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How high-tech entrepreneurs bricole the evolution of business process management for their activities

Severine LeLoarne (Grenoble Ecole de Management)
Adnane Maalaoui (School of Business, ESG Management School Paris, Paris, France.)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 30 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to focus on how entrepreneurs anticipate and change their company’s business process management after developing a radical innovation. The paper is based on a critical approach to business process modelling (BPM) that posits that – in spite of all the claims, guides and tools that companies employ to help them modelise their processes – business processes are developed and improved (or at least changed) by individuals who negotiate, anticipate and compromise to make these changes occur. Thus, BPM is more a matter of “bricolage” (Levi-Strauss) than an established and defined plan. Based on this position, the paper analyses how a business process model emerges in the early phases of a high-tech new venture when the entrepreneur lacks a valid template to form a conceptual representation of the firm’s business processes.


The authors adopt a perspective based on the concept of bricolage. By analysing and comparing the discourse of 40 entrepreneurs – involved in an activity based on a radical innovation and 20 involved in an activity based on a more incremental concept – the authors are able to answer the two research questions.


Entrepreneurs who develop a new activity based on any radical or incremental innovation generally base the BPM of their company and the evolution of this process on existing models. However, BPM generally differs based on the nature of the innovation. Thus, entrepreneurs who develop a new activity based on a radical innovation do not design a single BPM for their company but a portfolio of BPMs. The process by which such entrepreneurs develop such a portfolio is mainly conducted in a step-by-step and iterative approach that utilises “whatever is at hand” (Levi-Strauss, 1966).


First, this study extends existing methods for and approaches to considering BPM. Second, this research partly answers the call for integration among different theoretical backgrounds and approaches that consider BPM.



LeLoarne, S. and Maalaoui, A. (2015), "How high-tech entrepreneurs bricole the evolution of business process management for their activities", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 152-171.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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