Business & Information Systems Engineering

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 191–202 | Cite as

Exploring the Interplay of the Design and Emergence of Business Processes as Organizational Routines

  • Daniel BeverungenEmail author
Research Paper


Much of the BPM literature views business process design and implementation as a top-down process that is built on strategic alignment and managerial control. While this view has enabled the design of many IT artifacts for business processes, it is inconsistent with the observation that information infrastructures, including a company’s business process infrastructure, are at drift, a term that refers to the lack of top-down management control. The paper contributes to resolving this inconsistency by developing a meta-framework that conceptualizes business processes as emergent organizational routines that are represented, enabled, and constrained by IT artifacts. IT artifacts are developed in processes of functional-hierarchical decomposition and social design processes. Organizational routines have ostensive and performative aspects, forming a mutually constitutive duality. A literature review demonstrates that the propositions offered by the meta-framework have been insufficiently considered in the BPM field. The paper concludes with an outlook to applying the meta-framework to theorize about the interplay of design projects with the subsequent emergence of business processes in organizations.


Business process management Organizational routine Structuration theory Emergence Design Social construction of technology 


  1. Alexander C (1970) Notes on the synthesis of form. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  2. Archer MS (2010) Morphogenesis versus structuration: on combining structure and action. The British Journal of Sociology 61(1):225–252 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avison D, Wood-Harper A, Vidgen R, Wood J (1998) A further exploration into information systems development: the evolution of multiview. Information Technology & People 11(2):124–139 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagayogo F, Beaudry A, Lapointe L (2013) Impacts of IT acceptance and resistance behaviors: a novel framework. In: 34th International conference on information systems, Milan, Italy Google Scholar
  5. Bala H, Venkatesh V (2007) Assimilation of interorganizational business process standards. Information Systems Research 18(3):340–362 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becker J, Beverungen D, Knackstedt R, Matzner M, Müller O, PöppelbußJ (2013) Designing interaction routines in service networks: a modularity and social construction-based approach. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 25(1):17–48 Google Scholar
  7. Becker MC (2004) Organizational routines: a review of the literature. Industrial and Corporate Change 13(4):643–677 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berger PL, Luckmann T (1966) The social construction of reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Doubleday, Garden City Google Scholar
  9. Beverungen D (2013) On the design of IT artifacts and the emergence of business processes as organizational routines. In: 34th International conference on information systems, Milan, Italy Google Scholar
  10. Bijker W (1987) The social construction of bakelite: toward a theory of invention. In: Bijker W, Hughes TP, Pinch T (eds) The social construction of technological systems. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 159–187 Google Scholar
  11. Boersma K, Kingma S (2005) From means to ends: the transformation of ERP in a manufacturing company. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 14(2):197–219 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Breuker D, Matzner M (2013) Statistical sequence analysis for business process mining and organizational routines. In: 21st European conference on information systems, Utrecht, Netherlands Google Scholar
  13. Brüggemeier M, Dovifat A, Kubisch D (2005) Analyse von Innovationsprozessen im Kontext von E-Government. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 47(5):347–355 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Checkland P (1998) Systems thinking. In: Currie WL, Galliers RD (eds) Rethinking management information systems. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 45–56 Google Scholar
  15. Ciborra CU (1997) De profundis? Deconstructing the concept of strategic alignment. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 9(1):67–82 Google Scholar
  16. Ciborra C, Hanseth O (1995) Introduction. In: Ciborra C, Braa K, Cordella A, Dahlbom B, Failla A, Hanseth O, Hepso V, Ljungberg J, Monteiro E, Simon K (eds) From control to drift: the dynamics of corporate information infrastructure. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 1–11 Google Scholar
  17. Coldewey J (2002) Agile Entwicklung Web-basierter Systeme. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 44(3):237–248 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. DeSanctis G, Poole MS (1994) Capturing the complexity in advanced technology use: adaptive structuration theory. Organization Science 5(2):121–147 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Feldman MS, Pentland BT (2003) Reconceptualizing organizational routines as a source of flexibility and change. Administrative Science Quarterly 48(1):94–118 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ferneley EH, Sobreperez P (2006) Resist, comply or workaround? An examination of different facets of user engagement with information systems. European Journal of Information Systems 15(4):345–356 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fischer C, Winter R, Wortmann F (2010) Gestaltungstheorie. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 52(6):383–386 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fleischmann A, Schmidt W, Stary C, Obermeier S, Börger E (2012) Subject-oriented business process management. Springer, Heidelberg CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Frei FX, Kalakota R, Leone AJ, Marx LM (1999) Process variation as a determinant of bank performance: evidence from the retail banking study. Management Science 45(9):1210–1220 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gibson J (1979) The ecological approach to perception. Houghton Mifflin, London Google Scholar
  25. Giddens A (1984) The constitution of society, vol 20(3). Polity Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  26. Giddens A (1991) The consequences of modernity. Stanford University Press, Palo Alto Google Scholar
  27. Gregor S, Jones D (2007) The anatomy of a design theory. Journal of the Association for Information Systems 8(5):312–335 Google Scholar
  28. Hammer M (2010) What is business process management? In: Vom Brocke J, Rosemann M (eds) Handbook on business process management, vol. 1. Introduction, methods, and information systems. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 3–16 Google Scholar
  29. Harmon P (2010) The scope and evolution of business process management. In: Handbook on business process management, vol. 1. Introduction, methods, and information systems. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 37–82 Google Scholar
  30. Hodgson GM (2007) Institutions and individuals: interaction and evolution. Organization Studies 28(1):95–116 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Howcroft D, Mitev N, Wilson M (2004) What we may learn from the social shaping of technology approach. In: Mingers J, Willcocks L (eds) Social theory and philosophy for information systems. Wiley, Chichester, pp 329–371 Google Scholar
  32. Ignatiadis I, Nandhakumar J (2009) The effect of ERP system workarounds on organizational control: an interpretivist case study. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 21(2):59–90 Google Scholar
  33. Jones MR (1998) Information systems and the double mangle: steering a course between the scylla of embedded structure and the charybdis of strong symmetry. In: Larsen TJ, Levione L, DeGross JI (eds) Information systems: current issues and future changes. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 287–302 Google Scholar
  34. Jones MR, Karsten H (2008) Giddens’s structuration theory and information systems research. Management Information Systems Quarterly 32(1):127–157 Google Scholar
  35. Jones O, Macpherson A (2006) Inter-organizational learning and strategic renewal in SMES. Long Range Planning 39(2):155–175 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kane GC, Labianca G (2011) IS avoidance in health-care groups: a multilevel investigation. Information Systems Research 22(3):504–522 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kawalek JP (1994) Interpreting business process re-engineering on organization work flow. Journal of Information Technology 9(4):276–287 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kim HW, Kankanhalli A (2009) Investigating user resistance to information systems implementation: a status quo bias perspective. Management Information Systems Quarterly 33(3):567–582 Google Scholar
  39. Klein A, Krcmar H (2003) Electronic meeting systems paradox. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 45(4):421–433 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. KLM (2014) KLM meet and seat. Accessed 2014-01-13
  41. Lammers M (2004) Make, buy or share. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 46(3):204–212 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Langlois RN (2002) Modularity in technology and organization. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 49(1):19–37 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lee E (2008) Cyber physical systems: design challenges. In: International symposium on object/component/service-oriented real-time distributed computing (ISORC), Orlando, FL, USA Google Scholar
  44. Lyytinen K, Keil T, Fomin V (2008) A framework to build process theories of anticipatory information and communication technology (ICT) standardizing. International Journal of IT Standards and Standardization Research 6(1):543–573 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marakas G, Hornik S (1996) Passive resistance misuse: overt support and covert recalcitrance in is implementation. European Journal of Information Systems 5(3):208–219 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. March ST, Smith GF (1995) Design and natural science research on information technology. Decision Support Systems 15(4):251–266 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mayntz R (2011) Emergenz in Philosophie und Sozialtheorie. In: Greve J, Schnabel A (eds) Zur Analyse und Erklärung komplexer Strukturen. Suhrkamp, Berlin, pp 156–186 Google Scholar
  48. Melão N, Pidd M (2000) A conceptual framework for understanding business processes and business process modelling. Information Systems Journal 10(2):105–129 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meredith J (1993) Theory building through conceptual methods. International Journal of Operations & Production Management 13(5):3–11 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mora M, Gelman O, Paradice D, Cervantes F (2008) The case for conceptual research in information systems. In: International conference on information resources management (CONF-IRM-2008), paper 52 Google Scholar
  51. Morgan G (1997) Images of organization, 2nd edn. Sage, Thousand Oaks Google Scholar
  52. Nagasundaram M, Bostrom R (1994) The structuring of creative processes using GSS: a framework for research. Journal of Management Information Systems 11(3):87–114 Google Scholar
  53. Nandhakumar J, Rossi M, Talvinen J (2005) The dynamics of contextual forces of ERP implementation. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 14(2):221–242 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nelson R, Winter S (1982) An evolutionary theory of economic change. Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  55. Newell S, Swan JA, Galliers RD (2000) A knowledge-focused perspective on the diffusion and adoption of complex information technologies: the BPR example. Information Systems Journal 10(3):239–259 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Norman DA (2004) Affordance, conventions, and design. Interactions 6(3):38–43 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Orlikowski WJ (1992) The duality of technology: rethinking the concept of technology in organizations. Organization Science 3(3):398–427 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Orlikowski WJ (2000) Using technology and constituting structures: a practice lens for studying technology in organizations. Organization Science 11(4):404–428 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pentland BT, Feldman MS (2008) Designing routines: on the folly of designing artifacts, while hoping for patterns of action. Information and Organization 18(4):235–250 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pentland BT, Haeram T, Hillison DW (2009) Using workflow data to explore the structure of an organizational routine. In: Becker MC, Lazaric N (eds) Organizational routines: advancing empirical research. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 47–67 Google Scholar
  61. Poole MS, DeSanctis G (2004) Structuration theory in information systems research: methods and controversies. In: Whitman M, Woszcynski A (eds) Handbook of information systems research. Idea Group Glos, Hershey, pp 206–249 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Richter A, Riemer K (2013) Nutzungsoffene Anwendungssoftware. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 55(3):193–196 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Riemer K, Filius S (2008) Kontextualisierung der Medienwahl mit Hilfe von Kommunikationsgenres. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 51(2):192–205 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rosemann M, Andersson M, Lind M (2011) Digital complementary assets. In: 32nd International conference on information systems, Shanghai, China, pp 1–16 Google Scholar
  65. Rosenkranz C (2011) Information systems development as a social process: a structurational model. In: 32th International conference on information systems, Shanghai, China Google Scholar
  66. Sanchez R, Mahoney JT (1996) Modularity, flexibility, and knowledge management in product and organization design. Management 17(Winter special issue):63–76 Google Scholar
  67. Saravanamuthu K (2002) Information technology and ideology. Journal of Information Technology 17(2):79–87 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sarker S, Sarker S, Sidorova A (2006) Understanding business process change failure: an actor-network perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems 23(1):51–86 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schäfermeyer M, Rosenkranz C, Holten R (2012) Der Einfluss der Komplexität auf die Standardisierung von Geschäftsprozessen. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 54(5):251–261 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sein MK, Henfridsson O, Purao S, Rossi M, Lindgren R (2011) Action design research. Management Information Systems Quarterly 35(1):37–56 Google Scholar
  71. Selander L, Henfridsson O (2012) Cynicism as user resistance in IT implementation. Information Systems Journal 22(4):289–312 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Shaw DR, Holland CP (2010) Strategy, networks and systems in the global translation services market. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 19(4):242–256 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Song M, van der Aalst WMP (2008) Towards comprehensive support for organizational mining. Decision Support Systems 46(1):300–317 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Srivardhana T, Pawlowski S (2007) ERP systems as an enabler of sustained business process innovation: a knowledge-based view. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 16(1):51–69 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Teubner R (2013) Informationssystem-Strategie. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 55(4):239–255 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Van der Aalst W (2011) Process mining: discovery, conformance and enhancement of business processes. Springer, Heidelberg CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Van der Aalst W, Weijters A (2004) Process mining: a research agenda. Computers in Industry 53(3):231–244 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Van der Aalst W, van Dongen B, Herbst J, Maruster L, Schimm G, Weijters A (2003) Workflow mining: a survey of issues and approaches. Data & Knowledge Engineering 47(2):237–267 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Vargo SL, Lusch RF (2004) Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing 68(1):1–17 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Vom Brocke J, Rosemann M (2010a) Foreword. In: vom Brocke J, Rosemann M (eds) Handbook on business process management, vol. 1. Introduction, methods, and information systems. Springer, Heidelberg. pp V–IX Google Scholar
  81. Vom Brocke J, Rosemann M (eds) (2010b) Handbook on business process management, vol. 1. Introduction, methods, and information systems. Springer, Heidelberg Google Scholar
  82. Vom Brocke J, Rosemann M (eds) (2010c) Handbook on business process management, vol. 2. Strategic alignment, governance, people and culture. Springer, Heidelberg Google Scholar
  83. Wang ETG, Tai JCF, Grover V (2013) Examining the relational benefits of improved interfirm information processing capability in buyer–supplier dyads. Management Information Systems Quarterly 37(1):149–173 Google Scholar
  84. Weick KE (1976) Educational organizations as loosely coupled systems. Administrative Science Quarterly 21(1):1–19 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Willcocks L, Smith G (1995) IT-enabled business process reengineering: organizational and human resource dimensions. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 4(3):279–301 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Winter R (2008) Design science research in Europe. European Journal of Information Systems 17(5):470–475 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wittmann T, Bruckner T (2007) Agentenbasierte Modellierung urbaner Energiesysteme. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 49(5):352–360 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Yu E (2001) Agent orientation as a modelling paradigm. WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 43(2):123–132 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Research Center for Information SystemsUniversity of MuensterMünsterGermany

Personalised recommendations