Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Modeling languages for business models are a powerful and flexible means of representing and communicating knowledge related to business models. More than fifteen years after Osterwalder et al. (2005) clarified the ontology for the business model concept in this journal, we offer a systematic and cross-disciplinary assessment of the literature on business model modeling languages (BMMLs) that facilitates the visualization of this concept. In so doing, we synthesize and organize the knowledge dispersed across different disciplines in which BMMLs have originated and highlight the potential weaknesses in this literature to offer solid insights for future research. Our analysis reveals the existence of 17 BMMLs that have originated in traditional domains such as strategy and information systems, but also emerging domains such as sustainability. We contrast and compare these BMMLs along three dimensions: semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. We also analyze research that has made use of these BMMLs, differentiating between research that is conducted with a given BMML and research that is conducted about a given BMML. We conclude by offering a research agenda in which we illustrate the main challenges associated with the lack of well-accepted semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic foundations of BMMLs and outline opportunities for future research.





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