It's a funny thing about Salesforce developers. Many of us really dislike change, even when we know very well it's necessary and worthwhile.
Why? Too often, changing an application is like re-routing plumbing after the house is built: making a change that looks small can take a whole lot of effort with a whole lot of risk for collateral damage.
I'm not sure if there's any consensus on the definition of an emergent workflow. It's a term that I use to describe a pattern I have witnessed in business software. To me, an emergent workflow is a workflow that was not designed explicitly into a piece of software, but slowly evolved via users' usage of the system, and the development of conventions to support workflows as they develop. If you have ever developed a piece of business software that manages any form of workflow, and that software has been in production for more than a year, you can be certain that there is an emergent workflow within that software – whether you realize it or not.