Unger, Malte, Henrik Leopold and Jan Mendling (2015)

How much flexibility is good for knowledge intensive business processes: A study of the effects of informal work practices

in: Bui, Tung X. and Sprague Jr., Ralf H. (ed.): Proceedings of the 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), IEEE Computer Society Press, (2015), 4990-4999.

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1109/HICSS.2015.591

Abstract: Business process management (BPM) is a widely adopted approach for identifying, documenting, and improving business processes. One of the main goals of BPM is to assure that the business processes of an organization constantly produce the desired outcome. One considerable challenge in this context is that not every process can be fully anticipated in advance. Particularly so-called knowledge intensive processes are characterized by a high level of complexity, reduced repeatability, and the occurrence of unexpected events. Many authors argue that knowledge intensive processes may benefit from informal work practices as they exhibit more potential for improvements. Non knowledge intensive processes, on the other hand, are typically considered to be less frequently affected by negative deviations from management intended structures. In this paper, we conduct a positivist case study to challenge these viewpoints from literature. In particular, we empirically investigate the effect of informal work practices on knowledge intensive as well as non knowledge intensive business processes in a German IT company that offers one of Europe's leading online project platforms. Our results show that existing view points are too general and that a more balanced discussion of knowledge intensity is needed.

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