Systèmes d'Information et Management


Numerous typologies exist, whether in organization theory or IS research. Nonetheless, few of them are based on the study of very old organizations to work out archetypes. This article proposes a study of one of the oldest organization in the world: the Roman Curia (i.e. the central administrative headquarter of the Catholic church located in the Vatican). Our aim was to build archetypes, which would be coherent and specific to great historical periods of this organization. First, the notion of archetype is explained, along with modalities of its construction from the historical method. Then, a history of the Roman Curia's IS is put forward. It is based on four different periods (1st-4th; 4th-16th; 16th-19th; 19th to present days) corresponding to four specific archetypes. Their institutional or technical environment, and the beliefs of leader (popes and cardinal in charge of congregations) are detailed. Lastly, a synthesis is offered about archetypes and their general dynamic, before a conclusive discussion on the limitations and contributions of this historical perspective.