The DEAT Business Rule Pattern Language

Russell R. Hurlbut, Ph.D.

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Rule Pattern 9: Recursion

Problem Describing Recursive Ownership Traits

Organizations may place arbitrary restrictions on the depth of hierarchical structures or the number of links in a chain of relationships. One illustration of this nature would be an organization that desires to flatten its management structure by having at most three layers of management between any employee and the president. The desire is often to limit the complexity of business processes or to improve service.


Recursion limits may be put in place by defining a type and depth restriction for member elements.

Example Thesis Sub-Headings

The thesis examiner requires that a graduate thesis may only contain four levels of sub-headings without approval from the student's advisor.


Thesis Sub-Headings Parameters
Parameters Type sub-heading level
Depth 4

Example Technical Support

An organization policy stipulates that a when a support request is reassigned more than twice the supervisor must be notified.

Technical Support Parameters
Parameters Type case worker
Depth 3

UML Representation and Related Patterns

The Recursion business rule pattern provides constraints on the CollectionElement. The depth attribute may be further specified through collaboration with the Domain and Multiplicity business rule patterns.

UML Representation of Recursion Pattern


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