Business Process Management

Cite this article as:"Business Process Management," in The Business Professor, updated April 21, 2020, last accessed October 23, 2020,

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What is Business Process Management?

Process management is the coordination of activities and processes within an organization. Managers organize and schedule these activities in accordance with the organizational structure and assign them to individuals or work teams. The process for coordinating activities generally falls into two categories:

  • Functional Approach (functional management) – The functional approach to organization is pursuant to skills and work specialization. This allows for the traditional hierarchical organizational structure. It also involves breaking work tasks down to their implies form for ease of completion by unskilled workers. This approach was first theorized by Economist Adam Smith and his principles concerning the efficient division of labor.
  • Procedural Approach (process management) – This approach focuses on creating processes or systems for the flow of activities across the organization. The arrangement of activities is focused on the horizontal flow of activities rather than the vertical (top-down) functional approach. This approach is facilitated by technological innovations and advancements in process engineering. This approach is akin to process optimization.

What are some common methods of process analysis?

Researchers and practitioners use numerous analytical techniques and methodologies to identify and analyze activity processes. Some common methods include:

  • ARIS Methodology (prof. A.W. Scheer)
  • IDEF3 Methodology
  • Time slides

What are some common process improvement methods?

Process improvement approaches are divided into methods of:

  • Step improvement – Carried out as business process reengineering (BPR).
    • Reengineering by M. Hammer, J.Champy
    • Reengineering by T. Davenport
    • Reengineering – Kodak Methodology
  • Process improvement or change – Carried out as a business process redesign.
    • PPP (Participatory Process Prototyping) – Gappmaier
  • Continuous Process Improvement – Based on theories of quality management.

All methods typically use one of the methodologies for process analysis and for the analyzed processes, then apply the appropriate form of improvement.

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