Three Levels of Failure: Analysing a Workflow Management System

  • Tom GrossEmail author
  • Samuli Pekkola
Part of the Computer Supported Cooperative Work book series (CSCW)


In this paper we report on a case study of the introduction of a workflow management for travel management in a higher education organisation. We aim at addressing two central questions. Firstly, why did a workflow management system (WfMS), which was initially anticipated and welcomed, create complaints that go far beyond the well-known resistance towards the introduction of new systems? And secondly, why did the users regard this workflow management system and its introduction as a failure? The answers that we found to these two central questions are valuable lesson learned for the designers of user-friendly workflow management systems. And, they also have implications to the general organisational resistance discussion, where for instance Piderit (2000) asked for more individually oriented approaches to gain more understanding about cognitive ambivalences of individuals and their adaptation to new systems. Although we do not study cognitive processes, the study provides a basis to understand individual users and their roles and expectations in the organisational context.


Business Process Central Administration Paper Copy Organisational Issue Travel Plan 
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Copyright information

© Springer London 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MediaBauhaus-University WeimarWeimarGermany
  2. 2.Department of Business Information Management and LogisticsTampere University of TechnologyTampereFinland

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