Open Ontology-Driven Sociotechnical Systems: Transparency as a Key for Business Resiliency

  • Nicola Guarino
  • Emanuele Bottazzi
  • Roberta Ferrario
  • Giovanni Sartor
Conference paper


Most business and social organisations can be seen nowadays as complex sociotechnical systems (STSs), including three components: technical artifacts, social artifacts, and humans. Within social artifacts, a special role have norms, which largely influence the overall system's behavior. However, norms need to be understood, interpreted, negotiated, and actuated by humans, who may of course deviate from them, or even decide to change them. STSs are therefore essentially prone to failure: critical situations are part of STS’s life, and may sometimes lead to tragic outcomes. That’s why resilience to failure must be built into such systems, and is a crucial parameter to determine their quality. We argue in this paper that, to achieve a high level of resilience, transparency is the key: actors within the system need to take a reflective stance toward the system itself. In other words, an STS must be open to its actors, which by observing and understanding its dynamics can take the appropriate initiatives in presence of unforeseen problems, possibly modifying the system at run time. Ontological models can play a crucial role in this context. However, we need to make a radical change in our modelling approach, shifting the focus of analysis from ontology-driven information systems to ontology-driven sociotechnical systems.


Legal Norm Technical Artifact Sociotechnical System Unforeseen Problem Social Subsystem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work has been carried within the project ICT4Law (ICT Converging on Law), funded by the Piedmont Region. The authors are indebted to Stefano Borgo, Maarten Franssen, Claudio Masolo, Marco Montali, and Laure Vieu for their precious contribution.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Guarino
    • 1
  • Emanuele Bottazzi
    • 1
  • Roberta Ferrario
    • 1
  • Giovanni Sartor
    • 2
  1. 1.ISTC-CNRTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Law DepartmentEuropean University InstituteFlorenceItaly

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