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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Improving Work Autonomy in Workflow Systems: A Configuration Choice

Improving Work Autonomy in Workflow Systems: A Configuration Choice
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Author(s): Irene Vanderfeesten (Technishe Universiteit Eindhoven, The Netherlands)and Hajo A. Reijers (Technishe Universiteit Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 4
Source title: Managing Worldwide Operations and Communications with Information Technology
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-929-8.ch036
ISBN13: 9781599049298
EISBN13: 9781466665378


Despite their great potential and wide industrial use, workflow management systems have generated substantial controversy. While some believe that the technology relieves office workers from simple coordination work, others fear that Tayloristic work principles have re-entered the work floor. This paper builds on the assumption that workflow management systems provide a wealth of configuration options, which can be used either to increase or decrease the autonomy of end-users and, hence, their job satisfaction and productivity. A fine-grained model of work distribution is proposed, which is used to clarify how actual configuration decisions in this context are expected to impact on work autonomy. Using this model, a case study into the configuration of a small set of industrial workflow implementations has taken place. It shows that actual configuration choices tend to restrict end-users in their autonomy, although different configurations seem feasible. Companies employing this technology should become aware of the opportunities to make their workflow implementations more attractive for end-users to work with.

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