The market, technological and industry context of business process re-engineering in the UK

Arthur Francis, Robert Macintosh

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Attempts to contextualize the current high level of interest in business process re-engineering (BPR) in UK business and industry. Reviews a number of surveys of UK business involvement with BPR and suggests long-term secular trends in the business environment of Western firms that seem likely to have encouraged its use. Presents a brief history of the development of BPR to date, examining some of the seminal works on BPR and highlighting the major debates currently found in the literature. Examines the novelty of BPR in relation to other, more established, management approaches, with particular emphasis on the similarities and differences between total quality management and BPR. From case studies reported by UK businesses in the literature and popular press, concludes that: a large number of applications are found in the financial services sector; there is a notable absence of BPR case studies in SMEs; and there is a lack of information available about the failure rates of BPR projects in UK businesses. Identifies several areas where further research is required. Concludes that BPR addresses the need for established enterprises to move to a new organizational paradigm, from one focused on functions to one focused on processes. This need to change has been brought about by the advancing capabilities of information technology, increased levels of competition, the increasing sophistication of consumers and the threats posed by new entrants who have already adopted radically different modes of operation. Since these forces for change appear to be long-run tendencies in developed economies, BPR cannot be viewed as a passing fad.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)344-364
    JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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