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Survey on Process Management: Process-Oriented HR-Systems

Human resources systems have to support the process approach (Hammer, 2007). Process-oriented HR-systems incorporate job descriptions based on business process design and incentive systems that emphasize the process’ needs. This article discusses empirical insights on process-oriented HR-systems using the results of the process management survey. Survey details (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

In most of the firms, the design of business processes moderately drive role definitions, job descriptions and competency profiles (see figure below). The item “Process’ design drive role definitions, job descriptions and competency profiles” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 26,85%: Disagree
  • 40,27%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 32,89%: Agree
Process’ design drive role definitions, job descriptions and competency profiles.

Process’ design drive role definitions, job descriptions and competency profiles.

Old reward systems based on the functional model are no longer viable in a process-based organization (Armistead and Rowland, 1996). Traditional vertical management systems pull people in one direction, whereas they should work for the interest of inter-functional processes. Therefore, management systems also need to emphasize the process’ needs, otherwise conflict and confusion ensue, lowering performance (Hammer and Stanton, 1999). Interestingly, most of the surveyed organizations do not have reward systems in place that emphasize the needs of the organization’s business processes. The item “Our organization has implemented reward systems (incentive systems) that emphasize the needs of the organization’s business processes” was rated by the firms as follows:

  • 69,33%: Disagree
  • 16,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 14,00%: Agree
The organization has implemented reward systems (incentive systems) that emphasize the needs of the organization’s business processes.

The organization has implemented reward systems (incentive systems) that emphasize the needs of the organization’s business processes.

The Characteristics of Process Orientation. Part 6: Process-Oriented HR-Systems

Human resources systems have to support the process approach (Hammer, 2007). In a process-oriented enterprise, the process design should drive job descriptions. Also, incentive systems should be implemented which emphasize the process’ needs.

  • Job descriptions based on process design: The process’ design should drive role definitions, job descriptions and competency profiles.
  • Reward systems (incentive systems) that emphasize the needs of the organization’s business processes: Old reward systems based on the functional model are no longer viable in a process-based organization (Armistead and Rowland, 1996). Traditional vertical management systems pull people in one direction, whereas they should work for the interest of interfunctional processes. Therefore, management systems also need to emphasize the process’ needs, otherwise conflict and confusion ensue, lowering performance (Hammer and Stanton, 1999).

Process Orientation is neither a Question of Firm Size nor of Manufacturing Process Type

This article is a brief summary of the paper “Process Orientation of Manufacturing Companies” by Kohlbacher M., published in Proceedings of the GBDI Tenth International Conference, Las Vegas, October 2008.

In this paper a model for measuring a firm’s degree of process orientation is introduced. The model measures process orientation by means of ten dimensions (e.g. design and documentation of business processes, process owner, process performance measurement, etc.) and is used for measuring the degree of process orientation of 105 randomly selected Austrian manufacturing firms. With the empirical data collected, it is discussed whether there is a relationship between process orientation, firm size and manufacturing process type (i.e. project, jobbing, batch, and line manufacturing process type).

The paper concludes that the application of business process management is neither a question of firm size nor of manufacturing process type. Furthermore, the paper finds interesting correlations, such as the significant correlation between the process owner role and the application of process performance measurement. This correlation states that organizations with a stronger emphasis on the process owner role also make greater use of process performance measurement. There is also a strong correlation between process performance measurement and the application of process-oriented HR-systems, which means that firms making greater use of process performance measurement also place greater emphasis on process oriented HR systems (such as incentive systems which emphasize the process’ needs).

Main Characteristics of a Process-Oriented Organization

According to (Hammer, 2007; Harmon, 2007; Hinterhuber, 1995; Melan, 1989; Reijers, 2006), an organization which has adopted the process-view exhibits the following characteristics:

First, a prerequisite for managing an organization based on its processes is to know which business processes are performed within the organization and how they are related to each other. Hence, a process-oriented firm explicitly designs and documents its business processes.

Second, management needs to support the process program. Without the support of senior executives, the process idea cannot unfold its full potential.

Third, the existence of process owners is the most visible difference between a process enterprise and a traditional organization. A business process needs to have a manager who has end to end responsibility of the process.

Fourth, a process-oriented organization comprehensively applies the concept of process performance measurement. By focusing measurement on processes rather than functions, alignment and common focus across separate organizational units can be achieved. Implementing measures and taking corrective actions are operating precepts of process management.

Finally, there are other characteristics a process-oriented organization exhibits, including a process-oriented corporate culture (e.g. teamwork, readiness to change, and customer focus), IT systems which seamlessly support business processes, a process-oriented organizational structure, people and expertise (e.g. existence of process redesign and change management experts), process-oriented HR systems (e.g. existence of an incentive system emphasizing the process’ needs) and the existence of a BPM office coordinating and integrating process projects.

Further information on the characteristics of process orientation can be found in this blog post: The Components of Business Process Management.

Information on which process management components are important for improving firm performance can be found here: The Effects of Process-Oriented Organizational Design on Firm Performance.