According to Abdolvand, Albadvi, and Ferdowsi (2008, p. 205), the BPR concept is mainly concerned with combining elements of process redesign and the setting up of information communication technology (ICT) in a bid to sustain reengineering efforts in an organization. BPR has gained popularity in the organizational setting owing to the rise in business integration efforts (Evans 1994, p. 2), and the need by such organizations to develop inter-organizational relationships.
Reengineering integrates front-and back-office processes. Also, it facilitates processes from one organization to another. Abdolvand, Albadvi, and Ferdowsi (2008, p. 207) further note that organizations can only achieve this when there are sound communication and effective leadership. This facilitates the ease of execution of BPR projects. Organizations that lack sound leadership and effective communication strategies cannot implement a BPR project successfully. (Abdolvand et al, p. 207). The current paper is an attempt to examine the importance of sound communication and effective leadership in BPM/BPR projects.
Importance of sound communication and effective leadership in BPM/BPR projects
Ideally, the top management at an organization should endeavor to drive the desired change by providing a shared vision. It is important to note that employees tend to be more responsive to a shared vision than a vision that does not have the full backing of the top management. Effective communication is normally regarded as a fundamental component for the success of any BPR project. The entire change process within an organization calls for sound communication at various levels. It is also important to ensure that the desired change is communicated with even those who may not be affected directly by the reengineering project.
Marketing of a BPR project calls for effective communication with the various stakeholders involved. Some of the stakeholders are to be found within the organization while others are to be found outside the organization. Besides, there is a need to ensure the understanding and patience of the cultural and structural changes that could be needed. Moreover, guaranteeing the firm’s competitive position is another important factor worth considering.
Leaders should ensure that there is honest, clear, and open communication. This is especially the case when sensitive issues concerning the impending change are to be discussed, like downsizing. BPR can lead to the pushing of decisions to lower levels and as such, there is a need to empower teams and the individual in such teams so that our BPR efforts can bear fruits, as noted by Choi and Chan (1997, p. 11).
An empowered workforce feels more accountable and responsible to enhance a culture of collaborative teamwork and self-management within the organization. Through empowerment, employees can take part in redesign processes. Moreover, empowerment means that employees are in a better position to establish their targets and also assess their performance. Moreover, they can also recognize and work out issues affecting their daily activities in the workplace. This way, employees play a key role in supporting BPR efforts.
Information communication technology (ICT) also plays a key role in the success of a BPR project. Abdolvand et al (2008, p. 498) contend that the use of ICT in the business process may be quite useful in enhancing business process re-engineering efforts. ICT allows for broad and balanced participation of consultants and workers, and this may increase the success rate of a BPR project by allowing participants to give their professional suggestions and realistic opinions. An entrenched communication channel within the organization acts as an explicit success element of BPR.
Effective leadership is also crucial to ensure the success of a BPR project. The commitment and support of top management are often regarded as the most crucial comments of a successful BPR program. It is important to ensure that organizational leadership remains creative and effective so that there are sound understating and a clear vision of what the organization needs to do to succeed in its BPR project. Leaders should play an active e role in communicating the vision that they hold for the organization to all the employees, according to Choi and Chan (1997, p. 5).
In turn, employees are called upon to follow in the footsteps of their leaders by using the guidance of their leaders as a source of motivation. Support for and commitment to the change needs to be reinforced constantly from leaders of an organization for the entire period that the BPR project runs. Adequate knowledge, authority, and sound communication with everyone involved in the change process are vital in handling any kind of resistance or challenge that could stand in the way of the implementation of a successful BPR program.
Apart from the leaders, the rest of the BPR team also needs to fully understand the change process. Leaders are called upon to ensure that employees can access proper channels of communication. This will go a long way towards helping employees to embrace open communication amongst themselves. Top management is also called upon to ensure that it has put in place inter-and intra-organizational trust and confidence. This helps to enhance cooperation in the new system, in addition to empowering employees as well. The way that these chains interact is an indication of the ability of an organization to adopt change.
Furthermore, groupware techniques considerably reduce the time needed to carry out the analysis segment of BPR. Employees are always full of useful ideas that an organization can use to achieve its goals. Leaders should therefore involve employees in all their efforts to accomplish the most favorable process operation. Egalitarian cultures are noted for their ability to facilitate the achievement of positive change within an organization with a limited amount of resistance.
Different levels of leadership will impact a BPM project differently. The leadership level will also influence people, the organization, and the environment differently. For example, a senior executive or CEO will influence nearly all the components of an organization including resources, markets, the environment, competitors, and the organizational structure. On the other hand, the sphere of influence of a project director or program sponsor shall differ based on the scenario and size of the project in question.
In contrast, the sphere of influence of the business staff or project team members is mainly confined to the business unit. Regardless of the level of leadership, a good leader should have passion, integrity, the gift to genuinely listen, and integrity. Leaders at all levels should therefore make the BPM program their top priority.
Most businesses are now opting to adopt business process reengineering in a bid to improve their operations and outputs. BPR enables organizations to redesign these processes in such a way that any redundant or wasted effort is eliminated. In the process, organizations can gain competitiveness and improve efficiency by implementing BPR. However, the role of leadership is very vital as far as the adoption of a BPR project is concerned.
This is because leaders within an organization have different spheres of influence over the BPR project and if they fully embrace the program, then it becomes easier to implement it successfully. At the same time, there is a need to ensure open and sound communication between leaders and the employees within the organization because if the processes are not communicated well, the BPR project might fail to take off.
Abdolvand, N, Albadvi, A & Ferdowsi, Z 2008,’Assessing readiness for business process reengineering’, Business Process Management Journal, vol.14, no. 4, pp. 497-511.
Choi, C & Chan, S 1997,’Business process re-engineering: evocation, elucidation and exploration’, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1-16.
Evans, R 1994,’The human side of business process re-engineering’, Management Development Review, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 1-7.