A Hybrid Interactive Modelling Approach to Flexible Process Support

  • Kevin Finch

Student thesis: Phd


Process support is a core organisational competence which aims to help people plan and perform their work. This thesis addresses process support for Emergent Knowledge Processes (EKP). EKP can be characterised by human-orientation, emerging domain requirements, compliance requirements and dispersed participants/stakeholders.Current Process Aware Information Systems (PAIS) do not meet several important support requirements of EKP. Addressing these requirements will create business value. Through a Design Science (Hevner, March et al. 2004) research approach, this thesis addresses that problem. An approach to support EKP is conceptualised and implemented. The main contribution is a prescriptive framework. The framework consists of four components; interactive modelling, a combination of procedural and declarative models, flexible model management and real-time collaborative working. Interactive modelling is an approach to flexible process support where users create, adapt, analyse and enact visual models of their work processes. Underpinning the interactive modelling approach are both procedural and declarative models. Declarative models capture organisational rules. Procedural task-based models capture actual plans of work. Procedural models must comply with the rules established in the declarative models. Flexible model management and real-time collaboration support offer a cooperative working and knowledge management environment for interactive modelling.The conceptual design ideas have been realised in an academic software prototype. A Web-based groupware application, D2P, was developed as a "plug-in‟ for the collaborative, Web-based modelling environment PowerMeeting. It is shown how Web technology can be leveraged for collaborative process support. A contribution is made through further demonstration of the applicability of Web-based solutions for professional, process related business requirements.As a final contribution, the results of a usability study demonstrate the usability of the D2P and PowerMeeting tools. Empirical evidence in the form of results from a usability study and user questionnaire confirmed that semi-skilled users with a small amount of training can activate the concepts and tools which make up the approach. Of particular importance is the demonstration of the usability of the less familiar declarative modelling paradigm. Scenarios are also provided to demonstrate the applicability of the approach.
Date of Award31 Dec 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorWeigang Wang (Supervisor) & Nadia Papamichail (Supervisor)


  • Flexible Process Support
  • Collaberation

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