An Integrated University Course


Business Process Management and Routine Dynamics are two research streams that study the same phenomenon: repetitive and recurrent sequences of actions and events enacted to accomplish certain tasks in and for organizations. However, these two research streams have different assumptions when they study processes. In business process management, one assumption is that a well-designed process is easier to manage. Emphasis is given to how process work can be designed well so that the process runs in a stable, standardized manner. Research on routine dynamics, in contrast, focuses on dynamics and change in processes: it tries to identify and explain dynamics, not necessarily manage or mitigate them.

Design, stability, dynamics and change are equally important to understand and manage organizational processes. Therefore this website presents a university course that systematically integrates business process management and routine dynamics research. The underlying intention is to attune university students to the–sometimes subtle–dialectics between stability and change that characterize business processes. Being aware of design as well as dynamics enables them to make effective and considerate decisions when they manage business processes in their future career. We developed, taught, and evaluated two course designs that reflect different needs of business process management students. All materials can be downloaded and used for free.

We also developed complementary readings that take different perspectives on business process management and routine dynamics. A description of both courses and the suggested reading list can be found in Grisold et al. 2022.

The materials we present here originate from a research project that has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union (“BPM and Organizational Theory: An Integrated Reference Curriculum Design”). It reflects joint research activities by the University of Liechtenstein, Vienna University of Economics and Business, the University of Cologne and Radboud University.


Course Design #1


Course design #1 is directed at students who have little to no prior knowledge about business process management. It embarks on the premise that BPM and RD are complementary to one another but taken together, they offer more comprehensive insights on how organizational processes can be investigated, described, and changed. To highlight the complementarity, but also the differences, among both streams of process work, the course is roughly divided into three parts.

The first part focuses on the phases of process identification and process discovery of the Business Process Management lifecycle. This also comprises basic and advanced process modeling with Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN). In the second part, students are introduced to principles of ethnographic fieldwork and they learn how they can use process mining to make organizational processes visible. The third part of the course emphasizes the inherent dynamics in process work and specifically discusses the role of information technology in the interplay of stability and change. Each lecture is accompanied by exercises and reflection questions.



Course Design #2


This course design is directed at students who have advanced knowledge about BPM and wish to learn a different, complementary perspective. It introduces strong process theory as the ontological background of routine dynamics research, which embraces the idea that we live in a world that is constantly changing and evolving. It uses this theory to reflect on the underlying assumptions of business process management and uses findings from routine dynamics research in terms of empirically grounded phenomena, such as learning and coordination in business process work, to coalesce both paradigms. This course design involves several practical exercises that encourage students to translate implications from routine dynamics research into concrete managerial actions and strategies.



Complementary readings

The following articles shed light on the connection between business process management and routine dynamics and can be used as complementary readings.

All articles are published or accepted for publication and available open access under the following links.


Description of the University Courses and Recommendations for Teaching:

Grisold et al. (2022). Managing Process Dynamics in aManaging Process Dynamics in a Digital World: Integrating Business Process Management and Routine Dynamics in IS Curricula. Communications of the Association for Information Systems (forthcoming).


Connecting BPM and Routine Dynamics:

Wurm et al. (2021). BPM and Routine Dynamics. In: Cambridge Handbook of Routine Dynamics.

vom Brocke et al. (2021). Process Science: The Interdisciplinary Study of Continuous Change. Published in SSRN Electronic Library.


Impact of digital technologies on organizing:

Grisold et al. (2021). Adoption, Use and Management of Process Mining in Practice. Business Process Management Journal, 27(2), 369-387.

Pentland et al. (2022). From Lock-In to Transformation: A Path-Centric Theory of Emerging Technology and Organizing. Organization Science, 33(1), 194-211.


New forms of work:

Kremser & Xiao (2021). Self-Managed Forms of Organizing and Routine Dynamics. In: Cambridge Handbook of Routine Dynamics.

Grisold et al. (2021). Coding Like a Rockstar: The Role of Social Influence on Action Patterns in GitHub. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2021).


Context-sensitive business process management:

Weber et al. (2021). Context-aware Business Process Modeling – Empirical Insights From a Project with a Globally Operating Company. In: Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2021).

vom Brocke et al. (2021). A Matrix for Context-Aware Business Process Management: Empirical Evidence from Hilti. In: Proceedings of International Conference on Business Process Management.

Project Team

Thomas Grisold

University of Liechtenstein

Jan vom Brocke

University of Liechtenstein

Waldemar Kremser

Radboud University

Jan Mendling

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Jan Recker

University of Hamburg

Bastian Wurm

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Project Advisor

Brian Pentland

Michigan State University