Methodology for Detection and Assessment of the Impact Of Informal Processes On Organizational Output
Ross, Lesa Moore
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This research focuses on the detection and assessment of informal processes within an organization. Informal processes are defined as activities that are not formalized with respect to the inputs, resources, and/or controls; or an activity that deviates from a formal process. Informal processes affect all aspects of an organization's business. Informal processes cannot be eliminated (nor should they necessarily be). The question becomes how can we identify the informal processes and assess their impact on our system/s safety? The research reported in this paper is aimed at providing an answer to this question. A theoretical foundation in the area of organizational culture, structures and practices culminating in the SoTeRiA (Socio-Technical Risk Analysis) framework provides the general model for this research. A comprehensive methodology for the detection, identification and assessment of informal processes is presented which will allow an organization to benefit from positive informal processes, while resolving detrimental informal processes to preclude their use. Two detection methods have been developed - an indirect detection method (questionnaire completed by a management representative) and a direct detection method (process audit). A methodology has been developed to be utilized as a guideline in the performance of process audits that encompasses process element identification, process interactions, and the usage of document trees. A methodology for the assessment of the impact of informal processes on an organization has been developed that will enable businesses and organization's to have more accurate and complete data from which to make their decisions regarding the state of the organization. To assess the impact of informal processes, Bayesian Belief Networks were utilized to determine the probability of the process output failure with the inclusion of informal processes and then after the informal processes were brought into the formal system. The application of this methodology has proven that when either informal processes that are beneficial to an organization are brought into the formal system, or detrimental informal processes are eliminated, the probability of the output failure decreases. The methodology presented provides a comprehensive approach to the understanding, detection, and assessment of informal processes in an organization.