Comparing textual descriptions to process models – The automatic detection of inconsistencies

Han van der Aa*, Henrik Leopold, Hajo A. Reijers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Many organizations maintain textual process descriptions alongside graphical process models. The purpose is to make process information accessible to various stakeholders, including those who are not familiar with reading and interpreting the complex execution logic of process models. Despite this merit, there is a clear risk that model and text become misaligned when changes are not applied to both descriptions consistently. For organizations with hundreds of different processes, the effort required to identify and clear up such conflicts is considerable. To support organizations in keeping their process descriptions consistent, we present an approach to automatically identify inconsistencies between a process model and a corresponding textual description. Our approach detects cases where the two process representations describe activities in different orders and detect process model activities not contained in the textual description. A quantitative evaluation with 53 real-life model-text pairs demonstrates that our approach accurately identifies inconsistencies between model and text.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-460
Number of pages14
JournalInformation Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Business process management
  • Business process modeling
  • Compliance checking
  • Inconsistency detection
  • Matching
  • Natural language processing


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