Publication details

Research in Knowledge-intensive Business Processes: A Structured Literature Review



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Proceedings of IFKAD 2022: Knowledge Drivers for Resilience and Transformation
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Keywords Knowledge-Intensive Business Processes; Knowledge-Intensive Processes; Knowledge-Intensive Firms; Business Process Management; Review
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Description The increased knowledge intensification of work directed the business process management (BPM) research from 'traditional' routine and repetitive business processes to knowledge-intensive business processes (kiBPs). No agreement on universal "kiBPs" definition or conceptualization has been reached, and we have found no attempts to systemize kiBPs research. Therefore, we conducted a structured literature review (SLR) to improve the state of the art. The SLR consisted of three stages: literature search, extracting relevant papers, and content analysis. In the literature search stage, we retrieved peer-reviewed journal papers by applying a search query using "knowledge-intensive business process*" as a topic in Scopus and WoS databases and ended up with an initial sample of 71 papers. Next, the number of papers in the sample was decreased to 28 by applying a series of exclusion criteria. In the content analysis stage, relevant papers were coded to find content related to kiBPs characteristics or topics in kiBPs research. The content analysis allowed us to develop the framework of kiBPs characteristics, which showed that the primary reason for processes to be labelled knowledge-intensive is the uncertainty and unpredictability of their inputs, flows and outputs. Due to uncertainty and unpredictability associated with them, kiBPs strongly rely on knowledge workers and thus are being referred to as decision-oriented, collaborative, creative and innovative. Thus, the structure of kiBPs is being developed only during the process execution, which makes kiBPs goal-oriented rather than structure-oriented. KiBPs characteristics that distinguish them from "traditional" processes directly influence the topics of kiBPs research that were included in the framework of kiBPs research also developed within our study. Uncertainty and unpredictability of kiBPs are being addressed by incorporating knowledge perspective into kiBPs improvement methodologies and lead to multiple studies investigating the influence of knowledge processes on kiBPs performance. The unstructured and decision-oriented nature of kiBPs is being addressed in studies dedicated to kiBPs modelling and case management systems. We see frameworks developed in this study as beneficial for scientific and business communities. The framework of the kiBPs characteristics might serve as a basis for empirical research within the field and show business practitioners which characteristics of kiBPs should be addressed to improve process performance. The framework of the kiBPs research might serve as a starting point for researchers interested in the field and allow business practitioners to identify and elevate constraints in kiBPs management methods.
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