-of-systems, in Proc. IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Vol. 1, pp. 590–595. http://doi.org/10.1109/ICSMC.2006.384449
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 +
Henshaw, M. J. de C., Siemieniuch, C. E., & Sinclair, M. A. (2013) Technical and Engineering Governance in the Context of Systems of Systems, in NATO SCI Symp. Architecture Assessment for NEC (pp. 1–10). Tallinn, Es. NATO STO.
  
Castka, P. B. 2001. "Factors Affecting the Successful Implementation of High Performance Teams." ''Team Performance Management 7'' (7/8), 123-134.  
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Henshaw, M. (2014) A Socio-Technical Perspective on SoSE, in Lecture Series in Systems of Systems Engineering for NATO Defence Applications (SCI-276). NATO CSO.
  
Curtis, B., W. E. Hefley, and S. A. Miller. 2009. "People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM)" Version 2.0, 2nd Ed. Software Engineering Institute. Carnegie Mellon University.
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Henshaw, M. (2016). Systems of Systems, Cyber-Physical Systems, The Internet-of-Things…Whatever Next? INSIGHT, 19(3), pp.51–54.
http://repository.cmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=sei
 
  
Conklin, J. 2005. "Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems." Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 1st ed. ISBN 978-0-47001-768-5
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Klein, L. (2014) What do we actually mean by ‘sociotechnical’? On values, boundaries and the problems of language, Appl. Ergon., vol. 45, no. 2 PA, pp. 137–142.
  
Hubbard, E-M., C. E. Siemieniuch, and M. A. Sinclair.  Hodgson A. 2010. "Working towards a Holisticorganisational Systems Model." Presented at 5th Int. Conf. Systems of Systems Engineering (SoSE), Loughborough, UK. 22-24 June.  
+
Kurtz, C.F. and D. J. Snowden (2003) “The New Dynamics of Strategy: Sense-making in a Complex-Complicated World,” IBM Syst. J., vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 462–483.
  
Rittel, H. W. J. and M. M. Webber 1973. "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning." ''Policy Sciences 4''  Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Inc.: 155–169. In Cross. N. 1984. Ed. ''"Developments in Design Methodology."'' Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. pp. 135–144
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Maguire, M. (2014) Socio-technical systems and interaction design - 21st century relevance, Appl. Ergon., vol. 45, no. 2 PA, pp. 162–170.[http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a468785.pdf :/mil/]
  
Tannenbaum, S. I., E. Salas, and J. A. Cannon-Bowers 1996. "Promoting Team Effectiveness." In West, M. A. ''"Handbook of Work Group Psychology."'' Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Rebovich, G. (2009) “Enterprise systems of Systems,” in Systems of Systems Engineering - Principles and Applications, M. Jamshidi, Ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp. 165–191. 
  
Vernadat, F. B. 1996. ''"Enterprise Modeling and Integration: Principles and Applications."'' London, England, UK: Chapman and Hall Publishers.
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Sauser, B., Boardman, J., & Gorod, A. (2009) System of Systems Management, in System of Systems Engineering: Innovations for the 21st Century, M. Jamshidi (Ed.), (pp. 191–217) Wiley.
  
===Primary References===
+
Siemieniuch, C.E. & Sinclair, M.A. (2014) Extending systems ergonomics thinking to accommodate the socio-technical issues of Systems of Systems, Appl. Ergon., V 45, Issue 1, Pages 85-98
Checkland P B. 1981. [[Systems Thinking, Systems Practice]]. Wiley.
 
  
Hubbard E-M, Siemieniuch C E, Sinclair M A, Hodgson A. 2010. [[Working towards a Holistic Organisational Systems Model]]. 5th Int. Conf. Systems of Systems Engineering (SoSE), Loughborough, UK. 22-24 June.  
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Sowe, S.K. et al. (2016) Cyber-Physical-Human Systems - putting people in the loop. IT Professional, 18(February), pp.10–13.]
  
Rittel Horst W J, and Webber Melvin M. 1973. [[Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning]]. pp. Policy Sciences, Vol. 4, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Inc., Amsterdam,155–169. (Reprinted in Cross N. (ed.). 1984. Developments in Design Methodology, J. Wiley & Sons, Chichester, pp. 135–144)
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Van der Laar, P., Tretmans, J., & Borth, M. (2013) Situational Awareness with Systems of Systems. Springer.
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===Primary References===
 +
Checkland, P.B. 1981. [[Systems Thinking, Systems Practice]]. Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.  
  
 
===Additional References===
 
===Additional References===
Bruesburg A. and Fletcher G. 2008. The Human View Handbook Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd.  
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Bruesburg, A., and G. Fletcher. 2009. ''The Human View Handbook for MODAF'', draft version 2, second issue. Bristol, England, UK: Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd. Available: http://www.hfidtc.com/research/process/reports/phase-2/hv-handbook-issue2-draft.pdf.
 
 
IFIP-IFAC Task Force. 1999. The Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology, V1.6.3. http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/~bernus/taskforce/geram/versions/geram1-6-3/v1.6.3.html.
 
  
ISO 14258:1998. Industrial automation systems -- Concepts and rules for enterprise models. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization;
+
IFIP-IFAC Task Force. 1999. "The Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology," V1.6.3. Available: http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/~bernus/taskforce/geram/versions/geram1-6-3/v1.6.3.html.
  
ISO 19439:2006. Enterprise integration -- Framework for enterprise modelling. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.  
+
ISO. 1998. ISO 14258:1998, ''Industrial automation systems — Concepts and rules for enterprise models.'' Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.
  
ISO 19440:2007. Enterprise integration -- Constructs for enterprise modelling. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.
+
ISO. 2006. ISO 19439:2006, ''Enterprise integration — Framework for enterprise modelling.'' Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.  
  
Miller Frederic - P., Vandome Agnes F, and McBrewster John.2009.Enterprise Modelling. VDM Publishing House Ltd. ISBN 6130253370,9786130253370
+
ISO. 2007. ISO 19440:2007, ''Enterprise integration — Constructs for enterprise modelling.'' Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.
  
 +
Miller, F.P., A.F. Vandome, and J. McBrewster. 2009. ''Enterprise Modelling.'' Mauritius: Alphascript Publishing, VDM Verlag Dr. Müller GmbH & Co. KG.
 
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====Article Discussion====
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<center>[[Architecting Approaches for Systems of Systems|< Previous Article]] | [[Systems of Systems (SoS)|Parent Article]] | [[Capability Engineering|Next Article >]]</center>
(Davidz, 08/22)
 
*There should be links from this section to Part 5.  The text is not integrated with the material in Part 5.
 
*The "Socio-Technical Features of Systems of Systems" goes beyond Enterprise Systems.  As an example, different individual competencies (like collaboration and communication) may be even more important for actors in an SoS environment than in a typical SE environment. 
 
*The text wanders through topics rather than providing a structured and comprehensive discussion.
 
  
[[{{TALKPAGENAME}}|[Go to discussion page]]]
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<center>'''SEBoK v. 2.3, released 30 October 2020'''</center>
<center>[[Architecting Approaches for Systems of Systems|<- Previous Article]] | [[Systems of Systems (SoS)|Parent Article]] | [[Capability Engineering|Next Article ->]]</center>
 
  
==Signatures==
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[[Category:Part 4]]
[[Category:Part 4]][[Category:Topic]]
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[[Category:Topic]]
--[[User:Blawson|Blawson]] 20:47, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
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[[Category:Systems of Systems (SoS)]]

Latest revision as of 03:58, 14 October 2020


Lead Authors: Judith Dawson, Mike Henshaw, Bud Lawson, Contributing Authors: Heidi Davidz, Alan Faisandier


In perhaps the earliest reference to Systems of Systems (SoS), Ackoff (1971) describes a concept that is mostly concerned with organizations, i.e. social. However, this section is concerned with the socio-technical aspects of technical SoS, which are composed of interdependent resources, such as, people, processes, information, and technology that interact with each other and with their environment in support of a common mission (glossary).

The Socio-Technical Nature of Systems of Systems

Rebovich (2009) [ has captured the essence of the SoS problem as:

“From a single-system community’s perspective, its part of the SoS capability represents additional obligations, constraints and complexities. Rarely is participation in an (sic) SoS seen as a net gain from the viewpoint of single-system stakeholders.”

Three of the persistent SoS challenges, or pain points, identified by Dahmann (2015) are directly related to this problem of stakeholder perspective and the local optimization of constituent system performance at the expense, or to the detriment of, the overall SoS performance. These are: SoS Authority, Leadership, and Autonomy, Interdependencies & Emergence. Thus, the sociological aspects affecting decision making and human behaviors must be given similar weight to the technical aspects of SoS.

Turning to views outside of Systems Engineering, Ergonomists regard socio-technical systems as having the following characteristics (Maguire, 2014):

  • There are collective operational tasks,
  • They contain social and technical sub-systems,
  • They are open systems (i.e. strongly interacting with their environments), and
  • The concept of the system being an unfinished system.

These are also characteristics of Systems of Systems. Klein (2014) has noted that approaches to socio-technical systems can take the two perspectives of “system affects people” or “people affect system”, depending upon how the system boundary is drawn. It is generally true for systems that consideration of their context requires socio-technical aspects to be taken into account.

Although focused largely on IT systems, Baxter and Sommerville (2011) have noted that the introduction of new business SoS are generally carried out in conjunction with a change process. They argue that frequently the social and organizational aspects are disruptive and that inadequate attention is paid to the connection between change processes and systems development processes. They propose two types of Socio-Technical Systems Engineering activities:

  • Sensitizing and awareness activities, designed to sensitize stakeholders to the concerns of other stakeholders.
  • Constructive engagement activities, which are largely concerned with deriving requirements accurately and meaningfully.

The extent to which these activities can be effective may be challenged by independent management or operation of constituent systems in a SoS.

Although there are many matters concerning the socio-technical aspects of SoS, there are two important issues, that are dealt with her. The first is the need for appropriate governance structures, given that operational and/or managerial independence affects top-down direction of the SoS and may compromise achievement of the SoS goal(s). The second issue is a lack of situational awareness of managers, operators, or other stakeholders of the SoS, so that they may not understand the impact of their local decisions on the wider SoS.

SoS Governance

Generally, design and operation of complex systems is concerned with control, but the classification of SoS (Dahmann, et. al., 2008) is based on the notion of diminishing central control, as the types go from directed to virtual. Sauser, et. al. (2009) has described the ‘control paradox of SoS’ and asserted that for SoS, ‘management’ is replaced by ‘governance’. ‘Control is a function of rules, time, and bandwidth; whereas command is a function of trusts, influence, fidelity, and agility’.

Some practitioners have found the Cynefin framework, developed by David Snowden, helpful in understanding the nature of complexity that may arise in SoS. Developed from knowledge management considerations, Kurtz and Snowden (2003) propose three reasons why the behavior of systems involving people may be difficult to predict. Firstly, humans are not limited to one identity, and so modelling human behaviors using norms may not be reliable. Secondly, humans are not limited to acting in accordance with predetermined rules. Thirdly, humans are not limited to acting on local patterns. These reasons all undermine control, so that the sociological aspects of SoS make their behaviours hard to predict and, possibly indeterminate.  The Cynefin framework considers systems to be classified in four domains:

  • Known – simple systems with predictable and repeatable cause and effect
  • Knowable – amenable to systems thinking and analytical/reductionist methods
  • Complex – adaptive systems where cause and effect are only discernable in retrospect and do not repeat
  • Chaotic – no cause and effect relationships are perceivable

The different types of SoS (directed, acknowledged, collaborative, and virtual) could all be described in any of the above domains, depending on many factors internal to the SoS, but in all cases it is the sociological element of the socio-technical SoS that is most likely to give rise to ambiguity in predicting behavior.

A major governance issue for SoS is understanding the ownership of, and making reliable estimates of risk (Fovino & Masera, 2007). High levels of connectivity, and the potential for emergent behavior due to the interactions of separately owned/operated constituent systems, means that significant risks may go unacknowledged and their mitigations unplanned.

In general, governance can be summed up by asking three connected questions (Siemieniuch and Sinclair, 2014):

  • Are we doing the right things (leadership)?
  • Are we doing those things right (management)?
  • How do we know this (metrics and measurements)?

Currently, there is no accepted framework for addressing these questions in a SoS context, but Henshaw et. al. (2013) highlighted architectures as an important means through which governance may be clarified. They postulate that a SoS can be regarded as a set of trust and contract relationships between systems (i.e. including both informal and formal relationships). The systems architect of a constituent system must, therefore, address trust issues for each participating organization in the overall enterprise with which his/her system must interoperate. For SoS, technical engineering governance is concerned with defining and ensuring compliance with trust at the interface between constituent systems. An example of difficulty managing the interfaces in a SoS is provided in the Cassini-Huygens mission case study .

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is a decision maker’s understanding of the environment in which he/she takes a decision; it concerns information, awareness, perception, and cognition. Endsley (1995) emphasizes that situational awareness is a state of knowledge. There are numerous examples of SoS failure due to the operator of one constituent system making decisions based on inadequate knowledge of the overall SoS (big picture).

On the other hand, SoS development is also viewed as the means through which improved situational awareness may be achieved (Van der Laar, et. al., 2013). In the defense environment, Network Enabled Capability (NEC) was a system of systems approach motivated by the objective of making better use of information sharing to achieve military objectives. NEC was predicated on the ability to share useful information effectively among the stakeholders that need it. It is concluded that improving situational awareness will improve SoS performance, or at least reduce the risk of failures at the SoS level. Thus, the principles which govern the organization of the SoS should support sharing information effectively across the network; in essence, ensuring that every level of the interoperability spectruminteroperability spectrum is adequately serviced. Operators need insight into the effect that their own local decisions may have on the changing SoS or environment; similarly they need to understand how external changes will affect the systems that they own.

Increasingly, SoS include constituent systems with high levels of autonomous decision making ability, a class of system that can be described as cyber-physical systems (of systems). The relationship to SoS is described by Henshaw (2016). Issues arise because autonomy can degrade human situational awareness regarding the behavior of the SoS, and also the autonomous systems within the SoS have inadequate situational awareness due to a lack of competent models of humans (Sowe, 2016)

References

Works Cited

Ackoff, R.L.(1971) “Towards a Systems of Systems Concepts,” Manage. Sci., vol. 17, no. 11, pp. 661–671.

Baxter, G. and I. Sommerville, (2011) “Socio-technical systems: From design methods to systems engineering,” Interact. Comput., vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 4–17.

Dahmann, J. S. & Baldwin, K. J. (2008) Understanding the Current State of US Defense Systems of Systems and the Implications for Systems Engineering, 2nd Annual IEEE Systems Conference, 1–7. http://doi.org/10.1109/SYSTEMS.2008.4518994

Dahmann, J.S. (2015) “Systems of Systems Characterization and Types,” in Systems of Systems Engineering for NATO Defence Applications (STO-EN-SCI-276), pp. 1–14.]

Endsley, M. R. (1995) Toward a Theory of Situation Awareness in Dynamic Systems, J. Human Factors and Ergonomics Soc., 37(1), 32–64. http://doi.org/10.1518/001872095779049543

Fovino, I. N., & Masera, M. (2007) Emergent disservices in interdependent systems and system-of-systems, in Proc. IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Vol. 1, pp. 590–595. http://doi.org/10.1109/ICSMC.2006.384449

Henshaw, M. J. de C., Siemieniuch, C. E., & Sinclair, M. A. (2013) Technical and Engineering Governance in the Context of Systems of Systems, in NATO SCI Symp. Architecture Assessment for NEC (pp. 1–10). Tallinn, Es. NATO STO.

Henshaw, M. (2014) A Socio-Technical Perspective on SoSE, in Lecture Series in Systems of Systems Engineering for NATO Defence Applications (SCI-276). NATO CSO.

Henshaw, M. (2016). Systems of Systems, Cyber-Physical Systems, The Internet-of-Things…Whatever Next? INSIGHT, 19(3), pp.51–54.

Klein, L. (2014) What do we actually mean by ‘sociotechnical’? On values, boundaries and the problems of language, Appl. Ergon., vol. 45, no. 2 PA, pp. 137–142.

Kurtz, C.F. and D. J. Snowden (2003) “The New Dynamics of Strategy: Sense-making in a Complex-Complicated World,” IBM Syst. J., vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 462–483.

Maguire, M. (2014) Socio-technical systems and interaction design - 21st century relevance, Appl. Ergon., vol. 45, no. 2 PA, pp. 162–170.:/mil/

Rebovich, G. (2009) “Enterprise systems of Systems,” in Systems of Systems Engineering - Principles and Applications, M. Jamshidi, Ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp. 165–191.

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Siemieniuch, C.E. & Sinclair, M.A. (2014) Extending systems ergonomics thinking to accommodate the socio-technical issues of Systems of Systems, Appl. Ergon., V 45, Issue 1, Pages 85-98

Sowe, S.K. et al. (2016) Cyber-Physical-Human Systems - putting people in the loop. IT Professional, 18(February), pp.10–13.]

Van der Laar, P., Tretmans, J., & Borth, M. (2013) Situational Awareness with Systems of Systems. Springer.

Primary References

Checkland, P.B. 1981. Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Additional References

Bruesburg, A., and G. Fletcher. 2009. The Human View Handbook for MODAF, draft version 2, second issue. Bristol, England, UK: Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd. Available: http://www.hfidtc.com/research/process/reports/phase-2/hv-handbook-issue2-draft.pdf.

IFIP-IFAC Task Force. 1999. "The Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology," V1.6.3. Available: http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/~bernus/taskforce/geram/versions/geram1-6-3/v1.6.3.html.

ISO. 1998. ISO 14258:1998, Industrial automation systems — Concepts and rules for enterprise models. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.

ISO. 2006. ISO 19439:2006, Enterprise integration — Framework for enterprise modelling. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.

ISO. 2007. ISO 19440:2007, Enterprise integration — Constructs for enterprise modelling. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization.

Miller, F.P., A.F. Vandome, and J. McBrewster. 2009. Enterprise Modelling. Mauritius: Alphascript Publishing, VDM Verlag Dr. Müller GmbH & Co. KG.


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