Systemic Structuring of Factors Affecting the Agility of Business Processes

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 PhD candidate, Faculty of Management and Economics, Imam Hossein University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Management and Economics, Imam Hossein University, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

Introduction: Today, organizations experience complex and unpredictable changes and crises. In this environment, achieving innovation and optimal conditions in complex settings necessitates moving towards flexible and agile solutions. One crucial area for improvement in business process management is enhancing agility in business processes under dynamic and complex conditions. The main goal of this study is to systematically structure the issue of agility in business processes, with a key requirement being the use of soft operations research approaches to address the problem systematically.
Methods: In this research, the meta-combination technique was first employed, followed by semi-structured interviews with 18 experts, including university professors and practitioners in process management and individuals with experience in improving work systems and processes across various organizations. These experts were selected through a targeted non-random and snowball sampling method. The ISM (Interpretive Structural Modeling) approach was then used to elucidate the communication pattern of managing agile organizational processes, and data were collected via a questionnaire. Finally, the collected data were analyzed using the Interpretive Rating Process (IRP).
Results and discussion: Based on the responses to the research questions, an initial framework of 17 main variables was developed after synthesizing the data through interactions with experts. The components of the proposed framework include:
- System Enablers: Appropriate culture, process leadership, process governance, skilled human resources, technological infrastructure, and organizational structure.
- System Capabilities: Strategy-making based on improvisation, creative stability, dynamic adaptability, organizational learning, and environmental understanding.
- Basic Actions and Measures: Continuous process control and monitoring, process quality management, integration of knowledge management with organizational processes, and enhancing the efficiency of process management life cycle components.
- System Outcomes: Improvement of quantitative and qualitative indicators.
According to the ISM conceptual framework, the enabling and capability indicators were classified into four levels. The indicators were then prioritized using the IRP method. The findings highlighted that the technology infrastructure component is a critical enabler at the highest level. Information technology influences all variables, including process culture, human resources, and appropriate organizational structure. It fosters a learning and transformation spirit, teamwork, and collaboration, facilitating continuous employee growth. Additionally, process leadership was identified as the top priority according to the IRP findings.
Conclusions: The results indicate that IT infrastructure should be considered a significant variable in the agility system of business processes. Moreover, considering the external performance variables expected from implementing an agile system in process management, process leadership dominates the technology infrastructure enabler based on all expected performance variables (except gaining a competitive advantage). Therefore, organizations aiming to enhance agility in their process management system should prioritize process leadership characteristics. Following this, the results show that environmental awareness, knowledgeable and competent human resources, organizational learning dimension, contingent and appropriate structures, governance, improvisation-based strategy-making, technological infrastructure, dynamic adaptation, culture, and creative sustainability should be considered in order of priority.

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