The ontological deficiencies of process modeling in practice

Recker, Jan C., Indulska, Marta, Rosemann, Michael, & Green, Peter (2010) The ontological deficiencies of process modeling in practice. European Journal of Information Systems, 19(5), pp. 501-525.

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Business process modeling is widely regarded as one of the most popular forms of conceptual modeling. However, little is known about the capabilities and deficiencies of process modeling grammars and how existing deficiencies impact actual process modeling practice. This paper is a first contribution towards a theory-driven, exploratory empirical investigation of the ontological deficiencies of process modeling with the industry standard Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). We perform an analysis of BPMN using a theory of ontological expressiveness. Through a series of semi-structured interviews with BPMN adopters we explore empirically the actual use of this grammar. Nine ontological deficiencies related to the practice of modeling with BPMN are identified, for example, the capture of business rules and the specification of process decompositions. We also uncover five contextual factors that impact on the use of process modeling grammars, such as tool support and modeling conventions. We discuss implications for research and practice, highlighting the need for consideration of representational issues and contextual factors in decisions relating to BPMN adoption in organizations.

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38 citations in Scopus
17 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 37582
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: process modeling, usage behavior, ontology, BPMN
DOI: 10.1057/ejis.2010.38
ISSN: 0960-085X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600) > Conceptual Modelling (080603)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business Information Systems (150302)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Information Systems
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2010 Palgrave Macmillan.
Copyright Statement: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in European Journal of Information Systems. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at:
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2010 01:39
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2014 03:22

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