Abstract for: Modeling as Theory-Building

The purpose of this contribution is to make the idea of modeling as theory-building operational. We conceive of the modeling process as a theory-building process, thereby opening up a new perspective on the methodology of modeling in the social sciences. By reconceptualizing the notion of modeling, we hope to convey the advantages of more conceptual thinking in management. Practitioners could gain effectiveness in dealing with external complexity if they would espouse the modeling task as a disciplined reflection and communication geared toward the elaboration of theories. This contribution is based on projects in which System Dynamics models for real-world issues were constructed together with corporate partners. One of these modeling ventures is described in detail to make transparent the isomorphic nature of theory-building and formal modeling, and illustrate the approach of modeling as theory-building.