Monday, April 30, 2007

Economics of Style

In his latest blogpost, Fine-Tuning the SOA Maturity Model, David writes:
"Time and again we recognize that a scope based approach to maturity is the most useful determinant of maturity that decomposes well to each of the stream views because services are increasingly useful as they are used more widely, and conversely expanding the SOA scope beyond traditional organizational boundaries is without question the hardest thing to achieve."
In a fascinating recent paper, Chunglin Kwa identifies two contrasting perspectives on complexity, which he calls "Romantic" and "Baroque". From the Romantic perspective, complexity increases with scope (emerging from the increasingly stormy and ambitious interaction between diverse elements); from the Baroque perspective, complexity increases with detail and specificity (emerging from the increasingly precise delineation of fractal elements).

David is quite right to indicate the difficulty of expanding the SOA scope beyond traditional organizational boundaries. I have spent a lot of time talking about this myself. But I don't think this is the only kind of difficulty/complexity we need to address, and I should not like just to equate maturity with ambition.


Chunglin Kwa, ‘Romantic and Baroque Conceptions of Complex Wholes in the Sciences’, in John Law and Annemarie Mol (eds), Complexities: Social Studies of Knowledge Practices (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2002), pp. 23–54

John Law, And if the Global Were Small and Non-Coherent? Method, Complexity and the Baroque (pdf), Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, 2003.

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