Information systems need to be understood contextually. Such contextual understanding can be gained by considering the role of information systems in business processes. Business processes and information systems are however two notions that there resolves a lot of debate around. In order to arrive at an integral understanding of business processes and information systems there is a need for common basis. In this paper some characteristics of process-oriented information systems are developed. These characteristics are based upon socio-instrumental actions as the basic unit of analysis for information systems and business processes.