PhD ceremony: Mr. M. Stuit, 13.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Modelling and analysis of human collaboration processes in organizations
Promotor(s): prof. J.C. Wortmann
Faculty: Economics and Business
Human Collaboration Processes (HCPs), which consist of a structure of related interactions (e.g. meetings, conversations, consultations, discussions), constitute an essential part of a modern organization’s activities. Although human interactions are adopted in practice as an effective way to collaborate, organizations do not define - let alone manage - them as a business process. Therefore, HCPs are not amenable to proper process design, analysis, and improvement. In this thesis, it is argued that pervasive graphical process modelling approaches have shortcomings to model those processes that require intensive human collaboration and interaction for their completion. This is mainly due to their focus on workflow processes, and the definition and automation of workflow processes as task structures. This research contributes to the graphical description of HCPs in organizations, as a necessary precursor for their analysis and improvement. A novel interaction-centric business process modelling approach, named TALL, is presented. The design of the approach is inspired by the agent paradigm. The organizational context in which a HCP occurs is seen as a multi-agent environment in which different agents behave in role-based interactions to coordinate their work. Case studies of real-life HCPs, which are performed within a design science research methodology, are used for the illustration, application, development, and evaluation of the approach. Each case study identifies actionable managerial insights in the form of HCP improvement opportunities, extends the approach based on empirical findings, and contributes to theory development. The results of this thesis suggest that the TALL modelling approach is an innovative, useful, and effective addition to research and practice in the business process management field.
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