'Second Generation' process thinking: a case study from UK financial services
Maull, Roger S.
University of Exeter
University of Exeter Business School
This paper traces the emergence of 'second generation' process thinking in a large UK Bank. In common with many companies, the bank had vigorously embraced the BPR revolution in the early 1990s, only to find the targeted benefits elusive and new challenges take priority. More recently, process has re-emerged as a force within the bank. This time however, the focus is not on radical change, but a more mature and sustained programme of 'end to end' process management. As part of the new drive, a collaborative research exercise was launched to develop a generic model for measuring the effectiveness of Business Process Management (BPM). A synthesis of current research was used to identify the key dimensions of BPM and translate them into a robust measurement instrument. Following an initial pilot, a comprehensive process audit was carried out. The findings recognised that the Bank had developed a strong process infrastructure, but found deployment limited with an ongoing focus on local performance rather than full 'end to end' management. The findings were presented to the management team and used to develop a process improvement programme, focusing on rapid deployment and enhanced communication. As such, the research demonstrates the compatibility of developing theory with the delivery of practical value to business managers. The paper concludes that there is evidence of new process thinking and invites researchers to monitor its future development and impact on the business community.
Paper presented at British Academy of Management Conference, Harrogate, 2003.