Completed Theses

Comparative Analysis of Enterprise Ontologies

Bachelor Thesis Business Information Systems



    The enterprise modeling (EM) community has recognized ontologies as a promising approach to address some of the challenges the EM field is facing. However, ‘ontology-based enterprise modeling’ requires first the availability of formal ontologies reflecting the various spheres of the enterprises’ action system and IS. Among others, the ontologies should encompass the core context-independent elements of an enterprise, i.e., so called ‘enterprise ontologies’, which are defined as collections “of terms and definitions relevant to business enterprises” (Uschold et al., 1998, p. 31). A number of ontologies to describe an enterprise and/or to support enterprise modeling were created, independently or in relation to existing EM approaches. The earliest ontologies designed to model an enterprise are, e.g., Toronto Virtual Enterprise Ontology (TOVE) (Fox et al., 1998), Enterprise Ontology (Uschold et al., 1998) and Resource-Event-Agent (REA) ontology (Geerts and McCarthy, 2002). Other examples are ORG (W3C Organization Ontology), the Enterprise Ontology (Dietz, 2006), e3-value ontology providing concepts for describing economic exchange among partners (Gordijn and Akkermans, 2001), or a set of organizational ontologies provided within the SUPER project.


    The main aim of this work is thus to: investigate the currently existing Enterprise ontologies; devise the comparison framework capturing both their philosophical underpinning as well as, e.g., representation language related aspects, and finally, evaluate the suitability/potential of application of enterprise ontologies in the realm of Enterprise Modeling together/instead of currently applied modeling methods.


    • Uschold, M., King, M., Moralee, S., and Zorgios, Y. (1998). The enterprise ontology. Knowl Eng Rev, 13(1):31–89.
    • Fox, M. S., Barbuceanu, M., Gruninger, M., and Lin, J. (1998). An organizational ontology for enterprise modeling. In Prietula, M. J., Carley, K. M., and Gasser, L., editors, Simulating Organizations, pages 131–152. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.
    • Fox, M. S. and Grüninger, M. (1998). Enterprise modeling. AI Magazine, 19(3):109–121.
    • Geerts, G. and McCarthy, W. (2002). An ontological analysis of the economic primitives of the extended rea enterprise information architecture. IJAIS, 3:1–16.
    • Gordijn, J. and Akkermans, H. (2001). Designing and evaluating e-business models. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 16(4):11–17.
    • Dietz, J. L. G. (2006). Enterprise Ontology: Theory and Methodology. Springer, Berlin