Process Descriptions as Organisational Accounting Devices: The Dual Use of Workflow Technologies
Association for Computing Machinery
Workflow technologies present a problem for CSCW. On the one hand, they are perhaps the most successful form of groupware technology in current use; but on the other, they have been subject to sustained and cogent critiques, particularly from perspective of the analysis of everyday working activities. This leads inevitably to the question: in the face of these critiques, just why and how do work-flow technologies prove effective? This paper suggests that part of the solution lies in the fact that workflow technologies play more than one role in organisations, and that, in fact, the success of work flow technologies may have little to do with the typical relationship of those technologies to the accomplishment of everyday work. On the basis of the notion of a dual role for workflow technologies, I lay out a framework for considering the design and analysis of workflow systems that may help to bridge between these two roles.