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About Steven Alter

Work system theory, various versions of the work system method, and related ideas about information systems, service systems, and other IT-reliant systems in organizations were developed to help business professionals understand systems and participate as more equal partners in software development efforts. My desire to develop these ideas came from a combination of experience as vice president of a successful software firm and knowledge of the relevant literature, much of which is either techno-centric or too vague to guide analysis of specific systems in organizations.
In addition to final versions or drafts of published articles, this site sometimes will contain working papers that have not yet been revised for publication. The articles are divided into categories including work system theory, work system method, information systems, service systems, other system-related articles, teaching and cases, and steps toward current ideas. Instead of using strictly chronological order, the articles within categories are organized to highlight the most recent expression of important ideas. An initial book-length compilation of these ideas is The Work System Method: Connecting People, Processes, and IT for Business Results, Work System Press, Larkspur, CA, 2006. A more recent summary of progress to date was a 2013 article on "Work System Theory" in the Journal of the Association for Information Systems. The many developments since 2006 call for a second edition that should appear in 2015.
I hope you find some of these articles useful, and would appreciate comments and feedback.


Present Professor of Information Systems, University of San Francisco

Work System Theory (7)

Work System Method (9)

Information Systems (11)