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Role of process knowledge in business process improvement methodology: a case study

Ravi Seethamraju (Faculty of Economics and Business, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Olivera Marjanovic (Faculty of Economics and Business, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Publication date: 6 November 2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the importance and role of process knowledge in the business process (BP) improvement methodology with the help of a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of a literature review that highlights the challenges and issues in the existing BP improvement methodologies. An in‐depth case study that has embarked on a major BP improvement initiative that emphasizes individual and collective process knowledge in a real‐life complex organization is presented.

Findings

The paper confirms that BP improvement is, in fact, a complex, knowledge‐intensive, collaborative process that consists of a set of coordinated, contextualized knowledge management processes. The design of the “to‐be” process in this study is a knowledge co‐creation process that uses collaborative exploration of different scenarios and contexts. Compared with the traditional BP improvement methodologies where the main emphasis is on the design of a new process model, the focus of the methodology employed in this case study is on the process of knowledge co‐creation and transfer.

Research limitations/implications

The paper leads to increased recognition of the knowledge and experience people develop, use and share while modeling, executing, and improving their BPs. It offers anecdotal evidence and general case study research limitations apply.

Practical implications

Practitioners should focus more on key knowledge processes rather than BP models that often obscure the role of individual and collective process knowledge. Rather than investing limited resources in the mapping and modeling of existing processes, practitioners will be able to better serve their organizations if they concentrate on the improvement of the process by tapping the contextualized process knowledge possessed by the individual actors.

Originality/value

In the expanding field of BP management, the study explores the increasing importance of individual and collective process knowledge in process improvement methodologies and provides guidance to user organizations on ways to exploit the value of process knowledge in designing new processes as well as collaborative knowledge sharing and creation process.

Keywords

Citation

Seethamraju, R. and Marjanovic, O. (2009), "Role of process knowledge in business process improvement methodology: a case study", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 15 No. 6, pp. 920-936. https://doi.org/10.1108/14637150911003784

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited