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Survey on Process Management: Structure follows Process

In the process approach, it is the process which comes to the fore, and not the existing organizational structure (Becker et al., 2004).This article discusses the concept of structure follows process which was investigated by the process management survey. Survey details (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

A process-oriented organization has adapted its structure to the process view. Several authors stress that the organizational structure should be aligned with the organization’s business processes (Suter, 2004; Gaitanides, 2007; Kiraka and Manning, 2005). 45% of the surveyed firms state that they derived their organizational structure from the organization’s business processes.

The item “The organizational structure is derived from the organization’s business processes” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 22,96%: Disagree
  • 31,85%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 45,19%: Agree
The organizational structure is derived from the organization's business processes.

The organizational structure is derived from the organization's business processes.

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.

Survey on Process Management: BPM Office

How many firms do have a so-called BPM office in place which coordinates and integrates process projects? This article discusses this question which was investigated by the process management survey. Survey details (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

A business process management office, often also referred to as process office (Fischermanns, 2006) or business process management group (Harmon, 2007), coordinates and integrates process projects in the organization. 46% of the surveyed firms state that they have implemented a BPM office. However, 34% of the firms state that a BPM office doesn’t exist in their organization.

The organization has implemented an instance coordinating and integrating projects dealing with business process management.

The organization has implemented an instance coordinating and integrating projects dealing with business process management.

The item “The organization has implemented an instance coordinating and integrating projects dealing with business process management” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 34,00%: Disagree
  • 20,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 46,00%: Agree

Survey on Process Management: People and Expertise

In a process-oriented firm, people who execute the processes need to have appropriate skills and knowledge. Furthermore, knowledge of certain process improvement, process redesign and change management techniques have to be present. This article discusses the results related to people and expertise of the process management survey. Survey details (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

Process performers must have appropriate knowledge of how to execute the process, otherwise they won’t be able to implement the process design (Hammer, 2007). Most of the surveyed firms state that their employees only have moderate knowledge about the design of the business process they work for. The item “Employees can describe the design of the business process they work for. They know how their work affects subsequent work, customers and process performance” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 13,33%: Disagree
  • 51,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 35,33%: Agree

The item “Our organization’s employees are skilled in problem solving, process improvement and decision-making techniques” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 20,67%: Disagree
  • 61,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 18,00%: Agree

According to Hammer (2007), a process organization must have some people skilled in, and with knowledge of, process redesign. The item “An expert cadre is available in the organization including change management, process redesign and project management experts” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 42,67%: Disagree
  • 33,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 24,00%: Agree

Improving the performance of business processes requires knowledge about, and usage of, process improvement methodologies.The item “The organization makes use of methodologies for continuous process improvement, like KAIZEN, Six Sigma, etc.” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 32,89%: Disagree
  • 29,53%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 37,58%: Agree
The organization makes use of methodologies for continuous process improvement, like KAIZEN, Six Sigma, etc.

The organization makes use of methodologies for continuous process improvement, like KAIZEN, Six Sigma, etc.

Survey on Process Management: Business Process Management Software

A business process management software is a software tool that facilitates activities such as modeling, analysis and enactment of business processes (Reijers, 2006). This article discusses the results related to business process management software of the process management survey. Survey details (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

Most of the surveyed firms state that they do not use any business process management software to support their process management endeavors. The item “The organization is company-wide using a software to support business process management” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 65,77%: Disagree
  • 14,09%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 20,13%: Agree
The organization is company-wide using a software to support business process management.

The organization is company-wide using a software to support business process management.

Survey on Process Management: Aspects of Corporate Culture

Process orientation is also a matter of enterprise culture. The real problems when implementing the process orientation approach are of a cultural nature (Hinterhuber, 1995). The cultural fit is an important issue since people and processes must combine to produce output (Armistead and Machin, 1997). Only a culture based on teamwork, willingness to change, customer orientation, personal accountability, and a cooperative leadership style goes hand in hand with the process approach (Hammer, 2007). This article discusses the results related to corporate culture of the process management survey. Survey details (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

A process-oriented organization needs a culture which values teamwork, since business processes cutting across functions must be operated by people in a team (Hammer, 2007). Most of the surveyed firms state that teamwork is a matter of course in their organization. The item “Teamwork (also between different departments) can be taken for granted in the organization” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 6,67%: Disagree
  • 34,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 58,67%: Agree
Teamwork (also between different departments) can be taken for granted in the organization.

Teamwork (also between different departments) can be taken for granted in the organization.

It is often argued that organizations emphasizing functions and hierarchy are failing to focus on the customer (Hinterhuber, 1995; Schmelzer and Sesselmann, 2006; Gulati, 2007). By contrast, in a process-oriented organization, each business process has a clearly defined customer who receives the result of the process (Schantin, 2004). The item “Our organization’s employees understand that the purpose of their work is to fulfill the needs of the internal/external customers” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 7,33%: Disagree
  • 44,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 48,00%: Agree
Our organization's employees understand that the purpose of their work is to fulfill the needs of the internal/external customers.

Our organization's employees understand that the purpose of their work is to fulfill the needs of the internal/external customers.

Only organizations whose culture values personal accountability will find it possible to move forward with their degree of process orientation (Hammer, 2007). The item “Our firm’s employees feel accountable for enterprise results” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 9,33%: Disagree
  • 62,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 28,67%: Agree
Our firm's employees feel accountable for enterprise results.

Our firm's employees feel accountable for enterprise results.

The lack of a change-supportive culture is often blamed when process improvement actions fail (Tenner and DeToro, 2000). As business conditions change, process designs need to evolve, and it is the task of process owners to guide that evolution (Hammer and Stanton, 1999). A remarkable part of a company’s change-capability is based on its employees (Nyhuis et al., 2008). The item “Changes in the way work is performed are accepted by the employees in a sluggish manner” (note that the item is reverse-coded) was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 26,67%: Disagree
  • 49,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 24,00%: Agree

Therefore, in most of the surveyed firms, the employees’ willingness to change is on a moderate level.

Changes in the way work is performed are accepted by the employees in a sluggish manner.

Changes in the way work is performed are accepted by the employees in a sluggish manner.

Process orientation is a construct which becomes “real” by communication and interaction, i.e. the construct becomes real if it is communicated by means of a language. By communicating about business processes and their design, process management becomes a reality (Gaitanides, 2007). The item “Employees on all levels of the organization are speaking about business processes, customers, teams, process performance indicators, etc.” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 36,00%: Disagree
  • 42,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 22,00%: Agree
Employees on all levels of the organization are speaking about business processes, customers, teams, process performance indicators, etc.

Employees on all levels of the organization are speaking about business processes, customers, teams, process performance indicators, etc.

The need to empower staff is often mentioned by literature on team and process-based organizations (Armistead and Rowland, 1996). Traditional management styles have no place in a process enterprise. Managers can’t command and control but they have to negotiate and collaborate (Hammer and Stanton, 1999). The item “The management’s leadership style is based on hierarchical command and control” (note that the item is reverse-coded) was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 44,00%: Disagree
  • 34,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 21,33%: Agree
The management's leadership style is based on hierarchical command and control.

The management's leadership style is based on hierarchical command and control.

Survey on Process Management: Process Performance Measurement

By focusing measurement on processes rather than functions, alignment and common focus across separate organizational units can be achieved (Hammer, 2007). This article discusses the concept of process performance measurement of the process management survey. Details on the survey (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

Implementing measures and taking corrective actions are operating precepts of process management (Melan, 1989). The results of the survey show that the concept of process performance measurement is partly established by organizations (see figures below). More than 40% of the surveyed firms state that process performance measurement is not implemented in the firm.

The item “Performance indicators are specified for our organization’s business processes” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 42,67%: Disagree
  • 27,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 30,00%: Agree
Performance indicators are specified for our organization’s business processes.

Performance indicators are specified for our organization’s business processes.

Process performance indicators have to be derived from the process objectives which themselves have to be derived from business objectives. The results of the survey reveal that most of the firms which defined process performance indicators derived these indicators from enterprise goals and/or customer requirements. The item “Process performance indicators are derived from enterprise goals and/or from (internal) customer requirements” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,33%: No process performance indicators defined
  • 10,00%: Disagree
  • 22,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 42,67%: Agree
Process performance indicators are derived from enterprise goals and/or from (internal) customer requirements

Process performance indicators are derived from enterprise goals and/or from (internal) customer requirements.

Process performance measurement only makes sense if performance indicators are calculated from process performance data which is collected continuously. Most firms which defined process performance indicators also continuously collect performance data. The item “Process performance data is continuously collected” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,33%: No process performance indicators defined
  • 14,00%: Disagree
  • 18,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 42,67%: Agree
Process performance data is continuously collected.

Process performance data is continuously collected.

Measuring process performance without reacting on poor performance stresses resources, but does not lead to any improvements. Most firms which defined process performance indicators also initiate improvement actions if process performance is poor. The item “Improvement actions are actually initiated if poor process performance is encountered” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,33%: No process performance indicators defined
  • 9,33%: Disagree
  • 24,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 40,67%: Agree
Improvement actions are actually initiated if poor process performance is encountered.

Improvement actions are actually initiated if poor process performance is encountered.

Process workers who know the performance of the business process are able to timely react on bad performance. Most organizations which defined process performance indicators also make the data available to process performers. The item “Process metrics are periodically presented to process performers (for e.g. awareness and motivation)” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,33%: No process performance indicators defined
  • 18,00%: Disagree
  • 22,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 34,67%: Agree
Process metrics are periodically presented to process performers (for e.g. awareness and motivation).

Process metrics are periodically presented to process performers (for e.g. awareness and motivation).

Process benchmarking uses business processes as comparison units and aims to identify best operating practices (Delpachitra and Beal, 2002). The results of the survey reveal that process benchmarking is infrequently used by organizations. The item “Process benchmarking (for several processes) is carried out in the organization” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,68%: No process performance indicators defined
  • 37,84%: Disagree
  • 29,73%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 6,76%: Agree
Process benchmarking (for several processes) is carried out in the organization.

Process benchmarking (for several processes) is carried out in the organization.

Activity based costing captures costs horizontally in line with business processes (Hinterhuber, 1995). The results of the study reveal that activity based costing is rarely used by organizations. The item “Activity-based costing is comprehensively applied in the organization.” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,50%: No process performance indicators defined
  • 45,64%: Disagree
  • 21,48%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 7,38%: Agree

Activity-based costing is comprehensively applied in the organization.

Activity-based costing is comprehensively applied in the organization.


Survey on Process Management: The Role of the Process Owner

The existence of process owners is the most visible difference between a process enterprise and a traditional organization (Hammer and Stanton, 1999). This article discusses the issue of the process owner role of the process management survey. Details on the survey (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

A business process needs to have a process owner having end to end responsibility of the process (Suter, 2009). The results of the survey show that the role of the process owner is established in most of the firms (see figures below). It is worth mentioning that 28% of the surveyed firms state that the role of the process owner does not exist.

The item “The role of the process owner is established in our organization and a process owner has been assigned to each business process” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 28%: Disagree
  • 16%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 56%: Agree

A process owner needs to have leadership experience (Schmelzer and Sesselmann, 2006). The results of the survey reveal that most of the firms which implemented the process owner role have assigned experienced leaders/managers to this role. The item “Process owners are experienced leaders/managers was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 22,67%: Role of process owner does not exist
  • 8,00%: Disagree
  • 26,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 43,33%: Agree
Process owners are experienced leaders/managers.

Process owners are experienced leaders/managers.

Process owners have to have the authority to take all measures necessary to coordinate and improve the business process (Hinterhuber, 1995). The item “Process owners are members of the enterprise’s seniormost decision-making body” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 22,67%: Role of process owner does not exist
  • 8,00%: Disagree
  • 21,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 48,00%: Agree
Process owners are members of the enterprise’s seniormost decision-making body.

Process owners are members of the enterprise’s seniormost decision-making body.

An important task of a process owner is the continuous improvement and optimization of the process the owner is responsible for (Schmelzer and Sesselmann, 2006). The item “Process owners are responsible for the continuous improvement of their processes and they perform this task proactively” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 22,67%: Role of process owner does not exist
  • 11,33%: Disagree
  • 34,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 31,33%: Agree
Process owners are responsible for the continuous improvement of their processes and they perform this task proactively.

Process owners are responsible for the continuous improvement of their processes and they perform this task proactively.

In an ideal process-oriented organization, budgeting is done by process instead of by department (Hammer and Stanton, 1999). The item “Process owners take on budgeting responsibility” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 22,82%: Role of process owner does not exist
  • 16,11%: Disagree
  • 24,16%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 36,91%: Agree
Process owners take on budgeting responsibility

Process owners take on budgeting responsibility

Process performance logically depends on the workers executing the actual work within the process. If process owners have influence over personnel assignments, they thereby also have more influence on the performance of the process. The item “Process owners have strong influence over personnel assignments” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 22,67%: Role of process owner does not exist
  • 16,67%: Disagree
  • 22,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 38,67%: Agree
Process owners have strong influence over personnel assignments.

Process owners have strong influence over personnel assignments.

Survey on Process Management: Management Commitment towards Process Management

This article discusses the issue “management commitment towards the process approach” of the process management survey. Details on the survey (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

In most of the firms, management supports the process program (see figures below). It is worth mentioning that about 25% of the firms state that senior executives are not committed to process management.

The item “The management of our organization perceives process management not as a single project, but as a way of managing the business” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 26,17%: Disagree
  • 32,89%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 40,94%: Agree

The item “There is at least one senior executive who has taken leadership of, and responsibility for, the process program” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,33%: Disagree
  • 21,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 53,33%: Agree

The item “The senior executive team is actively engaged in the process program” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 25,50%: Disagree
  • 28,86%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 45,64%: Agree


Survey on Process Management: Definition and Documentation of Business Processes

This article discusses the issue “documentation of business processes” of the process management survey. Details on the survey (research design, sample, etc.) can be found here.

Most firms have defined a complete and uniform enterprise process model. The item “Our firm has developed a complete and uniform enterprise process model illustrating the business processes of the organization” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 22,00%: Disagree
  • 16,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 61,33%: Agree

Most firms document the design of their business processes (and keep the documentation up-to-date). The statement “The business processes of our firm are documented in a sufficiently detailed way” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 15,33%: Disagree
  • 29,33%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 55,33%: Agree

The statement “Process documentation is always timely updated after process design has changed” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 18,00%: Disagree
  • 28,00%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 54,00%: Agree

Most firms have defined inputs, outputs, customers and suppliers of their business processes. The statement “Inputs and outputs of our firm’s processes are clearly defined” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 16,67%: Disagree
  • 36,67%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 46,67%: Agree

The statement “The internal/external customers as well as the internal/external suppliers of our organization’s processes are clearly defined” was rated by the firms in the sample as follows:

  • 13,51%: Disagree
  • 37,16%: Neither agree nor disagree
  • 49,32%: Agree