A layered approach for actor modelling in business processes

C. Natschläger, V. Geist. A layered approach for actor modelling in business processes. Business Process Management Journal, volume 19, number 6, pages 917-932, 8, 2013.

  • Christine Natschläger
  • Verena Geist
JournalBusiness Process Management Journal

Purpose – A major problem of business process modelling languages that primarily express the flow of activities is the limited support for actor modelling provided by rigid swimlane concepts. Thus, the aim of this work is to present a general approach for actor modelling in business processes that supports different layers of abstraction, thereby increasing the expressiveness and avoiding inaccuracy and redundancy. Design/methodology/approach – The proposed actor modelling approach supports task-based assignment of actors and roles based on deontic logic and speech act theory. The semantics of the approach is formally specified based on Abstract State Machines (ASMs). Findings – The new approach for actor modelling is more expressive and provides the possibility to reduce the structural complexity of the process flow as shown by a case study and a comparison of an ordinary business process modelling approach using swimlanes and the actor modelling approach based on the Workflow Resource Patterns. In particular, the evaluation showed that important patterns such as Separation of Duties and Retain Familiar are only supported by the actor modelling approach. Research limitations/implications – The research is to some degree in the context of the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) as a representative of a business process modelling language using swimlanes. Originality/value – Different gradations concerning the extent to which actor modelling is supported make the new approach outstanding for modelling activities, actors, and constraints in an expressive and legible way.