Business Process Activity Relationships: Is There Anything Beyond Arrows?

  • Greta AdamoEmail author
  • Stefano Borgo
  • Chiara Di Francescomarino
  • Chiara Ghidini
  • Nicola Guarino
  • Emilio M. Sanfilippo
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 329)


Business process modelling languages enable the depiction of the processes of an organisation by exploiting graphical symbols to denote the key elements to be represented. Despite the variety of approaches, graphical symbols, and (in)formal interpretations associated to the different languages, a fundamental component of every business process modelling language is the representation of the way activities are related by means of control arcs and gateways. While multiple kinds of relationships may hold among such activities, mainstream business process modelling languages seem actually only interested in modelling a single (very important) kind of relationship, namely the activity execution order within the control flow. In this paper we investigate the role of another kind of fundamental relationship between activities, namely ontological dependence, in the context of business process modelling. In particular, we introduce three forms of generic ontological dependence, namely historical dependence, causal dependence, and goal-based co-occurrence. We illustrate different forms in which they can occur, we introduce a language to express them and we discuss their usefulness in two concrete use cases.



This research has been partially carried out within the Euregio IPN12 KAOS, which is funded by the “European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino” (EGTC) under the first call for basic research projects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greta Adamo
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Stefano Borgo
    • 2
  • Chiara Di Francescomarino
    • 1
  • Chiara Ghidini
    • 1
  • Nicola Guarino
    • 2
  • Emilio M. Sanfilippo
    • 3
  1. 1.FBK-IRSTTrentoItaly
  2. 2.ISTC-CNR Laboratory for Applied OntologyTrentoItaly
  3. 3.Ecole Centrale de Nantes – Laboratoire des Sciences du Numérique – LS2NNantesFrance
  4. 4.University of Genova, DIBRISGenovaItaly

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