Linguistic Refactoring of Business Process Models

Fabian Pittke

Publication: ThesisDoctoral thesis

31 Downloads (Pure)


In the past decades, organizations had to face numerous challenges due to intensifying globalization and internationalization, shorter innovation cycles and growing IT support for business. Business process management is seen as a comprehensive approach to align business strategy, organization, controlling, and business activities to react flexibly to market changes. For this purpose, business process models are increasingly utilized to document and redesign relevant parts of the organization's business operations. Since companies tend to have a growing number of business process models stored in a process model repository, analysis techniques are required that assess the quality of these process models in an automatic fashion. While available techniques can easily check the formal content of a process model, there are only a few techniques available that analyze the natural language content of a process model. Therefore, techniques are required that address linguistic issues caused by the actual use of natural language. In order to close this gap, this doctoral thesis explicitly targets inconsistencies caused by natural language and investigates the potential of automatically detecting and resolving them under a linguistic perspective. In particular, this doctoral thesis provides the following contributions. First, it defines a classification framework that structures existing work on process model analysis and refactoring. Second, it introduces the notion of atomicity, which implements a strict consistency condition between the formal content and the textual content of a process model. Based on an explorative investigation, we reveal several reoccurring violation patterns are not compliant with the notion of atomicity. Third, this thesis proposes an automatic refactoring technique that formalizes the identified patterns to transform a non-atomic process models into an atomic one. Fourth, this thesis defines an automatic technique for detecting and refactoring synonyms and homonyms in process models, which is eventually useful to unify the terminology used in an organization. Fifth and finally, this thesis proposes a recommendation-based refactoring approach that addresses process models suffering from incompleteness and leading to several possible interpretations. The efficiency and usefulness of the proposed techniques is further evaluated by real-world process model repositories from various industries. (author's abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • WU Vienna
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Cite this