Non Physical (aka Symbolic) Objects


Whereas actual objects are self-sufficient and can stand on their own, symbolic ones must be set into their social context if they are to be of any use.

This tughra stands for the will of Suleiman the Magnificant

Objects and Conventions

Business concerns are not limited to physical objects and are more than often set by convention independently of any materiality, as illustrated by agreements, events, or roles. As reducing multiple actual aspects is no more a problem, conventional objects can be directly mapped into symbolic representations; but, the flip side is that it may be difficult to distinguish between a business object and its system counterpart.

Business objects can be pure conventions

Symbolic representations and business counterparts

First, one may put aside derived objects, since they reflect other symbolic objects and have no actual counterparts.

Then, we can also ignore the symbolic representations of activities, since they are not identified or managed independently, even if they are to be recorded persistently.

Remain originally symbolic objects, i.e business artifacts designed and identified as such, namely:

  • Agreements, contracts, conventions, etc.
  • Associated roles, active or passive.
  • Mental categories used to classify objects or phenomenons.

Non physical business objects: Agreement, Roles, Classification

Being natively designed as symbolic, those objects can be directly mapped into their representation as system objects.

It must be noted that whereas customary objects may be materialized, the outcome is not necessarily a business object by itself. That is only the case for binary business objects, which have a conventional currency of their own.

Ubiquity and reality

Suleiman the Magnificent

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