, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 271-306

Exception Handling for Conflict Resolution in Cross-Organizational Workflows

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Abstract

Workflow management systems (WfMSs) are being increasingly deployed to deliver e-business transactions across organizational boundaries. To ensure a high service quality in such transactions, exception-handling schemes for conflict resolution are needed. The conflicts primarily arise due to failure of a task in workflow execution because of underlying application, or controlling WfMS component failures or insufficient user input. So far, little progress has been reported in addressing conflict resolution in cross-organizational business processes, though its importance has been recognized. In this paper, we identify the exception handling techniques that support conflict resolution in cross-organizational settings. In particular, we propose a novel, “bundled” exception-handling approach, which supports (1) exception knowledge sharing--sharing exception specifications and handling experiences, (2) coordinated exception handling, and (3) intelligent problem solving--using case based reasoning to reuse exception handing experiences. A prototype of this exception handling mechanism is developed and integrated as a part of the METEOR Workflow Management System. An evaluation of our approach is also presented through some sample workflow applications.