جمع گرایی : روش مدل سازی فرآیند کسب و کار غیر متمرکز
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|17157||2011||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Information & Management, Volume 48, Issue 6, August 2011, Pages 235–247
Top-down and centralized approaches prevail in the design and improvement of business processes. However, centralized structures pose difficulties for organizations in adapting to a rapidly changing business environment. Here we present the Plural method which can be used to guide organizations in performing process modeling in a decentralized way. Instead of a centralized group of people understanding, modeling and improving processes, our method allows individuals to model and improve their own processes to help in fulfilling their roles in the organization. An individual model depicts a set of activities performed by a role, which together result in a cohesive service within the organization. These individual models are then integrated as necessary to show the way the organization works. We applied the Plural method in a case study of a small-size software organization. We describe the method and its underlying principles and then discuss the findings of our case study, lessons learned, and limitations. The study thus provided evidence of Plural's utility and showed how an organization might exploit its strengths.
Organizations uses process models to understand, analyze, and communicate organizational knowledge as well as a stepping-stone in automating their processing. We use process modeling in establishing quality manuals, assessing and identifying added value, establishing control mechanisms, and automating workflow. Consequently, process models are considered to be one of the most valuable assets of an organization. Process modeling is traditionally performed as a top-down centralized approach. That is, a group of experts (systems or process engineering groups), work with groups of individuals system users) in different roles to identify and record the business processes. As the degree of the involvement of the process performers in the modeling effort increases, the likelihood that the model reflects the actual processes as well as the likelihood that the group enjoys using the model increases. Therefore, the degree of their involvement is most critical in determining the success of their efforts. We hypothesize that the full advantage of involvement is obtained when the individuals model their own processes. The cycle times of top-down centralized organizational process modeling projects can be in the order of months or years, or even decades for very large systems. Furthermore, once process definitions are considered stable it is often difficult to change them. However, to respond to the demand of markets, organizations should be able to change their way of working. Thus we need to reduce the cycle time for modeling and improvement to the order of days or weeks. Process infrastructure should be able to incorporate changes rapidly. We believe that this goal could be achieved by a decentralized modeling approach. Decentralized process modeling presumes each individual can define and maintain his or her own activities. If people model their own processes, they identify and resolve inconsistencies among their definitions. Such partial definitions, which are also maintained in a decentralized manner, can then be integrated to show the overall business processes and the organization's process network at a point in time. One of the significant challenges of this approach is that the resultant partial models possess any inconsistencies due to different people's concept of the overall process. However, we consider this an opportunity to allow an organization to identify points where improvements are possible in the overall process. This suggests that inconsistency resolution can be performed by the process performers rather than a central group who do not necessarily understand the problems or by an automated task executed by the IS. Shifting the responsibility to the knowledge workers improves the communication between them and uncovers implicit assumptions about the way the processes are carried out. Decentralization in process modeling also allows process change to be performed by the process users on their own (individual) model rather than a central group maintaining organization's overall system. This helps by increasing employee involvement, which fosters problem solving and process improvement. Participation and commitment allow employees to make decisions and this makes it possible to reorganize rapidly to change, creating an environment of ownership . This aligns with the shift from command-and-control to coordinate-and-cultivate with decentralized structures of loose hierarchies and democracies centered around enduring human values. We developed a method, Plural, which provides a guideline for organizations to perform business process modeling in a decentralized way; it allows each process owner to take the responsibility of describing and improving his or her own process without any central control structure, but builds and maintains the organization's process-base. During the development of the Plural method, we performed a number of pilot studies and applied case scenarios to explore the applicability of the method and enhance its structure. The intent was to answer the research question: “What benefits can organizations gain from applying the Plural method of modeling their processes in a decentralized manner?” Using the Plural method, diagrams depicting process dependencies and role dependencies were generated in order to provide insight into the way the organization works and can be improved.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Use of the Plural method allows organizations to capture the perspectives of multiple agents who hold a partial knowledge of their organization's processes. Capturing and representing process information from multiple viewpoints enables organization to capture wider and more accurate process information . Studies of business process modeling and redesign suggest that the process models that are perceived as more accurate are also perceived as enabling a greater degree of redesign success than models that are less accurate . Plural ensures that a role's expectations (in the form of information flow) are explicitly defined and visible to the organization. This helps in discovering communication points and conflicts, and provides an explicit representation of unfulfilled expectations where process-level and individual objectives are not being achieved sufficiently. By delegating the responsibility of modeling and improving processes to process owners, Plural can help to empower people and stimulate thinking about the way the processes are performed and the way they can be improved. It fosters an environment to reveal and discuss problems and establish a shared vocabulary, while allowing each individual to represent his or her own. For process improvement and redesign, it is important to make sure that employees have a roadmap of others’ positions . Shared perspectives of agents, including goals and interdependencies, help organization to succeed in process definition and improvement. Plural helps the organization to create a process-base that shows who is responsible for which activities, what information is processed by whom, and which organizational entities interact with each other. The process-base caters for the generation of various representations depicting the processes with different abstraction levels and perspectives. Such an environment allows the organization to establish a knowledge-friendly culture with openness, an innovative atmosphere, and willingness to share . Plural builds a business process architecture in terms of a set of interacting and loosely coupled components, which represent the service operations of people acting for roles. Such an architecture helps to bridge the gap between business requirements and the IT infrastructure, and paves the way for translating requirements into flexible, reusable and autonomous software artifacts implemented as software services . 6.1. Limitations of the study Our case study was performed in a relatively small size organization with a limited number of participants. Working with a small team of people co-located in the same office eased communication among team members and helped in expediting the effort. Although team members were not initially familiar with the notation and tools utilized, they had the necessary knowledge and skills to adopt the method of process modeling and this had a positive influence on the effort. In addition, the high maturity profile of the organization had a substantial impact on the success of the work. However, we have no proof yet that the approach will scale-up to be used in larger organizations with hundreds of knowledge workers spanning many large processes across the organization. This therefore results in a limitation on it generalizability. The toolset used for the case study did not provide adequate support to the method and the add-on we have developed has its own limitations. The real benefits would be gained with a tool addressing the unique requirements of the method. In brief, the evidence suggests that Plural method was successful in enabling decentralized business process modeling. Plural was developed as an initial method addressing the main features of our decentralized approach. Other methods built upon these characteristics can also be constructed, but currently there is no evidence that the potential benefits of decentralization will result from their use. We believe that our Plural method and its application in a particular organizational setting is an initial step towards its deployment and acceptance.