Building a holarchy using business process-oriented holonic (PrOH) modeling

Ben T. Clegg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The application of systems thinking to designing, managing, and improving business processes has developed a new "holonic-based" process modeling methodology. The theoretical background and the methodology are described using examples taken from a large organization designing and manufacturing capital goods equipment operating within a complex and dynamic environment. A key point of differentiation attributed to this methodology is that it allows a set of models to be produced without taking a task breakdown approach but instead uses systems thinking and a construct known as the "holon" to build process descriptions as a system of systems (i.e., a holarchy). The process-oriented holonic modeling methodology has been used for total quality management and business process engineering exercises in different industrial sectors and builds models that connect the strategic vision of a company to its operational processes. Exercises have been conducted in response to environmental pressures to make operations align with strategic thinking as well as becoming increasingly agile and efficient. This unique methodology is best applied in environments of high complexity, low volume, and high variety, where repeated learning opportunities are few and far between (e.g., large development projects). © 2007 IEEE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Part A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • business planning
  • human factors
  • modeling
  • production management
  • systems analysis and design


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