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Exploring location-dependency in process modeling

Xinwei Zhu (International School of Software, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Jan Recker (Information System School, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Guobin Zhu (International School of Software, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Flávia Maria Santoro (Applied Informatics Department, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




Context-awareness has emerged as an important principle in the design of flexible business processes. The goal of the research is to develop an approach to extend context-aware business process modeling toward location-awareness. The purpose of this paper is to identify and conceptualize location-dependencies in process modeling.


This paper uses a pattern-based approach to identify location-dependency in process models. The authors design specifications for these patterns. The authors present illustrative examples and evaluate the identified patterns through a literature review of published process cases.


This paper introduces location-awareness as a new perspective to extend context-awareness in BPM research, by introducing relevant location concepts such as location-awareness and location-dependencies. The authors identify five basic location-dependent control-flow patterns that can be captured in process models. And the authors identify location-dependencies in several existing case studies of business processes.

Research limitations/implications

The authors focus exclusively on the control-flow perspective of process models. Further work needs to extend the research to address location-dependencies in process data or resources. Further empirical work is needed to explore determinants and consequences of the modeling of location-dependencies.


As existing literature mostly focusses on the broad context of business process, location in process modeling still is treated as “second class citizen” in theory and in practice. This paper discusses the vital role of location-dependencies within business processes. The proposed five basic location-dependent control-flow patterns are novel and useful to explain location-dependency in business process models. They provide a conceptual basis for further exploration of location-awareness in the management of business processes.



Zhu, X., Recker, J., Zhu, G. and Maria Santoro, F. (2014), "Exploring location-dependency in process modeling", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 794-815.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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