All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Leon Jololian

Advisory Committee Members

John A Dantzler

Karthikeyan Lingasubramanian

Donna Slovensky

Murat M Tanik

Jeffery T Walker

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


Provisioning systems are human-built, process-based systems whose activities are directed toward providing something of value to another entity. The things provided are not limited to any one type but may include, for example, objects, services, and information. Systems under consideration herein are limited to those that are human based, decentralized, and complex. “Human based” means that many of the agents and all the customers of the system are human. “Decentralized” means that agents act beyond central control. Such a system presents different challenges from one in which tasks are delegated from a central authority. In a decentralized system, agents are not regulated by a single set of procedures, motivations, and goals. They act independently, but for some parameter of interest, attempt to act cooperatively. The term “complex” is used in the ordinary sense of not easily understood. Research revealed that other factors contributed to complexity, including “client recirculation”, whereby customers repeat steps in the process, and the subjective nature of many decisions made by agents. Driven by a motivation to understand and design improvements for this category of provisioning system, a plan for investigation was developed. This included investigating the potential role of interdisciplinarity and designing models of the subject system from different theoretical perspectives. A research goal was articulated: develop a iv framework for improving information and value exchanges toward process alignment in complex, decentralized provisioning systems. Proposed contributions of the research include the following: The communication channel was identified as a significant generalized feature of provisioning systems. Conant’s method of structural analysis was adapted to include semantic weight of impact to client outcomes. The presence of an accessible database was identified as important for effective and efficient transmission of information. A strategy termed “process-alignment” was proposed, whereby only value-objects that increase client value are exchanged. Client-reported information was recommended for facilitating an extension of the point of provisioning. A model was presented of the management of adjustments to provisioning by automated processes. Lastly, a framework was presented for the improvement of information and value exchanges toward process alignment in the subject systems.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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