“Leaders must nurture and encourage internal and external stakeholders to achieve the desired change”(Peter Homa 1995). All levels of management providing a cohesive and honest approach to the potential radical changes assist in the positive outcome of Business Process Re-engineering. A leader is only powerful insofar as he or she can bring about change through staff. “The true benefit of Business Process Re-engineering if implemented successfully will be in the human element, or the people, and not solely processes”(Campbell and Kliener 1997).
With significant investment and plentiful time assembling re-engineering teams to undertake initial process analysis, redesign and subsequent implementation reaps bountiful rewards. The key point remains similar throughout the supporters of Business Process Re-engineering – people and their morale should be the first consideration prior to embarking on this business transformation. Negative In the main Business Process Re-engineering is often perceived as a way of downsizing. Justification for laying off thousands of perfectly capable people.
Dependant on the way it is designed and introduced within the organisation it can neglect the employee’s opinions to the point where it can actually produce a negative impact, often brought about by the very employees it was designed to assist. This was evident in a number of financial companies researched following their attempt at Business Process Re-engineering. Companies utilising an autocratic approach to Business Process Re-engineering tend to exclude their employees from the early new system designs often resulting in pervasive job insecurity and high levels of stress.
The relatively high levels of disparity between senior, local and supervisory management can and do have a detrimental effect on moral and motivation. One company studied had “promoted its organisation as a “team” whilst simultaneously imposing a pay freeze, despite substantial profits being made”(McCabe and Knights 2000). There are suggestions that many Business Process Re-engineering projects fail purely down to the lack of emphasis that is put on the human behavioural factors. Humans react to change in organization structure with high levels of stress.
“The fear of personal loss, uncertainty and loss of control are the specific factors that contribute to these stresses”(Campbell ; Kleiner 1997). Some case studies concentrate on process improvement or process simplification, almost a part of Business Process Re-engineering without taking on the whole concept in the hope that any change, no matter how significant will aid improvements. This is largely due to the length of time proper research takes together with the already mentioned subsequent investment prior to seeing any tangible results.
Business Process Re-engineering may also be seen as yet another management ‘fad’, a way for management to assign a name for even more change. This largely depends on the organisation and it’s history of embracing other ‘fads’ and seeing them through. Perhaps an organisation whom had previously adopted a total quality management approach may find it easier and less costly to adapt some of the learning’s of TQM “one study contended that TQM had fallen on hard times because of,( …… ) high costs of overheads, too much bureaucracy, and cumbersome processes” (Jane Gibson 2001).
Whilst the similarities appear many Business Process Re-engineering does allow for processes to be reengineered in a more singular fashion, allowing for validation of effectiveness prior to embarking on the next costly review of a process. The content of this essay yet again demonstrates no clear argument for or against Business Process Re-engineering. What it does is highlight the potential for an aggressive yet effective probe into any organisation and its basic functions in order to promote improvements, to the benefit of internal and external customers of the said organisation whilst increasing profits.
It also emphasises the importance of people, their interpretations, their moods and their actions in promoting the desired outcome. To say that Business Process Re-engineering can die in it’s formative stage dependant on the buy-in from every level of the organisation would appear to be true. At any stage throughout the process losing the belief of the people implementing it could mean the organisation faces not only a costly and perhaps ineffective change but the loss of morale could in fact adversely affect the company’s bottom line.