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Title: Business process discovery through conversation log analysis in pluralist and coercive problem contexts
Author: Mavaddat, Matin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 7785
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Business process discovery is one of the most fundamental steps of business process management (BPM) lifecycles. Incorrect, misleading or biased results of this stage can cause the whole BPM project to fail or the information systems that are created based on them to have great alignment problems with the reality of the organisation and how people carry out their work. The main problems of the business process discovery phase stem from two main sources. Firstly, the wrong attachment of BPM definitions and business process discovery techniques to the functionalist social paradigm whose only objective is the survival of the organisation through ensuring its efficiency and adaptability like a machine. This attachment to the functionalist paradigm has made BPM definitions to assume that organisations as social systems are in a unitary problem context, which means its constituents have similar beliefs and interests, they share common goals and objectives and they have all been involved in the decision-making. These assumptions are obviously far from the reality of today’s organisations which are normally either in pluralist or coercive problem contexts. The second source of problems in the business process discovery phase are BPM’s definitions and techniques over-reliance on human memory and cognition that has made them suffer, like any other knowledge acquisition technique, from human memory and cognition limitations. Using Design Science Research methodology, this research develops a conceptual framework in which new definitions for business task, business process and business process model in pluralist and coercive problem contexts will be presented. It will also be shown that conversation logs are a good source of information for business process discovery based on the new definitions and that using conversation logs can reduce the limitations caused by human memory and cognition. To develop the new conceptual framework, organisations as social systems have been analysed using the creative holism systems approach, and sound theories such as viable system model (VSM), i* framework, speech act theory, conversation for action diagrams and episodic memory have been leveraged. Based on the conceptual framework that consumes email messages as the conversation log and as its source of information, a method for business process discovery has been developed. Using two case studies it has been demonstrated that the proposed definitions and the developed methods are applicable in unitary, pluralist and coercive problem contexts; and taking advantage of the conversation logs as their information source, they suffer to a lesser extent from human memory and cognition limitations. As a consequence, the resulting business process models created from applying the proposed definitions and methods are closer to the realities of the organisations and can increase the success rate of the business process management projects and reduce the information system’s alignment problems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: business process management ; business process discovery ; i* framework ; conversation for action ; language for action perspective