Dynamic Effects of Robotic Process Automation on Processes and Routines in Organisations
The deployment of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has grown increasingly popular in industry and organisations whose ambition is to enhance organisational operating efficiency embrace RPA for automating the standard business processes. Efficiency gain as the most outstanding benefit is always highlighted but unintended consequences of RPA implementation, such as reduced process flexibility and trade-off against potential organisation transformation, are overlooked and less discussed. This paper studies the dynamic effects of RPA on routine evolution over time using a network simulation model. The research study reveals the impacts of RPA on organisational processes in terms of process complexity, structural change in process, probability of phase change and efficiency gain by exploring and interpreting important RPA deployment features, including sequence length and frequency threshold qualifying suitable sequences of actions to automate through RPA. With that, we can understand how the process of organisational routines adaptation is impacted by RPA and highlight new insights about the trade-off between efficiency gain and potential digital transformation in organisations. Also, this research provides well-rounded answers on whether and how organisations could implement RPA to achieve higher operational efficiency while maintaining some degree of process flexibility and preserving the potential of process adaptation and digital innovation.