This paper proposes that critical realism can provide a useful theoretical foundation to study enterprise architecture (EA) evolution. Specifically it will investigate the practically relevant and academically challenging question of how EAs integrate the Service-oriented Architecture (SOA). Archer’s Morphogenetic theory is used as an analytical approach to distinguish the architectural conditions under which SOA is introduced, to study the relationships between these conditions and SOA introduction, and to reflect on EA evolution (elaborations) that then take place. The focus lies on the reasons why EA evolution takes place (or not) and what architectural changes happen. This paper uses the findings of a literature review to build an a-priori model informed by Archer’s theory to understand EA evolution in a field that often lacks a solid theoretical groundwork. The findings are threefold. First, EA can evolve on different levels (different integration outcomes). Second, the integration outcomes are classified into three levels: business architecture, information systems architecture and technology architecture. Third, the analytical separation using Archer’s theory is helpful in order to understand how these different integration outcomes are generated.
Alwadain, Ayed; Fielt, Erwin; Korthaus, Axel; and Rosemann, Michael, "Service-Oriented Architecture Integration Within Enterprise Architecture: A-Priori Model" (2013). ACIS 2013 Proceedings. 150.