Workaround-Driven Business Process Evolution

Location: University of Haifa

Organizers: Pnina Soffer , Irit Hadar

7-8 October, 2018


Business processes are designed and practiced for the purpose of standardizing, streamlining, and managing collaborative work across different units in an organizational system, thus promoting the achievement of business goals. While it is commonly accepted that business processes are continuously improved, compliance with the processes defined at any point in time is important for several reasons. First, standardization of business processes is an enabler of collaboration between different organizational units. When a process participant does not act as expected, the work of other process participants may be hampered. Second, processes frequently reflect obligations to external parties that must be met, regulations that must be complied with, and standards that the organization is committed to. Finally, business processes are designed to support the organization’s goals, and non-compliance may negatively impact business performance.

However, in practice, full compliance is quite rare, and business processes are often bypassed and worked around. The workshop is devoted to workarounds, which are intentional acts of non-compliance with the required (and known) procedure, which nonetheless conform to its goal.

The basic premise is that workarounds should not be considered as problems by themselves but rather that the underlying problems that drive and motivate workarounds can be studied, and provide opportunities for process improvement.

The workshop is devoted to research that follows this idea, aiming to exchange ideas and establish directions for collaborative work, to extend the understanding of workarounds and develop improvement methods that follow them. These include (a) automated methods for detecting workarounds and for assessing their implications on business performance and associated risks, (b) a theoretical motivational model and derived human-centered protocols that will enable a root-cause analysis for revealing the sources of these workarounds, and (c) a solution recommender which will support the development of appropriate business process redesign solutions addressing the workaround causes and facilitating organizational learning. Additional directions intended to leverage the study of workarounds as a driver of process evolution over time will be explored.