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The research that is going to be analyzed and presented in the paper at hand is called “Which Cultural Values Matter to Business Process Management? Results from Global Delphi Study” written by Theresa Schmiedel and Jan vom Brocke. The authors claim that effective Business Process Management (BPM) is impossible if the culture of an organization is neglected. Their research is motivated by the fact that culture-related peculiarities of BPM as well as characteristics of organizational culture that would support BPM were never studied extensively and profoundly. Thus, the authors come out with four cultural values and examine their relationships.
Business Process Management (BPM) is the area devoted to innovation of business practices aimed to boost organizational performance. However, despite the fact that a lot of organizations across the globe have already adopted advanced BMP initiatives, the research on the topic has always been limited to technological aspects. The authors of the research under consideration claim that a comprehensive approach is required to encompass personal and cultural factors, which are no less important for business success. Scarce studies addressing organizational culture are typically devoted to cultural barriers that have to be overcome due to BMP implementation. The present research takes another perspective, trying to identify what kind of culture is favorable for BPM.
Although the concept of BPM culture has been applied in the related literature, its definition remains rather vague. The majority of researchers agree that this kind of culture should encompass an organization-specific set of values that support successful implementation of BPM. Yet, there is no empirical evidence that would prove that certain values can be unquestionably referred to BMP culture. Therefore, the problem to be resolved is an unclear nature of the concept widely implemented by various businesses.
Objectives and Hypothesis
The paper hypothesizes that there is a particular set of cultural values that taken together create a favorable environment for introducing BPM. The following objectives can be identified:
- to bridge the existing research gap as per the lack of practical analysis of the impact of cultural values on BPM;
- to examine the theoretical basis of BPM culture (using a global Delphi study);
- to obtain general understanding of BPM as a global approach;
- to incorporate the authors’ personal understanding of the issue;
- to explain the selected methodological approach;
- to discuss the findings, comparing them to the presently available literature on the topic;
- to identify what implications the results of the study will have both for further research and practical implementation.
For the purpose of their research, the authors selected the Delphi study method, which relies on a series of questionnaires with controlled feedback in order to collect expert opinions. This technique intends to predict both identification and development of this or that concept. The choice is therefore explained by the fact that this methodology makes it easier to structure group communication on a complex topic, balance diverse opinions, and gain deeper understanding of the problem.
The researchers selected two expert groups (academic and practical) to include both perspectives and avoid biasing. The first group was required to have a PhD and possess profound knowledge on the topic of BPM. Practitioners, in their turn, had to hold one of the key roles in BPM initiatives.
As a result of the applied empirical Delphi study, four cultural values constructing BPM were identified. They included excellence, customer focus, teamwork, and responsibility. Several stages were required to determine these values. Initially, individual responses of each of the participants were collected and validated. Second, they tried to reach consensus on the selected values.
At the third stage, eight values were further discussed since there were numerous problems connected with the list (overlapping concepts, non-reference to values, too broad definitions, etc.). When compromise was found and all the values were revised, six condensed values were left for the 4th stage. The selection procedure repeated through rounds 4 and 5 until all ambiguities were removed. The resulting 4 values include:
- Customer orientation (responsive attitude to customers’ needs);
- Excellence (continuous improvement and advancement);
- Responsibility (accountability and commitment);
- Teamwork (cross-functional interaction and collaboration of team members).
Conclusions and Implications
The authors state that their work allowed them to identify four major culture-supportive values that lie in the basis of BPM culture. These are teamwork, excellence, customer orientation, and responsibility. Thus, they drew the following conclusions:
- There are four values that compose BPM, complementing to one another.
- It is typical of practitioners to see them as overlapping or even competing.
- Institutionalization of the values is needed for effective BPM introduction.
The outcomes obtained may contribute to future studies in the field that would provide a more profound analysis of each concept. As far as practical implications are concerned, determining the core values allows developing a tool that would be able to assess if the current organizational context is capable of answering BPM needs. As a result, measures to improve BPM culture can be taken.