The management of master data (MDM) plays an important role for companies in responding to a number of business drivers such as regulatory compliance and efficient reporting. With the understanding of MDM’s impact on the business drivers companies are today in the process of organizing MDM on corporate level. While managing master data is an organizational task that cannot be encountered by simply implementing a software system, business processes are necessary to meet the challenges efficiently. This paper describes the design process of a reference process model for MDM. The model design process spanned several iterations comprising multiple design and evaluation cycles, including the model’s application in three participative case studies. Practitioners may use the reference model as an instrument for the analysis and design of MDM processes. From a scientific perspective, the reference model is a design artifact that represents an abstraction of processes in the field of MDM.