Conference article

Are You Viewing; Mapping or Managing Your Processes?

Andreas Hellström
Division of Quality Sciences, Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden

Henrik Eriksson
Southern Älvsborg Hospital (SÄS), Borås, Sweden

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Published in: 10th QMOD Conference. Quality Management and Organiqatinal Development. Our Dreams of Excellence; 18-20 June; 2007 in Helsingborg; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 26:13, p.

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Published: 2008-02-15


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Recent times have witnessed the emergence of process orientation as a concept for organizational improvement and success in both the private and the public sector. With directed attention towards how value is actually being created within organizations (i.e.; the process) instead of the outcome (i.e.; the product); process orientation has been described as perhaps the most important management idea of the last 20 years (Cole and Scott; 2000). Considering this recognition and the widespread work of process orientation in today’s organisations there is great reason to examine its applications further.

Although management ideas are widely discussed in the management literature; such discussions tend to remain conceptual and there is little attention paid to how they are applied in organizations (Benders; 1999). However; management ideas are generally characterized by a certain degree of conceptual ambiguity. It is therefore difficult to pinpoint their literal meaning (Alänge; Jacobsson et al.; 1998). Because of the tacit nature of management ideas; different interpretations are possible and one idea can be given various meanings due to the subjective perceptions of the members of the organization. It is therefore essential to address these interpretations in research on management ideas since the “impact on organizational practice lies in the first place in its interpretations rather than in its original content” (Benders and van Bijsterveld; 2000 p. 53). Consequently; in order say something about the management ideas’ usefulness; we need to study its application.

In this paper we will present some partial results from a broader study of the perception and experiences of process orientation. In this paper we will address the practitioners’ interpretations of process orientation; and how these interpretations are translated (Czarniawska and Joerges; 1996) into the particular context.

Since it seems reasonable to assume that the inherited interpretative flexibility in process orientation may cause a wide spectrum of different applications of the same original idea; the objective of the present study was to investigate if different applications of process orientation exist and how these are characterised. Furthermore; the objective was to investigate how the applications of process orientation relate to the line organization.

In addressing these questions we hope to shed light on different applications of process orientation and contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the field of process orientation.


Process orientation; interpretation; application; health care; Sweden


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