Jon Husband has an excellent post on work design. Here’s a taster:
companies the world over have expended tens, scores if not hundreds of millions of dollars on large integrated systems that have required the design of long large and tightly designed work processes … followed by the pouring of *electronic concrete* over these work processes, in the form of the large integrated systems.
I think that processes are good and useful, leading to the standardization of work and the delivery of increased product and service quality in many instances.
I also think that standardization and the fitting of work process to the requirements of integrated information systems have also led to significant rigidities in the face of boisterous, interacting, demanding individual human beings … rendering all too many of us *prisoners* of some companies’ business processes, whether we are workers who struggle with an internal-to-the-company boa constrictor of exceptions and constraints, or customers who are left to fend with a system that won’t let their needs or desires be met in appropriate or sensible ways.