ICOS 2006 - International Conference on Organisational Semiotics

Interfacing Society, Technology and Organisations

 5th– 7th  July 2006, Campinas, SP, Brazil

(mirror Brazil Campinas ICOS)


Organisational Semiotics (OS) and the OS Community

Formerly the eight meetings were called International OS Workshops.

Organisational Semiotics (OS) is an emergent discipline to study the nature, characteristics, function and effect of information and communication within organisational contexts.  The contribution of this discipline to the understanding, analysis, modelling, design and implementation of organisational and technical information systems has attracted much attention of researchers and practitioners from many subject areas.  The series of the International Workshop of Organisational Semiotics has become the key focal point every year for participants from multidisciplinary backgrounds to exchange the development and the state of the art of their theoretical and practical work.  With effect from next year (2006) the OS community has decided to name it as the International Conference of Organisational Semiotics.

Following the first international workshop at Twente in 1995, a research community of organisational semiotics has formed. This community has committed themselves to inquiries in information and its use within organisational contexts. The broad issues that concern community are philosophical, social and technical, and are encouraged to tackle using semiotic concepts and methods from an organisational perspective.

Most of the researchers in the community adopt the working definition of Organisational Semiotics, proposed at the first workshop; though as any other discipline, concepts and theories evolve all the time. Organisational Semiotics is seen as a discipline that enables us to understand the inter-working and interactions between individuals and within the society, between human and technology. Organisational Semiotics opens up the prospect for scientific theory building and provides a handle for gaining an insight of organized behavior, in the presence and absence of various technologies. Methods and techniques developed based on this theory provide insights into organised behavior and enacted social practices. The broad issues that concern the researchers in this field are philosophical, social and technical, studied using existing and newly developed semiotic theories and methods.

A strong motivation behind this research community is from the recognition that the social study of IT impacts does not address the fine details of how information functions within and between organisations. The analysis and design of information systems develops methods for solving the practical problems preceding software engineering but offers no scientific foundation for them. Those disciplines have not been appropriate for addressing many of the problems caused by the rapid growth of global communications with its effects on business, government, the economy and politics. A semiotic perspective can accommodate the individual and the social, the human and the technical, intra-firm and inter-firm interactions, at a level of detail that is required in studying, modeling, designing and engineering organisational and technical systems.

The research community meets regularly, through the annual workshops. At the workshops, “new” researchers and “regular” attendees exchange views and share findings freely. The last OS event - 8th International Workshop was held in Toulouse, the French capital of aeronautics and space, presented us with the opportunity to test OS ideas against the problems generated by very complex projects on the frontiers of engineering where complexity and risk are major factors. CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), through its Technical Competency Centre in Management (CCT MAN).  More detail can be found in the following link: The 8th International Workshop on Organisational Semiotics (2005)


Past OS events

The OS community aims to meet annually by running the OS workshops. The community has been fortunate in receiving support and recognition from IFIP (the International Federation of Information Processing). In 2001, the IFIP WG 8.1 held a working conference in Montreal 2001 entitled "Organisational Semiotics - Evolving a Science of Information Systems", which reflects the ambition of establishing a new discipline by the OS research community. The table below summarises the meetings held in the past years.
See also :



Type of event




International workshop

University of Twente, Enschede (NL)



International workshop

University of Twente, Almelo (NL)



International workshop

Staffordshire University, Stafford (UK)



 IFIP WG8.1 Working Conference

Concordia University, Montreal (Canada)



International workshop

Groningen University and Delft University, Delft (NL)



International workshop

The University of Reading (UK)



International workshop

Escola Sup. De Tecnologia de Setúbal (PT)



International workshop

University of Toulouse-le-Mirail (FR)


Due to the growing size of the research community, the program community has decided to rename its annual meeting as the International Conference of Organisational Semiotics with effect from 2006.


Aims and Objectives of the OS Conference

The conference in 2006 will continue the effort of the international research community in the development of the emergent discipline of Organisational Semiotics. It will focus not only on the theory-building, but also on practical benefits gained so far through applications of methods and techniques derived from various OS approaches.


In terms of the application of OS to practical domains, the conference will encourage contributions to address the effective use of information and technology to support the design and development of complex business systems. Interfacing business and information technology will be a key aspect of attention, as the theme suggests.  Examples of topics and problems in complex business systems include (but not limited to):

Papers can address the practical problems and present theoretical enquiries from a range of perspectives, e.g.:

·        organizational semiotics: theory, methods and techniques

·        semiotics motivated approaches to information systems

·        user-centered approaches to information systems and information management

·        fundamental notions in organizational semiotics and their applications

·        language action paradigms

·        semiotics of interactions and user interface design

·        semiotic-based methods to systems development and requirements engineering


All papers will be blind reviewed by three reviewers. Both papers of a theoretical nature and papers that discuss historical and empirical research are welcomed. All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings.  Selected papers will be invited for publication in a special issue of a journal (the journal to be determined soon).



Contributors are required to submit a full paper written in accordance to the templates provided in the website. The paper must reach the conference secretariat in a zip file containing the Word or PDF file(s), by February,1st  2006. Templates and the ssubmission procedure will be provided in the conference website at


Important dates:

Full paper submissionFebruary 1st, 2006 in MSWord or PDF
Notification of acceptance:  April 1st, 2006

Camera ready version: 
May 1st, 2006
July 5-7th, 2006



The conference will be held at UNICAMP, hosted in the Hotel of “the Visiting Professor’s House” (, which is located within the University campus, the State University of Campinas, Unicamp ( , Brazil.


Conference Co-Chairs:
M. Cecilia C. Baranauskas
(Instituto de Computação, Unicamp, Brazil)
Kecheng Liu
(Informatics Research Centre, University of Reading, UK)

Program Committee (to be completed):

Peter Bøgh Andersen (University of Aarhus, Denmark)

Cecilia Baranauskas (IC-UNICAMP, Brazil )

Pierre-Jean Charrel (Université Toulouse 2 Mirail and IRIT, France

Rodney Clarke  (Wollongong  University)

Samuel Chong (Accenture, UK)  

John Connolly (CS-Loughborough University, UK)

Jan Dietz (CS-Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands )

Joaquim Filipe (Escola Superior de Tecnologia de Setúbal, Portugal )

Daniel Galarreta (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales , France)

Henk Gazendam  (Groningen University and Twente University, The Netherlands)

Goran Goldkuhl  (Linköping University, Sweden )

Ricardo Ribeiro Gudwin (FEEC-UNICAMP, Brazil )

Rene Jorna (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Boris Shishkov (University of Twente, The Netherlands)

Kecheng Liu (The University of Reading, United Kingdom)

Ronald Stamper (University of Twente, The Netherlands

Local Organising Committee:

Cecilia Baranauskas (IC - Unicamp, Campinas )

Rcardo Gudwin (FEEC – Unicamp, Campinas)

Carlos Alberto Cocoza Simoni (IC – Unicamp Campinas) Secretariat

Program Schedules

Day 1: (AM) Software and toolkits demonstrations and posters

             (PM) Discussion (Semantic Analysis by Ronald Stamper)

Day 2:  (AM/PM) Paper Presentations

             (PM) Conference dinner

Day 3:  (AM/PM) Paper Presentations


For more information, please, visit