Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Information Systems


This dissertation develops a new form of Systems Analysis based on Systemic Semiotics. Systemic Semiotics, a combination of Social Semiotics and Systemic Functional Linguistic theories, can be used to provide contextual descriptions linking the operations of information systems to their specific situational and organisational contexts. A semiotic model of workpractices is developed using Systemic Semiotics in which workpractices, including those associated with systems use, are contextually defined as consisting of one or more text types and zero or more action types.

Because Systemic Semiotics defines text types and action types contextually, changes to workpractices over time can also be described contextually. In order to develop, test and extend the theory proposed in this dissertation, a number of workpractices associated with a small administrative information system were studied over a ten-year period. Some of these workpractices can be traced to several predecessor manual systems. Changes in the structure and function of these workpractices were traced over the useful life of the information system from its commissioning through to its effective decommissioning.