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Enterprise modelling – making the abstract tangible



Professor Erik Proper has been FNR PEARL Chair at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) since 2010. There he leads a team of scientists who create enterprise models to strategically advise decision-makers and develop new business areas.

Abstract models of corporate structures aim to help to understand processes in practice and to make the right management decisions.

Making business processes and organisational structures

The façade or architecture of a building is tangible – you can grasp it with your senses. Businesses also have architecture – but they are not tangible. In order to illustrate their structure, Erik Proper and his team create enterprise models: drawings of an organisation, with all of its aspects.

In the models, the interests of the managers, employees, owners, customers, suppliers or even the state and society are represented. The model should help to understand the complexity of the various processes. What consequences does it have for the company if a supplier of component is changed at the construction site? Can risks be avoided? Does the company have to change fundamentally?

Game theory provides insights into company successes

Erik Proper often presents his models as strategy games to win over decision-makers. In game theory, the decision-making behaviour of people within a system is considered. Decision situations are modelled in order to assess the consequences of the behaviour of individuals and the interaction of several participants. The participants can ‘play through’ planned changes and initially apply the model without any risk.

The business models can also be used to plan completely new business models. A law on space mining was passed in Luxembourg in 2017. The law regulates the ownership of resources in space. What a business model could look like is still largely unclear, as many factors have to be taken into account, such as data transmission using modern satellite technology. A welcome challenge for Erik Proper, who says he is fascinated by abstract models.

Find out more about FNR PEARL Chair Prof Erik Proper’s research in the video below.

About Erik Proper

Henderik Alex (Erik) Proper is Head of Academic Affairs at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). He received his Master and PhD from the University of Nijmegen. Erik Proper has taught at universities in Australia and the USA and worked as a consultant in industry from 1997 to 2001. He was appointed Associate Professor in 2001 and Full Professor at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2002. Since 2010 he has also been FNR PEARL Chair at LIST, where he heads the Enterprise & Engineering network.

About the FNR PEARL programme

With the PEARL programme, the FNR offers Luxembourg research institutions attractive funding to enable them to draw established and internationally recognised researchers from abroad to Luxembourg. Through the recruitment of outstanding scientists in strategically important areas, the FNR aims to accelerate the development and strengthening of Luxembourg’s national research priorities. PEARL projects have a lifespan of five years with a financial contribution of between 3-4 MEUR by the FNR. The financial contribution can be used flexibly to implement the research programme at the host institution.

Video: ScienceRelations

Related highlights: PEARL

Prof Erik Proper, a Dutch national, came to Luxembourg in the framework of the FNR PEARL programme