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Abstract

Service networks made up of manufacturers and service firms to satisfy complex customer needs are proliferating. By exploiting their complementary competencies, such service networks enable their members to provide innovative and integrated solutions that could not be offered by any of the firms alone. The successful formation and operation of service networks requires the analysis and (re-)design of interaction routines that facilitate planning and coordination based on a mutual exchange of information. We argue that conceptual models are artifacts that enable networked organizations to improve how well they manage these interaction routines. Against this backdrop, this article makes four major contributions. First, a conceptual modeling language based on the design principle of modular decomposition of network complexity is developed for specifying interaction routines in service networks. Second, a workshop-based modeling method based on the design principle of social construction of networks is developed for the purpose of guiding the (re-)design process itself. Third, the developed language and method are embedded into a software tool, and the utility of this ensemble artifact is demonstrated and evaluated using cases of service networks in the construction industry. Fourth, a set of evaluation criteria is proposed for the purpose of assessing tool-supported conceptual modeling workshops and for evaluating other types of conceptual workshops.

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