IFN515 – Fundamentals of Business Process Management
WEEK ONE: Dubious foundations with a glib approach
The most conspicuous absence in the introductory lecture and readings has been any mention of enterprise architecture as the overarching strategic discipline in process modelling, implementation, and management.
Instead we are presented with a standalone conception rooted in the work of the late Michael Hammer (13 April 1948 – 3 Sept 2008), whose 1990 Harvard Business Review essay ‘Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate’ is an ode to ‘Chainsaw’ Al Dunlap, the Wall Street buccaneers that adored him, and ultimately to the ascendant plutocratic orthodoxy that has manipulated economic policy in the USA since the 1980s.
Hammer’s thrust appeared to be quite rational: re-align business processes with customers to create greater value by cutting waste, flattening hierarchies, reducing human interventions, and ultimately getting rid of jobs through the automation his headline seemed to steer clear of.
No doubt American corporations couldn’t compete possessing bloated management structures and dated processes against the sharp and hive-like Japanese corporations which treated all employees as dehumanised worker ants.
But as has been remarked so often elsewhere, most notably by Henry Mintzberg, this kind of management ‘rationalisation’ really only led to dehumanisation and some short-term turnarounds that weren’t longitudinally recognised as competitive advantage for lack of strategic vision.