In a general study of the literature eleven main areas of research were considered relevant to
workflow management and its application in the domain of Sales Order Processing (SOP). It was
concluded that exception handling may provide a unifying focus on the dynamic behaviour of
workflow systems. Indeed this initial study revealed that current workflow approaches: (1) will overly constrain sales order processors as they seek to handle exceptions by imposing
unrealistic and thus rigid ways of working onto their end-users; (2) do not support the needs of workflow system developers very well, since their workflow
specifications are time-consuming to develop and maintain and are difficult to verify.
Having made these observations this study conducted a detailed literature study and identified
three main classes of workflow approaches, namely: traditional workflow approaches (i.e.
SADT/IDEF0, Grai Nets, IDEF3, IEM and ClMOSA), ECA workflow approaches (i.e. WIDE and
Rapide) and transactional workflow approaches (i.e. Sagas, ConTracts, and Partial Rollbacks).
Subsequently it was decided to study specific properties of sales order processing exceptions and
their effects. [Continues.]
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.