The Language/Action Perspective

International Workshop on Communication Modeling (LAP'96)

Tilburg, The Netherlands, JULY 1-2 1996
Sponsored by EIT Tilburg

This two-day workshop aims at bringing together researchers from Business Administration, Linguistics and Computer Science, as well as potential industrial partners and users, who are interested in the theory of Communicative Action and the modeling of Business Processes.

The Language/Action perspective (based on Searle's Speech Act theory) introduced in the field of information systems by Flores and Ludlow in the early 1980's has proven to be a new basic paradigm for Information Systems Design. In contrast to traditional views of "data flow", the language/action perspective emphasizes what people DO while communicating; how they create a common reality by means of language and how communication brings about a coordination of their activities.
The initial impetus of Flores and Ludlow has resulted in a first wave of applications within the language/action perspective. The most important results of this first application wave are laid down in the Coordinator, a communication supporting tool developed by Winograd and Flores, and the office communication analysis method SAMPO as proposed by Lyytinen and his colleagues.

The increasing importance of communication and CSCW systems, pushed strongly by the technological breakthroughs in local and global networking, is responsible for the second wave of applications within the realm of the language/action perspective. Examples of methods in this second wave are Action Workflow by Medina-Mora et al., and DEMO by Dietz et al..
Now that the language/action perspective has been established as a fruitful direction of research with supporters and opponents, it is time to rethink its foundations critically so that it can continue to grow sound and become mature. On the philosophical side, we can think of the Habermas/Searle debate on communicative action, of which the implications for the field of information systems are not yet completely clear. There is also not much convergence yet on the formal and logical underpinnings of communication models. In practice, some applications work while others do not, and it is not always clear why. More real-life experience is needed.

(A full list of relevant references can be found on the LAP literature page)



(Please follow the links for the abstracts of the papers and additional links to postscript files of the papers (as they appear in the working papers))


Program Committee Chairman: Jan Dietz, Delft Univ. of Technology
Local Organization
Conference Secretariat

For any further information or questions you might have please contact the conference secretariat or Hans Weigand ( ; phone +3113 4662806, fax +3113 4663069)

Egon Verharen,