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Action learning approach to teaching business engineering methodology

Michael Leyer (University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany)
Jürgen Moormann (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Frankfurt a.M., Germany)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 3 February 2017




The business engineering (BE) methodology is used to design process-oriented and customer-centred companies in a systematic and holistic way. However, BE demands a high learning effort with regard to the logical flow, instruments and supporting software. The purpose of this paper is to explore which elements of action learning are most useful regarding BE.


To enable students to learn BE, a graduate-level course based on action learning is designed. Within a one-week schedule, participants are guided through the three phases of BE covering 31 learning elements. A post-test measures the learning experience. Regression analysis identifies elements that lead to high learning performance.


Results from five courses with 79 students reveal that action learning is useful to obtain declarative and procedural knowledge of BE. Learning elements delivering theoretical input and the use of an exemplary case could be reduced, while more time should be devoted to group work on a self-developed case study.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on a specific course design for the topic of BE, which might limit the results’ transferability to other business process management (BPM) teaching areas. However, it provides implications about the decisive elements for learning how to design process-oriented companies.

Practical implications

The results can be used by instructors to design more meaningful courses on BE.


The paper delivers new insights into how issues of BPM should be taught. This area, particularly regarding BE, has received little research attention.



Leyer, M. and Moormann, J. (2017), "Action learning approach to teaching business engineering methodology", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 130-154.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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