What a cornucopia of wonderful replies! I see the word "dialectic" used (Jose C.) and "visio-therapists" (Emiel K.).
And the first reply captures the essence of the difference between "process-driven" and "process-free" organizations. The process-driven organizations don't believe that they are "run by unicorns and magical rainbows"! (Theo P.) LOL.
The sentiment about unicorns and rainbows is perhaps deeper than mere humour. When we say "business process" we are talking about opening up "the black box of work" (my term) -- and again Theo mentions the idea of "transparency" which maybe alludes to the same idea. Inside the black box of work are the explicit work acts where value is created. Many country-club managers would rather not have to pay attention to what's inside the box. They are more than happy to treat the work as a black box, in a sort of Nike fashion ("just do it"), the better to leave work early. This unwillingness to engage with the work of the organization is a kind of magical thinking -- thus Theo's characterization resonated with me.
The opposite of magical management thinking is management thinking that is both rational and respectful. Work is subject to rational analysis and control; and the participants in the work process are engaged as having agency.
That said, I find that this debate about business process has a certain unfortunate generic quality. One could substitute various management buzz-words for "process" and many of the sentiments expressed would still make sense. And if this is the case, then why mention process at all?
In at least two or three examples in the past year various participants in the world of BPM and process technology have attempted to define the terms, with no little difficulty. And one of the biggest challenges is usually some version of "what is unique about process that isn't identical to good management practices generally, even going back a century?"
My own answer is that business process is first of all about "taking responsibility" for your work. In a day of disaggregation and BPO, there are no more "black boxes". And secondly I hold that BPM technology does have specific and significant technical content which is more than just good management practice.