Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

On the Role of Conceptual Models in Information Systems Research - From Engineering to Research

Rosenkranz, Christoph
Year: 2007
Keywords: Organizational Engineering; Complexity; Variety; Conceptual Modelling

Conceptual modelling deals with the process of building or interpreting a conceptual model. Stakeholders use the resulting model to reason and communicate about a domain in order to improve their common understanding of it. From this perspective, conceptual modelling and conceptual models are subjects for information systems research. In this paper, we argue that this engineering-driven view on conceptual models is only one possible perspective for information systems research. Based on language critique, we show how conceptual models can be used not as a subject of but as an important and useful instrument for information systems research. Conceptual models help to structure and formalize the interpretation of a subjective understanding in a domain of focus. We propose a research approach which is based on three roles that the researcher adopts and show how conceptual models are a useful source of knowledge and an instrument for interpretation respectively. We combine our view with an existing framework for information systems research and reinterpret existing research as matching to our approach.