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Technovation 19 (1999) 571–581

Business Process Reengineering A review of recent literature Peter O’Neill, Amrik S. Sohal

Department of Management, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East, Vic. 3145, Australia Received 2 January 1999; accepted 13 March 1999

Abstract The purpose of this paper is to help demystify the confusion on Business Process Reengineering (BPR). This is achieved through a review of the literature covering the period from the late 1980s to 1998. Articles published in the leading business journals and the more popular business magazines were included in the review, as well as books published on the topic. The paper first discusses the need for reengineering and then reviews the literature under the following headings: definition of BPR, BPR tools and techniques, BPR and TQM co-existence, understanding organisational processes, the reengineering challenge, and organisational redesign using BPR. The review shows that considerable confusion exists as to exactly what constitutes BPR. Authors place different emphasis on the definition of BPR and the many outcomes possible with BPR. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research relating to BPR. © 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Business Process Reengineering; Literature review; Total Quality Management; Organisational processes

1. Introduction For almost a decade now there has been considerable discussion in the literature on Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and today there still remains considerable confusion, particularly amongst managers, as to exactly what constitutes BPR and how it is different from other change initiatives such as Total Quality Management. This paper presents a review of the existing literature on BPR and based on the literature review, proposes a number of topics that can be developed as potential research projects. The aim is to provide the reader with an understanding of what...

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