Work in Process: Unearthing Meaning using Process Mining

Jelmer Jan Koorn

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


My main research focuses on analyzing work processes using process mining. A work process captures how different actors in organizations perform activities when they are trying to reach the same organizational goal. In this setting, traditional process mining techniques use data, usually from IT systems, to discover the order in which activities are performed. In my most prominent works, I developed techniques that can discover, analyze, and visualize cause-effect patterns in work processes. These techniques describe steps from how to prepare the data, to the algorithm which contains a series of statistical tests, to the conversion of statistical results into more appealing visual graphical models. While these techniques can be applied in many scenarios, in my project I mainly focus on the healthcare domain. In specific, I study the cause-effect patterns in aggressive behavior of clients with intellectual disabilities. Here, the techniques help in understanding how caretakers can best respond to the aggressive behavior of clients to de-escalate future violence of the same client. Next to that, I applied techniques in a hospital setting to study patients with sepsis. In this study, we provide preliminary insights into how the hospital might improve efficiency by lowering the return rate of patients. Next to the more technical contributions, in my dissertation, I have also developed more methodological work. In specific, we focus on the evaluation phase at the end of process mining projects. Often, domain experts are involved in this phase, but there exists very little methodological support in the community as to how to involve them. I developed a set of guidelines that support practitioners and professionals in evaluating process mining projects, aiming to improve the validity of these results. Finally, another line of research I am involved in revolves around the impact of automation on the working force. I am most occupied with a micro-level focus here where we consider jobs as bundles of tasks. In more detail, I study how technological advancement impacts the types of tasks and activities that are suitable to switch from a human to a machine operator. Rather than stating that entire jobs will disappear as a result of technological change, this research line underlines a shift in required capabilities and focus within a certain job.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Reijers, Hajo, Primary supervisor
  • Leopold, Henrik, Co-supervisor, External person
  • Lu, Xixi, Co-supervisor
Award date30 May 2022
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Print ISBNs978-90-393-7471-9
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


  • Process Mining
  • Work Process
  • Causal Relations
  • Statistics
  • Healthcare
  • Evaluation


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