Towards the Development of Stylized Facts on the Understandability of Graphical Business Process Models

Constantin Houy; Peter Fettke; Peter Loos
Institute for Information Systems (IWi) at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Publications of the Institute for Information Systems (IWi) at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) (IWi-Heft), Vol. 203, 12/2016.


The development of theory is one of the major tasks of every scientific discipline, and thus of Information Systems Research (ISR) as well as Business Informatics (BI). While different approaches can be used to develop theory in ISR and BI, there is one “dominant” way of IS theory development which has been described by GROVER and LYYTINEN in a recent article published in MISQ as the common “epistemic script”. The authors criticize this epistemic script for promoting a quite restricted production of IS-related knowledge. Furthermore, GROVER and LYYTINEN, identify new potential ways of overcoming the common epistemic script and propose – among others – the concept of Stylized Facts (SF) as one potential way for innovative knowledge production in ISR and BI. Against the background that we – the authors of this report – have been using Stylized Facts as a research approach for some years and can confirm the potential of this approach, the following report presents the idea and the current state of a promising comprehensive dissertation project (first author of this report) using Stylized Facts in ISR and BI which started in 2014. In the following, the idea of developing Stylized Facts regarding the understandability of graphical business process models is elaborated. Besides the presentation of an approach for a transparent development of SF, a comprehensive application example will illustrate the derivation of a SF regarding the relationships of the structuredness of business process models and the resulting model understandability.

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