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Tools for Inventing Organizations: Toward a Handbook of Organizational Processes

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas W. Malone & Kevin Crowston & Jintae Lee & Brian Pentland & Chrysanthos Dellarocas & George Wyner & John Quimby & Charles S. Osborn & Abraham Bernstein & George Herman & Mark Klein & Elissa O'Do, 1999. "Tools for Inventing Organizations: Toward a Handbook of Organizational Processes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(3), pages 425-443, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:3:p:425-443
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.45.3.425
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chrysanthos Nicholas Dellarocas, 1996. "A Coordination Perspective on Software Architecture: Towards a Design Handbook for Integrating Software Components," Working Paper Series 193, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Toshihiro Wakayama, 2008. "Thematic Networks: Structuring the Organization for Strategic Fit," Working Papers EMS_2008_09, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    3. Florian Johannsen & Susanne Leist, 2012. "Wand and Weber’s Decomposition Model in the Context of Business Process Modeling," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 4(5), pages 271-286, October.
    4. Barbara Weißenberger & Gero Holthoff, 2013. "Cognitive style and connotative meaning in management accounting communication," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-25, May.
    5. Ogulin, R. & Selen, W. & Ashayeri, J., 2010. "Determinants of Informal Coordination in Networked Supply Chains," Discussion Paper 2010-133, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Diane E. Strode, 2016. "A dependency taxonomy for agile software development projects," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 23-46, February.
    7. repec:spr:infosf:v:9:y:2007:i:2:d:10.1007_s10796-007-9026-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Lewellen, Jonathan & Nagel, Stefan, 2006. "The conditional CAPM does not explain asset-pricing anomalies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 289-314.
    9. Brynjolfsson, Erik., 1991. "An incomplete contracts theory of information, technology and organization," Working papers #126. Working paper (Sloa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    10. Albert Plugge & Jacques Brook, 2013. "From Fragmented to Integrated IT Service Delivery: Identifying Coordinating Challenges," Working Papers 2013/04, Maastricht School of Management.
    11. Samer Faraj & Yan Xiao, 2006. "Coordination in Fast-Response Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 1155-1169.
    12. Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur, 2002. "An e-Business Model Ontology for Modeling e-Business," Industrial Organization 0202004, EconWPA.
    13. Gustaf Neumann & Stefan Sobernig & Michael Aram, 2014. "Evolutionary Business Information Systems," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 6(1), pages 33-38, February.
    14. Brian T. Pentland, 2003. "Conceptualizing and Measuring Variety in the Execution of Organizational Work Processes," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 857-870.
    15. Rajiv D. Banker & Robert J. Kauffman, 2004. "50th Anniversary Article: The Evolution of Research on Information Systems: A Fiftieth-Year Survey of the Literature in Management Science," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 281-298.
    16. 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.
    17. Temponi, Cecilia & Bryant, Michael D. & Fernandez, Benito, 2009. "Integration of business function models into an aggregate enterprise systems model," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 199(3), pages 793-800, December.
    18. ANGEL ANTONIO DIAZ & Luis Eduardo Solís, 2004. "A taxonomy of business processes," Working Papers Economia wp04-24, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    19. Yoshioka, Takeshi. & Herman, George Arthur., 2003. "Coordinating information using genres," Working papers 214. Working paper (Sloan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    20. Steven Alter, 2012. "Metamodel for Service Analysis and Design Based on an Operational View of Service and Service Systems," Service Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(3), pages 218-235, September.
    21. Raymond E. Levitt & Jan Thomsen & Tore R. Christiansen & John C. Kunz & Yan Jin & Clifford Nass, 1999. "Simulating Project Work Processes and Organizations: Toward a Micro-Contingency Theory of Organizational Design," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 1479-1495.

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