Investigating expressiveness and understandability of hierarchy in declarative business process models

Stefan Zugal, Pnina Soffer, Cornelia Haisjackl, Jakob Pinggera, Manfred Reichert, Barbara Weber
2013 Journal of Software and Systems Modeling  
Hierarchy has widely been recognized as a viable approach to deal with the complexity of conceptual models. For instance, in declarative business process models, hierarchy is realized by sub-processes. While technical implementations of declarative sub-processes exist, their application, semantics, and the resulting impact on understandability are less understood yet-this research gap is addressed in this work. More specifically, we discuss the semantics and the application of hierarchy and
more » ... how subprocesses enhance the expressiveness of declarative modeling languages. Then, we turn to the influence of hierarchy on the understandability of declarative process models. In particular, we present a cognitive-psychology-based framework that allows to assess the impact of hierarchy on the understandability of a declarative process model. To empirically Communicated by Dr. Selmin Nurcan. test the proposed framework, a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods is followed. While statistical tests provide numerical evidence, think-aloud protocols give insights into the reasoning processes taking place when reading declarative process models. Keywords Business process management · Declarative business process models · Modularization · Understandability · Cognitive psychology Process 2 Flat Process 3 Hierarchical Process 4 Flat Demographics,
doi:10.1007/s10270-013-0356-2 fatcat:x4mn2zvx3bcx3k4fjhsg5fsheq