In conjunction with BPM 2010

The Third Workshop on Business Process Management and Social Software

13 September 2010, Hoboken New Jersey, USA


Selmin Nurcan – University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France

Rainer Schmidt – University of Applied Sciences, Aalen, Germany



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Based on the successful BPMS2’08 and BPMS2’09 workshop, the goal of the workshop is to promote the integration of business process management with social software and to enlarge the community pursuing the theme.

Social software (1) is a new paradigm that is spreading quickly in society, organizations and economics. Social software has created a multitude of success stories such as wikipedia.org and the development of the Linux operating system. Therefore, more and more enterprises regard social software as a means for further improvement of their business processes and business models. For example, they integrate their customers into product development by using blogs to capture ideas for new products and features. Thus, business processes have to be adapted to new communication patterns between customers and the enterprise: for example, the communication with the customer is increasingly a bi-directional communication with the customer and among the customers. Social software also offers new possibilities to enhance business processes by improving the exchange of knowledge and information, to speed up decisions, etc. Social software is based on four principles: weak ties, social production, egalitarianism and mutual service provisioning.

  • Weak ties (2) are spontaneously established contacts between individuals that create new views and allow combining competencies. Social software supports the creation of weak ties by supporting to create contacts in impulse between non-predetermined individuals
  • Social Production (3) is the creation of artefacts, by combining the input from independent contributors without predetermining the way to do this. By this means it is possible to integrate new and innovative contributions not identified or planned in advance. Social mechanisms such as reputation assure quality in social production in an a posteriori approach by enabling a collective evaluation by all participants.
  • Egalitarianism is the attitude of handling individuals equally. Social software highly relies on egalitarianism and therefore strives for giving all participants the same rights to contribute. This is done with the intention to encourage a maximum of contributors and to get the best solution fusioning a high number of contributions, thus enabling the wisdom of the crowds (4) . Social software realizes egalitarianism by abolishing hierarchical structures, merging the roles of contributors and consumers and introducing a culture of trust.
  • Mutual Service Provisioning : Social software abolishes the separation of service provider and consumer by introducing the idea, that service provisioning is a mutual process of service exchange. Thus both service provider and consumer (or better prosumer) provide services to one another in order co-create value (5) . This mutual service provisioning contrasts to the idea of industrial service provisioning, where services are produced in separation from the customer to achieve scaling effects.

Up to now, the interaction of social software and the underlying paradigm of social production with business processes have not been investigated in depth. Therefore, the objective of the workshop is to explore how social software and social production interact with business process management, how business process management has to change to comply with social production, and how business processes may profit from social techniques.

(1) Rainer Schmidt and Selmin Nurcan, “BPM and Social Software“ in BPM2008 Workshop Proceedings (Milano, 2008).

(2) M.S. Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” American Journal of Sociology,  vol. 78, 1973, S. 1360.

(3) Y. Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale University Press, 2006

(4) J. Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, Anchor, 2005.

(5) S. Vargo, P. Maglio, und M. Akaka, “On value and value co-creation: A service systems and service logic perspective,” European Management Journal,  vol. 26, June. 2008, S. 145-152.

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