Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


Although researchers have considered process integration in some detail, describing it using expressions such as tight coordination among activities, standardization and tight coupling, operating as a whole, etc., we lack an operational measure. Aubert, Vandenbosch and Mignerat (2003) proposed a formal definition of process integration as the sum of efforts expended by the receiving activities of a process to achieve access, transparency, granularity and timeliness of goods and data, relative to the total value added by the process. In other words, the fewer steps and handoffs and the smaller the physical distance in a process, the greater its integration. To test their proposal, we undertook 42 on-site interviews to understand the degree of integration of ten information processes in four industries. We found that the four properties are collectively exhaustive, but fail the test of mutual exclusivity. In order to differentiate among them, it is necessary to uncover instances of information transformation (granularity and transparency) before looking for needless information transfer (accessibility and timeliness).The degree of integration of the ten processes ranged from 9 percent to 81 percent. Accessibility was the most common reason for a lack of process integration and re-keying known data was the major activity undertaken to make information more accessible. A great deal of the re-keying was for documentation purposes. More research is necessary to understand the purpose and value of documentation vis-Ã -vis the real work accomplished in information processes.