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Tools for Inventing Organizations: Toward a Handbook of Organizational Processes

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Author Info

  • Thomas W. Malone

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • Kevin Crowston

    (Center for Science and Technology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York)

  • Jintae Lee

    (University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii)

  • Brian Pentland

    (School of Labor and Industrial Relations, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan)

  • Chrysanthos Dellarocas

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • George Wyner

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • John Quimby

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • Charles S. Osborn

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • Abraham Bernstein

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • George Herman

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • Mark Klein

    (Center for Coordination Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • Elissa O'Donnell

    (Fidelity Investments, Boston, Massachusetts)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    This paper describes a novel theoretical and empirical approach to tasks such as business process redesign and knowledge management. The project involves collecting examples of how different organizations perform similar processes, and organizing these examples in an on-line "process handbook." The handbook is intended to help people: (1) redesign existing organizational processes, (2) invent new organizational processes (especially ones that take advantage of information technology), and (3) share ideas about organizational practices. A key element of the work is an approach to analyzing processes at various levels of abstraction, thus capturing both the details of specific processes as well as the "deep structure" of their similarities. This approach uses ideas from computer science about inheritance and from coordination theory about managing dependencies. A primary advantage of the approach is that it allows people to explicitly represent the similarities (and differences) among related processes and to easily find or generate sensible alternatives for how a given process could be performed. In addition to describing this new approach, the work reported here demonstrates the basic technical feasibility of these ideas and gives one example of their use in a field study.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.45.3.425
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 425-443

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:3:p:425-443

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    Related research

    Keywords: business process redesign; knowledge management; process handbook; organizational design; organizational learning;

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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur, 2002. "An e-Business Model Ontology for Modeling e-Business," Industrial Organization 0202004, EconWPA.
    2. Teresa Tiaojung Hsu & Kuen-Hung Tsai & Yi-Chuan Liao, 2013. "How Knowledge Integration Mechanisms Affect Product Innovation in the NPD Process?," Diversity, Technology, and Innovation for Operational Competitiveness: Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Technology Innovation and Industrial Management, ToKnowPress.
    3. Grosof, Benjamin & Poon, Terrence C., 2003. "SweetDeal: Representing Agent Contracts With Exceptions using XML Rules, Ontologies, and Process Descriptions," Working papers 4424-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    4. Albert Plugge & Jacques Brook, 2013. "From Fragmented to Integrated IT Service Delivery: Identifying Coordinating Challenges," Working Papers 2013/04, Maastricht School of Management.
    5. Brian T. Pentland & Charles S. Osborn & George Wyner & Fred Luconi, 1999. "Useful Descriptions of Organizational Processes: Collecting Data for the Process Handbook," Working Paper Series 208, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
    6. Angel Antonio Diaz & Oswaldo Lorenzo & Luis Eduardo Solis Galvan, 2004. "A taxonomy of business processes," Working Papers Economia wp04-24, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    7. Gustaf Neumann & Stefan Sobernig & Michael Aram, 2014. "Evolutionary Business Information Systems," Business & Information Systems Engineering, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 33-38, February.
    8. Florian Johannsen & Susanne Leist, 2012. "Wand and Weber’s Decomposition Model in the Context of Business Process Modeling," Business & Information Systems Engineering, Springer, vol. 4(5), pages 271-286, October.
    9. Toshihiro Wakayama, 2008. "Thematic Networks: Structuring the Organization for Strategic Fit," Working Papers EMS_2008_09, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    10. Stephen Guisinger, 2001. "From OLI to OLMA: Incorporating Higher Levels of Environmental and Structural Complexity into the Eclectic Paradigm," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 257-272.

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