Purpose vs. Function vs. Behavior vs. Structure
The organization's purpose represents the reason for its existence and is defined in terms of the needs (or demands) of those who the organization interacts with. The purpose not only corresponds to the role the organization plays in the environment, but also connects it to customers and other organizations, and is reflected in the role name. For example, in the role, Accounting Business, the word accounting signifies a specific purpose and connects the organization with accounting customers; the word business, which is a combination of wealth creator, tax payer, partner, and employer, connects it with shareholders, government, suppliers, and employees, respectively.
The function determines how others interact with an organization and represents a contract between the organization and the environment. Organizations' functions are realized as product, service, and self-service interfaces. An organization's boundary consists of facades (one facade for each customer); a facade consists of interfaces.
The behavior (operations) of an organization is directed to support its function (interactions) and responds to events that occur outside its boundary. Operations are typically implemented as business processes and executed on a business process management (BPM) platform.
All work in an organization is performed by actors who play various roles. These roles constitute the structure of the organization. In a digital organization, actors could be humans and computing agents as well as organizational units.
UOA creates digital constructs that provide interactional and operational support to organizational units. An organizational unit is a social system, which represents a social technology phenomenon programmed to some purpose(s).
UOA views the organization as an implementation of the Composite design pattern with every node treated either as a Composite (control unit) or a Leaf (functional unit).
Unit software must be as comfortable to an organizational unit as a house is to a family, a space station to an astronaut crew, or a battle tank to a fighting crew.
Each unit must have a formal [software] boundary, which represents a contract between the unit and other entities inside and outside of the organization.
Each unit runs its own operations implemented as executable business processes. Every process in the organization is owned by exactly one unit. A unit might engage another unit or organization to perform a task within the context of the process it owns.
UOA places a special emphasis on control units, which today often consist of just one or a few people, have inadequate information support, and, therefore, have become the weakest links in modern organizations.
UOA uses Systems Thinking for defining the problem, Organization Design for configuring both an enterprise and a composite unit, SOA for constructing unit boundaries, EDA for inter-unit communication, BPM for defining unit operations, and Business Rules for governance.