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Re: Organization ontology

From: Stuart A. Yeates <syeates@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 18:47:01 +1200
Message-ID: <AANLkTil4e6lCwHOKtAD8HvB9l-lmUNVBtWJfgmztuksQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dave Reynolds <dave.e.reynolds@googlemail.com>
Cc: Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, public-egov-ig@w3.org
On Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 8:09 PM, Dave Reynolds
<dave.e.reynolds@googlemail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 2010-06-02 at 17:06 +1200, Stuart A. Yeates wrote:
>> On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 7:50 PM, Dave Reynolds
>> <dave.e.reynolds@googlemail.com> wrote:
>> > We would like to announce the availability of an ontology for description of
>> > organizational structures including government organizations.
>> >
>> > This was motivated by the needs of the data.gov.uk project. After some
>> > checking we were unable to find an existing ontology that precisely met our
>> > needs and so developed this generic core, intended to be extensible to
>> > particular domains of use.
>> >
>> > [1] http://www.epimorphics.com/public/vocabulary/org.html
>> I think this is great, but I'm a little worried that a number of
>> Western (and specifically Westminister) assumptions may have been
>> built into it.
> Interesting. We tried to keep the ontology reasonably neutral, that's
> why, for example, there is no notion of a Government or Corporation.
> Could you say a little more about the specific Western & Westminster
> assumptions that you feel are built into it?

(*) that structure is relatively static with sharp transitions between states.
(*) that an organisation has a single structure rather than a set of
structures depending on the operations you are concerned with
(finance, governance, authority, criminal justice, ...)
(*) that the structures are intended to be as they are, rather than
being steps towards some kind of Platonic ideal

Modelling the crime organisations (the mafia, drug runners, Enron,
identity crime syndicates) may also be helpful in exposing
assumptions, particularly those in mapping the real-world to legal

Alternatively, this may help in defining the subset of organisations
that you're trying to model.

> Control is a different issue from organizational structure. This
> ontology is not designed to support reasoning about authority and
> governance models. There are Enterprise Ontologies that explicitly model
> authority, accountability and empowerment flows and it would be possible
> to create a generic one which bolted alongside org but org is not such a
> beast :)

I suspect I may have mis-understood the subset of problems you're
trying to solve. A statement such as the above in the ontology
document might save others making the same mistake.

Received on Thursday, 3 June 2010 06:47:36 UTC

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