Almost all features in Content Management are implemented as repository services. State management Manager service is one of them. It helps in managing state of the content in content management. Follow the following procedure in your java iView to automate approval process
1. Get a reference to Statemanagment manaer service
2. Get the statemanagement resource & enable approval process for the resource collection.
3. Finally read existing approver list, add new approvers and save the Approver step list. Note that approver list starts from index 0 not from 1 as displayed content admin iViews.