• system architecture;
  • evolution;
  • legacy;
  • Object Process Methodology (OPM);
  • complex large-scale interconnected open socio-technical (CLIOS) system


There is growing evidence for the relevance of human behavioral factors in successful development of new products, processes, and services. The evidence is even clearer when the forces affecting the development and evolution of long-lived, large, and open complex socio-technical systems are examined. Methods that study the architecture of these systems can help scholars and practitioners to better understand, manage, and develop socio-technical systems. We propose an approach and a method to address these needs that is grounded in the theory of systems architecture and builds on the strengths of Object Process Methodology (OPM) and the process for representing Complex Large-scale Interconnected Open Socio-technical (CLIOS) systems. We do so by integrating these methods into the CLIOS-OPM Integrated Method (COIM). COIM is conducive to studying a system's architecture and its evolution, as it is enhanced by a set of qualitative methods for answering questions about the reasons (why) and process (how) of change in human-made systems over time. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.