In spite of significant prior work, few scholars have addressed the unique problems of business process modelling in humanitarian settings. We surface and explore these challenges by treating the ‘guest intake process’ at homeless shelters as an exemplar. In most cities, the homeless shelters are a part of the ecosystem of care that includes hospitals, training agencies, housing agencies and others to support homeless individuals. The exemplar we have chosen represents the first line of defence for the homeless guests: the Intake practice at a homeless shelter, a process that remains fairly knowledge-intensive. Our work follows a collaborative research approach, working with the largest homeless shelter in the region. We conduct observations and interviews at the shelter to construct process models with the Petri Net formalism, followed by analytical experimentation. Lessons learned from the work are compared against prior research in modelling of knowledge-intensive processes. We find that process modelling in humanitarian settings such as homelessness remains fraught with problems. We identify new directions, where prior work in knowledge-intensive processes may require extensions in response to the unique nature of work in humanitarian settings. The paper elaborates these findings, illustrates with authentic examples, and outlines possibilities for future research and implications for practice
Purao, Sandeep and Garfield, Monica, "Process Modeling in Humanitarian Settings: A Case Study and Lessons Learned" (2020). In Proceedings of the 28th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), An Online AIS Conference, June 15-17, 2020.
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