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Abstract

Enterprise survival is about maintaining an identity that is separate from other enterprises. We define flexibility as the ability to change without losing identity. The identity of an enterprise can be analyzed as a set of norms and beliefs about these norms held by its stakeholders, such as customers, employees, suppliers, and investors. Business processes and their support systems maintain invariants that are the result of compromises between the often conflicting norms and beliefs of these stakeholders. We formalize these invariants as values in a state space. Identifying a minimum set of invariants provides a basis for defining flexible processes and support systems. We illustrate the use of this framework with production business process support (BPS) systems.

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