Business Process Management Glossary

Organisational role

Positions in your organisation that aren’t defined by a title

Think of organisational roles as “hats” that people wear. A colleague with the title “Account Manager” can also take the roles of “Full-time employee”, “Business developer” or “Customer Success Manager”. With each role comes different responsibilities and by adding organisational roles and descriptions you will provide clarity around each person’s roles and responsibilities.

Importance of Organisational Roles

  1. Clarity in Responsibilities:
    • This bring clarity to individuals’ responsibilities within the organization. They go beyond the formal job title, highlighting the diverse functions and hats that employees may wear.
  2. Role Flexibility:
    • Acknowledging that individuals can take on various roles allows for greater flexibility. Employees can contribute to different aspects of the business beyond their designated titles.
  3. Swimlanes in Process Documentation:
    • Play a pivotal role in creating swimlanes, a critical component of process documentation through process mapping. Swimlanes visually depict who is responsible for each aspect of a process, clarifying which organisational roles are accountable.

Organisational roles are essential when creating swimlanes. Swimlanes are a critical component of process documentation via process mapping for businesses. They reveal who is responsible for which aspects of a process – which organisational roles is responsible. 

The example belows shows how the roles of ‘Marketing Manager’, ‘Knowledge Producer’ and ‘Webmaster’ are used in a process map.

Example of a Process Map with swimlanes, events and decisions.

Swimlanes and Process Mapping

  1. Defining Responsibilities:
    • Swimlanes provide a structured visual representation of processes. They define responsibilities by assigning each lane to a specific organisational role. This ensures that everyone involved in the process understands their role and contribution.
  2. Process Transparency:
    • By incorporating into swimlanes, the entire process becomes transparent. Stakeholders can easily identify who is responsible for each step, fostering accountability and a clear understanding of the workflow.


Consider the scenario of an “Account Manager” who, in addition to their primary role, also wears the hat of a “Business Developer.” In a swimlane diagram, different lanes can represent these roles, delineating the specific responsibilities associated with each. This clarity aids not only the individual in understanding their multifaceted role but also the entire organization in recognizing the diverse contributions made by each member.

In conclusion, recognising and documenting organisational roles beyond formal titles is crucial for understanding the dynamics of responsibilities within an organization. When integrated into swimlanes for process documentation, these roles become instrumental in providing a visual framework that enhances transparency, accountability, and overall efficiency in business processes.

Further resources of Organisational Roles:

Explore more about different process improvement terms in our BPM Glossary.