The process and structure of user participation: a BPM system implementation case study

Benny M.E. de Waal (Research Centre for Innovation and Business, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Ronald Batenburg (Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Publication date: 28 January 2014



The aim of this study is to debunk the relationship between user participation practices and the development and success of information systems/information technology implementations. While most studies practically rely on how many participation activities are performed, the process through which users engage in user participation is not specified.


A mixed method approach was applied to study the research questions. A number of relationships were tested by survey data collected among 143 end-users and 49 interviews of employees of a large Dutch social insurance organization that implemented a new and integrative business process management (BPM) system.


The results show that specification of the participation context is of key importance for understanding the success of BPM implementation. Quantitative and qualitative analyses show that rich participation activities hold a stronger positive relationship with the BPM system development and implementation success than other participatory activities that only assist development or implementation. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the updated theory of user participation by Markus and Mao can be turned into a useful instrument for measuring the different aspects of participation.


Most studies on user participation “only” measure how many participation activities were performed, and not how or why they were performed. Furthermore, the combination of qualitative and quantitative data and instruments resulted in a greater understanding of how exactly user participation was brought into practice and how the consequences of this practice were interrelated.



M.E. de Waal, B. and Batenburg, R. (2014), "The process and structure of user participation: a BPM system implementation case study", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 107-128.

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