Steven Alter

Steven Alter

Profesor Emeritus

Faculty Emeritus

(415) 422-6383


Steven Alter, Professor Emeritus, is a prolific, pioneering researcher and educator who has served a valuable part of USF's faculty since 1987. In addition to eight years of experience as vice president of a successful software start-up, over the course of many years of research he developed a systems analysis method for business professionals called the Work System Method. Dr. Alter is the author of seven published books and many journal articles. He teaches courses on technology-enabled innovation and systems in organizations.

Many of Dr. Alter's articles are available on, which summarizes basic ideas about work systems and service systems. His published work describes useful extensions related to work system principles, work system design spaces, workarounds, system interactions, and tools for establishing more effective communication between business and IT professionals.

Dr. Alter is recognized for creating an integrated conceptual basis for understanding and analyzing IT-reliant systems from a business viewpoint.

PhD, Management Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, 1975
BS, Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Selected Publications

"Work System Theory: Overview of Core Concepts, Extensions, and challenges for the Future," Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Vol. 14, Nr. 2, 2013

"Metamodel for Service Analysis and Design Based on an Operational View of Service and Service Systems," Service Science, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 218-235, 2012

"Theory of Workarounds," Communications of the Association or Information Systems, 2013.

"Incorporating More System-Related Knowledge into Systems Analysis and Design," Proceedings of the Nineteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems, Chicago, Illinois, August 15-17, 2013, (Nominated for best paper)

The Work System Method: Connecting People, Processes, and IT for Business ResultsWork Systems Press, 2006

Awards & Distinctions

Outstanding Research Award, USF, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013


Outstanding Service Award, USF, 2007


Best Paper Nomination for "Moving toward a Service Metaphor for Describing, Evaluating, and Designing Systems", European Conference on Information Systems, 2008


Best Paper in the Technology Track: "Making Work System Principles Visible and Usable in Systems Analysis and Design" AMCIS, 2004


One of the "Top Fifty Papers" published by Emerald Group Publishing, 2004


Senior Editor, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 2002 - present


Vice President, Consilium, Mountain View, CA, 1979-1987