Chair of Strategy, Innovation and Cooperation

Research Activities

Our research aims to analyze current organizational phenomena from an interdisciplinary perspective by examining them from multiple theoretical and methodological angles. The subsequent results are not only relevant for experts in the field, but also for practical applications. A good indication of this can be seen in our frequent publications  in renowned scholarly journals as well as transfer publications.

At this time, we are collaborating with fellow researchers from various national (e.g. Freie and Technical University of Berlin, Hannover Medical School, RWTH Aachen University) and international partner institutions (e.g. Grenoble Ecole de Management, Hebrew University, London School of Economics, University of Wisconsin). Topics focus primarily on how organizational actors deal with risks and uncertainties.

Structure of our research activities

Research activities are focused on three core issues:

  • Open Strategy
  • Path Dependencies
  • Management Consulting
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Urban Management / Smart Cities
  • Crisis Management and Risk Management

Open Strategy: With regard to Open Innovation, the term Open Strategy refers to all activities aimed at opening up the strategy process. This applies to both internal actors in the organization such as top management as well as external stakeholder groups. How Open Strategy finding processes are to be structured is still predominantly a new scientific as well as new practical territory.

Exemplary chair publication: Dobusch, L., Dobusch, L., Müller-Seitz, G. (2019). Closing for the Benefit of Openness? The Case of Wikimedia’s Open Strategy Process, in: Organization Studies, 40(3), 343-370.

Path dependencies: Individuals and organizations are exposed to different path dependencies. How established paths - for example obsolete but still lucrative technologies - are observed and how the disadvantages of path dependency are countered is of central interest for research and practice. One relevant example is the digital transformation.

Exemplary chair publication: Sydow, J., Windeler, A., Müller-Seitz, G., Lange, K. (2012): Path Constitution Analysis – A Methodology for Understanding Path Dependence and Path Creation in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Tool Industry, in: Business Research, 5(29): 155-176.

Management Consulting: For many students, the consulting industry is a sought-after field of activities for career entry. It is not sufficient to know only the relevant techniques and methods ('tools') for a basic understanding of the activities of consulting. Rather, a targeted examination of the career mechanisms and the organization of temporary / project management is of interest, both theoretically and conceptually, as well as for consulting practice in order to create reflected concepts; consulting is thus an essential goal of knowledge.

Exemplary chair publication: Kaiser, S., Müller-Seitz, G., Creusen, U. (2008): Passion wanted! Socialisation of positive emotions in consulting firms, in: International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2(3): 305-320.

 

Strategic leadership: In contrast to other interorganizational networks, heterarchical networks are characterized by a lack of formally legitimate leadership. A better understanding of how factually exercised strategic leadership in heterarchical networks could be better understood and appropriately designed is still to be achieved.

Exemplary chair publication: Müller-Seitz, G., Sydow, J. (2012): Manoeuvring between Networks to Lead – A Longitudinal Case Study in the Semiconductor Industry, in: Long Range Planning, 45: 105-135.

Urban Management / Smart Cities: Metropolitan regions and cities are characterized by a large number of political, public and private actors. Their governance structures are partly subject to different, often even contrary logics. Nevertheless, these actors are forced to cooperate in different constellations, for instance, to develop concepts to avoid uncertainty and risk, if, for example, sustainable urban planning in the fields of energy, transport, health, sustainability, etc. is to take place. Closely related to this is the question of how digitization ('smart cities') influences the design of city management.

Exemplary chair publication: Müller-Seitz, G., Seiter, M., Wenz, P. (2016): Was ist eine Smart City?, Wiesbaden: SpringerGabler.

 

Crisis management and risk management: Organizations are increasingly confronted with uncertainties (e.g. supply chain management with a view to the Fukushima reactor accident or ad hoc coordination of networks in the event of a crisis). In this respect, the development of concepts for both theoretically and practically dealing with uncertainty is becoming increasingly important.

Exemplary chair publication: Müller-Seitz, G. (2014): Von Risiko zu Resilienz – zum Umgang mit Unerwartetem aus Organisationsperspektive, in: zfbf, 68: 79-99.


 

  • Management of cooperations and networks
  • Knowledge management and organizational learning
  • Organized events
  • High-Reliability Organizations/Networks

Management of cooperations and networks: How to manage inter-organizational networks is relevant with regard to the analysis of innovation networks and clusters. Of interest are also topics such as resilience to external shocks (e.g. terrorist attacks or environmental influences) as well as the changing concepts of mobility and cooperation.

Exemplary chair publication: Sydow, J., Schüßler, E., Müller-Seitz, G. (2016): Managing Inter-organizational Relations – Debates and Cases, Palgrave / Macmillan Publishers.

Knowledge management and organizational learning: The interconnected subject areas of knowledge management and organizational learning challenge companies with a variety of topics, for example with regard to personnel fluctuation or IT-based knowledge transfer. Nonetheless, there are certain limits to IT-based knowledge transfer (e.g. regarding the transfer of explicit knowledge). In this respect, the interaction of IT-based and personal knowledge transfer should be considered as an essential challenge.

Exemplary chair publication: Müller-Seitz, G., Güttel, W. (2014): Towards a Choreography of Congregating – A practice-based perspective on organizational absorptive capacity in a semiconductor industry consortium, in: Management Learning, 45(4): 477-497.

 

Organized events: In the case of roadshows, conferences or trade fairs, the interactions within these temporally and locally bound phenomena form the focal point of the interest in knowledge, since these events have a lasting influence on the respective industries. Organized events are therefore relevant not only from the point of view of organizational theory, but also from the perspective of strategic, innovation and knowledge management.

Exemplary chair publication: Schüßler, E., Grabher, G., Müller-Seitz, G. (2015): Field-Configuring Events: Arenas for Innovation and Learning?, in: Industry & Innovation, 22(3): 165-172.

High-Reliability Organizations/Networks: Unexpected emergency situations such as terrorist attacks, outbreaks of disease, storms, technological failures (e.g. in the case of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima) or plane and train accidents are increasingly of interest, as not only individuals, but also organizations and, if necessary, entire societies have to learn how to deal with such crises. As a consequence, it is important for management and organizational research to investigate the actual handling of these challenges, not only at the level of individual organizations ('high-reliability organizations'), but increasingly also at the cooperative level in so-called 'high-reliability networks'. Open questions arise in particular with regard to management forms and the design of activities between such high-reliability organizations.

Exemplary chair publication: Berthod, O., Grothe-Hammer, M., Müller-Seitz, G., Raab, J., Sydow, J. (2017): From High-Reliability Organizations to High-Reliability Networks: The Dynamics of Network Governance in the Face of Emergency, in: Journal of Public Administration, Research and Theory, 27(2): 352-371.

  • Innovation networks
  • Innovation methods (e.g. Design Thinking)
  • Digital transformation
  • Business models
  • Open Innovation

Innovation and networking: How individuals and organizations benefit from networking is also relevant with regard to the analysis of innovation networks and clusters. Open questions exist here, for example, with regard to the dynamics of innovation processes, effects across several analysis levels (individual - group - organization - network - cluster) or with regard to the design of cooperation (e.g. the promotion of strong vs. weak relationships). Interesting questions here would be, for example, how new cooperation concepts in the case of changed mobility or resilience to external shocks (e.g. disruptive technologies) should be designed.

Exemplary chair publication: Lange, K., Sydow, J., Müller-Seitz, G., Windeler, A. (2013): Financing Innovations in Uncertain Networks – Roadmap Gap Filling in the Semiconductor Industry, in: Research Policy, 42(39): 647-661.

 

Innovation methods: The generation of innovations and the associated promotion of individual and collective creativity is of central importance for the competitiveness of companies. Therefore, a closer examination of innovation methods makes sense for being able to design innovation processes more purposefully. Depending on the context, both classical (such as brainstorming or the stage-gate process) and more recent approaches (e.g. design thinking, Lego Serious Play or nudge management) can be considered.

Exemplary chair publication: Müller-Seitz, G., Weiss, W. (2019): Strategien zum Umgang mit der digitalen Transformation… aus der Sicht eines mittelständischen „Hidden Champions“. Vahlen.

 

Digital transformation: Digital transformation covers virtually all relevant areas of life and work, which is why an examination of this topic is of crucial importance for companies. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that not only technological questions, such as the pursuit of a promising technology option, are relevant. Rather, their effects should also be considered in order to be able to derive adequate recommendations for action in this respect (e.g. questions relating to personnel management, organization, innovation management, etc.).

Exemplary chair publication: Lingnau, V., Müller-Seitz, G., Roth, S. (Hrsg. 2017): Management der digitalen Transformation: Interdisziplinäre theoretische Perspektiven und praktische Ansätze. Vahlen.

Business models: Changing trends or needs often require companies to adapt existing or create new business models to differentiate between existing market structures and product and service offerings. The business models of the companies concerned should therefore be reflected, especially against the background of the introduction of Industry 4.0 into production, and also against the background of a hitherto lacking consideration of business models related to inter-organizational networks. In order to do justice to this development, business model innovations with regard to current intra- and inter-organizational cooperations are often relevant.

Exemplary chair publication: Müller-Seitz, G., Zühlke, D., Braun, T., Gorecky, D., Thielen, T. (2018). Netzwerkbasierte Geschäftsmodellinnovationen – Das Beispiel der Industrie 4.0-Anlage SmartFactoryKL. Die Unternehmung. Die Unternehmung 72(2), 146-168.

 

Open Innovation: The term Open Innovation primarily refers to the opening of innovation processes across organizational boundaries. Both the internal organizational precautions - e.g. the introduction of agile management or the concept of absorptive capacity - and the design of activities across organizational boundaries should be taken into account. The exchange with cooperation partners can include individuals (e.g. in the case of lead users), groups of individuals (e.g. in crowdsourcing) or organizations (e.g. in the case of innovation networks).

Exemplary chair publication: Corsten, H., Gössinger, R., Müller-Seitz, G., Schneider, H. (2016): Grundlagen des Technologie- und Innovationsmanagement. 2. Aufl. Vahlen.

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