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Recent research in conceptual modeling and enterprise modeling calls for relaxing common assumptions about the nature of modeling methods and related modeling languages and metamodels. This paper pursues that goal by proposing a new vision of modeling methods that overcomes some of the limitations identified in the literature by satisfying four requirements for more flexible modeling methods. That vision builds upon the integration of multiple modeling techniques that are related to an overarching metaphor. Those techniques may address heterogeneous purposes such as specifying a system’s capabilities or specifying which resources are used by specific activities. This paper presents design characteristics and metamodel design options to guide method engineers in adopting this broader notion of modeling methods, integrating multiple modeling techniques, and using appropriate modeling languages. To demonstrate feasibility, an extended version of the work system method (WSM) is presented in the form of a Work System Modeling Method (WSMM) that encompasses seven purposes of modeling that call for successively more formal approaches. A final section summarizes how WSMM addresses the issues and requirements from the introduction, explains how coherence is maintained within WSMM, and identifies areas for future research, with emphasis on ways to make WSMM and similar modeling methods as valuable as possible.


Originally published in the Enterprise Modelling and Information Systems Architectures Journal (EMISAJ), 15(3), pp. 1-25, Nov. 2020.

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