Business process management: a review and evaluation




Business process


a review and evaluation

R.G. Lee and B.G. Dale

Manchester School of Management, UMIST, Manchester, UK


Business excellence models, self assessment and policy deployment amongst

other methodologies, help companies to identify areas for improvement. These

help to define and communicate objectives and strategies and once this has

been done the job of achieving improvement begins. “Process” orientation is

embodied in the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) Models for Business

Excellence and Performance and there have been many terms used for this

approach to the study of processes, including “process simplification”, “process

improvement”, “process re-engineering” and “process redesign”. However,

Elzingaet al . (1995) propose that:

Many companies are engaged in assessing ways in which their productivity, product quality,

and operations can be improved. A relatively new area of such improvements is business

process management (BPM).

DeToro and McCabe (1997) argue that BPM is “re-emerging” rather than a

relatively new area but they agree with Elzingaet al. (1995) and Corrigan (1996)

that BPM incorporates the approaches indicated above and that:

There is renewed appreciation that no one performance improvement path meets every need

and a combination of these paths is required.

Until recently most attention in the “process arena” has been focused on

business process re-engineering (BPR) as described by Hammer (1990),

Davenport (1993), and Hammer and Champy (1993). Despite BPR being eagerly

embraced by many organisations it has failed to deliver the expected results,

according to writers such as Harrington (1998), Malhorta (1996), Mumford and

Hendrick (1996), and Deakins and Makgill (1997). Huffman (1997) makes the


Organisations advocate a particular improvement strategy to the extent that it becomes the

strategy of choice, de-emphasising or excluding all others. This need not, and must not,

happen. A variety of approaches, techniques, and tools are available for improving products,

systems, processes and activities.

To this end, BPM is an approach that “presents a more comprehensive array of

improvement options” and can help organisations “avoid the tendency to fall

prey to the hype of a new management fad” (DeToro and McCabe, 1997).

Armisteadet al . (1997) say the drivers for adopting BPM are:

Business Process Management

Journal, Vol. 4 No. 3, 1998,

pp. 214-225. © MCB University

Press, 1463-7154

Similar articles: