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business process re-engineering

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An approach to the restructuring of organizations that seeks to introduce a fundamental and radical reassessment of the organizational processes. Rather than adjusting or improving on existing methods, BPR asks what the organization is trying to achieve, what are its core processes, and what are its predominant competencies. Based on the answers to these questions, it attempts to plan the most efficient, effective, and direct ways of achieving these ends. It has been argued that BPR simply updates the aims and techniques of method study; however, while the underlying principles may be the same, the potential of the BPR approach can be significantly enhanced by the use of information technology. Multiple-access databases, local area networks, etc., allow parallel and simultaneous processing of tasks that would have been performed sequentially in traditional systems. This, in turn, permits much closer links between those who use the outputs from processes and those who produce the outputs. Modern technology also enables information to be shared across functions as well as geographically, so that organizational learning takes place more rapidly and more uniformly. However, experience shows that radical process innovation of this kind can be difficult to implement in practice, not least because of employee resistance. Employees may be concerned about losing their jobs, which will affect morale.

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