Le standard pratiqué : une nouvelle voie de standardisation des processus métier ouverte par une recherche-action
Business processes undergo standardization. This standardization is achieved through domination, confrontation and incorporation, means that have their origins in methods like Taylorism, reengineering or the implementation of tools such as ERP systems. Prescription and standardization of business processes, however, create problems for organizations, at the strategic, functional and operating levels. Our research attempts to uncover on one hand novel ways of standardizing processes and on the other the conditions facilitating the emergence of these new ways.Convinced that change cannot be defined any more as the imposition of an a priori model or a promulgated standard, we investigate how work practices may contribute to the creation of standards, and result in “practiced” standards. To find solutions to the problems met with current ways of standardizing, we propose a model, which places practice at the heart of a spiral of creation of organizational knowledge. Through an action research project, we analyze the effects of the implementation of this model in two different settings, namely a public banking institute and a conglomerate of national press, requiring different conditions for change.Our findings, which differ considerably from one case to the other, highlight how the “practiced” standard emerges as a novel way of standardizing. First, we notice that the “practiced” standard feeds on the promulgated standard to anchor business processes in the whole organization. Second, the emergence and the development of the “practiced” standard bring to light specific processes that operate in the organization, namely a process of sensemaking, the support of a structure of power parallel to the official one, and a process of organizational innovation.
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