A Comprehensive Approach towards the Structural Description of Business Models

Thomas Burkhart; Markus Schief; Dominik Vanderhaeghen; Stefan Wolter; Julian Krumeich Di andChristina Valentin; Dirk Werth; Peter Loos(2012)
In: The International ACM Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems (MEDES-12), October 2012, Addis Ababa, Äthiopien, ACM, 1012, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2457276.2457294

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Research on business models has attracted raising consideration among scientists since the burst of the dot-com bubble. However, knowledge on this domain is still quite fragmented which calls for a clarification and in particular a structured conceptualization. Thus, this paper presents a business model ontology that is based on a literature review contrasting and synthesizing eight existing ontologies and extending this knowledge with current understanding and research progress on business models. For sake of clarity, our developed ontology comprises two levels. While the first level focuses on the surrounding of a business model describing the relationships of a business model to its environment, the second level of detail addresses the actual details of the model — entities and relationships that constitute a business model. Besides describing the proposed ontology by abstract textual and graphical means, the description is underpinned by illustrative examples.