New way of Conjoint Added Value Generation in Collaborative Business Processes
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Nowadays, economic organizations are dramatically changing towards networked structures (Österle, Fleisch, & Alt, 2000). These are characterized by core competence specialized value units (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990) that intensively interact along the added value in order to cooperatively generate the intended product. This intensification of exchanges leads to strong, collaborative relationships (also called collaborative business (cf. Camarinha-Matos, 2002). In these structures, the generation of added value is highly distributed through the network. In this respect, the relationships between such enterprises are more than simple supplier-purchaser-relations. They represent a crucial part of the output generation chain, or in other words, of the collaborative business process. The latter means the sequence of activities within this collaborative network that result in the generation of the intended output. However, the conventional understanding of business processes is limited to a single enterprise (e.g,. in Davenport, 1993; Hammer & Champy, 1993; Scheer, 1999). Attempts to extend the business process concept to inter-enterprise environments only substitute the department of an enterprise by a whole enterprise itself (e.g., Hirschmann, 1998). However, this understanding does not reflect the special properties of collaborations that cannot be considered as a huge corporation-like enterprise. Therefore, this article investigates the collaboration in regards to the business process aspects and reveals the special properties that differentiate collaborative business processes from “simple” crossorganizational ones and others.