1.4    Presentation of the Research Project

The parts and chapters of the thesis are outlined for the purpose of providing the reader with a scarlet thread to follow.

1.4.1    Implications of research approach on presentation

As the research process has been highly iterative, it is a considerable challenge to present the results in a comprehensible manner. At the extremes, focus may be on presentation of either research process or research results. To focus on research process implies to tell a story of how research actually proceeded and outlines various alternatives considered in the course of the project. However, the outcome may become messy to read and include information of little relevance to the final proposals.

Focusing on the research results provides a more rational and logical presentation. This will however be in accordance with the "great lie" that post-rationalizing accounts of human endeavors often tell 51; a simplified and straightened version of the research approach, discarding "dead ends" and alternatives evaluated in the process.

The decision is made to follow a middle way: The main structure of the thesis (on chapter level) is in accordance with the research process, while each of the chapters focus more on the outcome of the process.

1.4.2    Thesis outline

The thesis is structured according to figure 1.3. Arrows suggest dependencies between chapters, indicating prerequisites for each chapter (but they are not imperative).
Figure 1.3 Outline of parts and chapters of the thesis

The purpose of the individual chapters is to contribute to answering the research questions. How each chapter contributes to meeting the research objectives is outlined below, in addition to the main contents of each chapter.

Chapter 1 has presented the research questions, together with a motivation for why the problem (enterprise modeling as a means to support human sense-making and communication) is worthy of investigation. Some reflections upon choice of research approach have been provided.

In chapter 2, three initial empirical studies of real world enterprise modeling projects are presented. The studies are used as a means to develop a preliminary understanding of enterprise modeling practice, contributing to attaining RO1. The studies also motivate further research.

Chapter 3 provides the first theoretical investigations of enterprise modeling: How is this research area seen by others? Since the perspective in this thesis is modeling for human sense-making and communication, these terms are discussed in more detail together with more profound philosophical matters being highly influential on any view of enterprise modeling. Analytical instruments in terms of two taxonomies are developed, concluding the first part of the thesis -- the search for a problem. The chapter contributes to RO1 in the sense that the theories function as a pair of glasses for investigation of the empirical studies, and to RO2 as it predicts effective practice.

Chapter 4 introduces part two of the thesis -- a state-of-the-art assessment. The chapter provides a high-level view of eight established communities of research and practice that either incorporate enterprise modeling on their agenda or investigate closely related issues. Discussions are performed using analytical instruments from chapter 3.

In chapter 5, nine selected approaches to enterprise modeling that claim to meet all or parts of the research questions formulated in chapter 1 are studied in more detail. The prime conclusion is that although they are interesting approaches, none of them provide satisfactory answers to all the questions outlined in section . This concludes the state-of-the-art assessment, which represent a point of reference for the studies conducted in this research project. The state-of-the-art assessments contribute to meeting the research objectives explicitly by prescribing how enterprise modeling should be performed (RO2) and implicitly by indicating how contemporary actors view current practice (RO1).

Chapter 6 presents a comprehensive description and analysis of the main empirical study: Use of enterprise modeling as a part of development of a technology strategy in the Statoil corporation. The study is the primary source of observations on enterprise modeling practice (RO1).

In chapter 7, a terminology and a series of principles for enterprise modeling are outlined. The terminology and the principles represent lessons learned from the initial empirical studies in chapter 2, the main study in chapter 6 and to some degree theoretical studies. The principles constitute the foundation of the proposed framework in part four of the thesis, and meets RO1.

Based on the state-of-the-art assessment in part two and the principles from part three, part four outlines a framework for enterprise modeling that is more tailored to fit the chosen perspective on enterprise modeling than existing approaches. Chapter 8 provides an overview of the proposed framework, pointing out general features and guidelines employed. The framework is a contribution to meeting RO2.

Chapter 9 presents a core component of the framework: A pool of techniques that each contribute to meeting the purposes of enterprise modeling. Most of the techniques are well known and can be used in concert or stand-alone. However, the crux of chapter 9 is their combination. This concludes the main part of the thesis and at the same time provides the final contribution to RO2.

In part five, chapter 10 provides a critical evaluation of the framework. The framework is also compared to existing frameworks to see how they concur. Some reflections are provided upon both the choice of research approach and actual accomplishment of the research process. Related to the research objectives, the chapter discusses the trustworthiness of the contributions in the previous chapters.

Finally, chapter 11 summarizes the findings and claimed contributions, revisits the research questions and suggests alternative paths for further work within the area.

Part six is comprised of appendices and a bibliography.