Jan Mendling

How to Evaluate Business Process Management Research as Formal Science, Behavioural Science and Design Science?

Speaker Biography

Jan MendlingProf. Dr. Jan Mendling is a Full Professor with the Institute for Information Business at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU Vienna), Austria. His research interests include various topics in the area of business process management and information systems. He has published more than 250 research papers and articles, among others in ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, IEEE Transaction on Software Engineering, Information Systems, Data & Knowledge Engineering, and Decision Support Systems. He is member of the editorial board of seven international journals, member of the board of the Austrian Society for Process Management (http://prozesse.at), one of the founders of the Berlin BPM Community of Practice (http://www.bpmb.de), organizer of several academic events on process management, and member of the IEEE Task Force on Process Mining. His Ph.D. thesis has won the Heinz-Zemanek-Award of the Austrian Computer Society and the German Targion-Award for dissertations in the area of strategic information management.

Goal and Objectives

The tutorial has the general goal to help to improve the effective usage of research methods in the area of business process management. To this end, it provides an overview of different research methods for conducting BPM research. The basis for this overview is the recent article by the tutorial presenters on research published in the BPM conference proceedings. Three different angles on BPM research are distinguished: formal science, behavioural science and design science. For each of these areas, we summarize and illustrate how important research methods can be applied according to recent standards.

Teaching Method

The tutorial builds on an interactive teaching design. We will present the major parts of the tutorial with slides. In order to activate the audience and to stimulate interaction with the audience, we will use examples and various short quizzes. It is not our ambition to indoctrinate the audience with the details of the procedure of the respective research methods, but to create awareness for (1) the merits of the methods and (2) to provide pointers to most recent standards of how to conduct them.

Structure of Content

The tutorial is divided into four blocks of 20 minutes each. 10 Minutes are kept as a buffer for questions and discussions at any stage of the tutorial. Each block focusses on one specific question in the following way:

  • What is the current state of the art in business process management research? This part summarizes current research on business process management and describes which research methods are used and which have received less attention. We will make the point that conducting research according to a formal science paradigm is well established and that research methods from behavioural science and from design science can be adopted to a greater extent based on established standards from neighboring disciplines.
  • How to evaluate BPM research as formal science? This part focusses on the way how formal methods are utilized in the BPM community. We will summarize established practices and give guidance on when and how to formalize research problems.
  • How to evaluate BPM research as behavioural science? This part focusses on the way how behavioural methods can be further adopted in the BPM community. We will describe standards for conducting such research according to standards from the information systems field and from empirical software engineering.
  • How to evaluate BPM research as design science? This part focusses on the way how design science can be used to frame BPM research problems. We will describe standards on algorithm engineering from the theoretical computer science domain as a way to structure engineering research in our community.



The material of this tutorial builds on content that has recently been accepted and is about to be published in an article of Business & Information Systems Engineering (BISE): Recker, J., Mendling, J. (2016): The State-of-the-Art of Business Process Management Research as Published in the BPM conference: Recommendations for Progressing the Field. Business & Information Systems Engineering. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12599-015-0411-3.