Semantic architecture

The semantic architecture cuts across these other architectural view listed under "enterprisography". It is a way of exploring what people really talk about and worry about within the context of their shared enterprising. This approach calls for a separation of concepts from the language that is used to express the concepts. This is a very tricky matter, but important for effective analysis and positive intervention in the affairs of communities seeking improved communication, coordination, or collaboration.


The purpose of semantic viewpoint is to focus intense attention on the meaning conveyed within the enterprise by participants. The basic idea is to understand the concerns of the enterprise as a precursor to making positive and effective interventions.
  • Descriptive - This approach is generally aimed at description of the concerns and thinking of the participants in the enterprise.
  • Prescriptive - The main way that business language is becoming prescriptive is through controlled vocabularies and standardized transaction patterns, as exemplified by RosettaNet. From a leadership point of view, Steve Haeckel reminds us that Confucianism puts an emphasis on rectification of names.  "A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. ... Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."  In all kinds of enterprise there is a role for leadership to assure that communications are clear.  This is acknowledged in certain situations through formalized or scripted language, and there are consultants who help focus on language content (emotionally-charged words in customer conversations, etc.)
  • Predictive - One thing that is easily predicted is that in any enterprise situation there will be conflicts of understanding, based on how different communities in that enterprise use language.  We can predict that this situation will be exacerbated any time new groups need to interact or merge operations, to the extreme case of mergers and acquisitions at a corporate level.