Digitalization at WHU

Leading the way in digital development and thinking.

Digital @ WHU

How is digitalization implemented at WHU?

Since the inception of WHU, breaking the mold and looking towards the future has been an integral part of the school’s pioneering attitude and identity. Alongside WHU’s key characteristics of performance, practical relevance, international exposure, and personal development, technology plays a key role in driving its position as a top German business school. At the forefront of trends, research, and developments, WHU ensures that it consistently contributes intellectually, in methodology, and to thought leadership focused on digital themes. WHU enriches face-to-face learning with digital means and tools to offer the best learning experience for students.

News & Stories

Generating Business Models with Generative AI

Generating Business Models with Generative AI

New AI Tool LeanStartupAgent helps companies and founders to identify and evaluate possible innovation opportunities

Volunteering CIOs and IT Professionals

Volunteering CIOs and IT Professionals

A new study analyzes the challenges and the potentials of volunteering in IT

Five Questions for SPECTER Automation

Five Questions for SPECTER Automation

WHU startup provides construction industry with innovative, digital solutions


Center & Labs at WHU

Cutting edge research –
Reacting to a rapidly changing digital environment.

Center of Digitalization
The Center of Digitalization, headed by Professor Stefan Spinler, acts as a platform for WHU faculty with an emphasis on teaching and research in all areas of digitalization to enable close integration of theory and practice.
Digital Research Design Lab
The digital research design lab is fostering innovation and new methodology in the field of research. The group of faculty members joined forces to spearhead, test, and drive the use of new research tools at WHU.
One-Button Studio (OBS)
WHU’s new OBS serves two purposes: Firstly, it offers the ideal teaching environment for a full synchronous online lecture with a high degree of interaction. Secondly, it offers, an easy-to-use recording setup that can be used by anyone without any previous video production experience to produce high-quality video content.
Virtual Reality Lab
Supported by the Schneider Foundation and maintained by Professor Christina Günther, the Lab is used for research purposes and provides an experimental space. The Lab enables the development and administration of VR-based training, the organization of VR meetings, and prolonged studies may help researchers in the field of VR and behavioral economics both methodologically and practically.
Video Lab
Hosted by WHU’s video department, the Video Lab is the creative hub for all digital content and videos. The content produced here serves marketing as well as teaching purposes.
Finance Lab
The WHU Finance Lab offers twelve computers equipped with the latest ‘Eikon’ software, allowing students to process trading simulations with real-time data and analyze stock market data. Work in the lab provides content for future lectures, but also assists research at WHU.

Definition –

What is meant by digitalization?

In its traditional sense, digitalization relates to the conversion of analogue values into digital formats. The digitalization of companies means that digital technologies allow the development of optimized or new processes, products, services, or even business models. This creates new revenue and value creation potential. However, the term digitalization is often used as a synonym for digital revolution, digital transformation, or digital disruption. 

"Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to transform a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a fully digitally enabled business." (Source: Professor Spinler, based on Gartner 2019)

Digitalization increasingly encompasses all areas of life and work. Thus, the digital transformation and digital changes we see within both society and the economy, but also in science and education, are now ever-present. In the 20th century, information technology (IT) was still used primarily for automation and optimization, modernizing the home and workplace. Computer networks and software products such as office programs and Enterprise Resource Planning systems were an important driver of digital change. 

At the beginning of the 21st century, disruptive technologies and innovative business models move in. Digitalization now stands for autonomy, flexibility, individuality, leading into the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as digital disruption or Enterprise 4.0.

The digitalization of the economy in particular, is bringing about fundamental changes: new ways of scaling and distributing resources, information, digital workplaces, or the fusion of the virtual world and reality to transform entire companies, sectors, and industries. At the same time, the producing industries are transformed by developments like Smart Factory concepts, robotics, digital process chains, Internet of Things (IoT), or 3D printing. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cloud Computing also enable new ways and applications of data analytics. Through digital devices such as data glasses, virtual reality headsets or gesture control, also the world of meetings, training, and entertainment have been fundamentally changed and digitalized. Electronic purchasing and distribution platforms, social networking solutions or virtual customer profiles and personalized apps, enable completely new sales processes and opportunities.

The progressive upheaval caused by digitalization is a hot topic and not free of criticism. In particular, the developments with regard to artificial intelligence and machine learning raise questions of technical, informational, and business ethics. 

Where does digitalization provide added value or result in a loss of personal and informational autonomy? What are the opportunities and risks of the increased dependence on IT and IT companies? Where does the responsibility lie for the consumers of digital goods and services? In addition to business world, dealing with the opportunities and consequences of digital change and the digitalization of the economy in the 21st century, becomes increasingly more significant for other fields like law, medicine, sociology, and psychology.

Research & Publications

Our knowledge base – Generating thought leadership through research and publications.

WHU is home to an expert faculty whereby professors conduct a diverse range of projects, studies, and release leading publications addressing and answering relevant questions on the topics of digitalization in all areas and sectors of management.

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics

No influence of simple moral awareness cues on cheating behaviour in an online experiment

Huynh, T. L. D., Stratmann, P., Rilke, R. (2024), in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Vol. 108
Journal of Management Studies

Opportunity or threat?

Van Doorn, S., Georgakakis, D., Oehmichen, J., Reimer, M. (2023), in Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 60 (7)
European Journal of Operational Research

Dynamic multi-period vehicle routing with touting

Keskin, M., Branke, J., Deineko, V., Strauss, A. (2023), in European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 310 (1)
IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation

A novel evolutionary algorithm for energy efficient scheduling in flexible job shops

Ding, J., Dauzère-Pérès, S., Shen, L., Lü, Z. (2023), in IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Vol. 27 (5)
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment

Assessing economic, social and ecological impact of parcel-delivery interventions in integrated simulation

Bell, L., Spinler, S., Winkenbach, M., Müller, V. (2023), in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Vol. 121
Marketing Letters

The impact of touchscreen devices on consumers’ choice confidence and purchase likelihood

Hattula, J., Herzog, W., Dhar, R. (2023), in Marketing Letters, Vol. 34 (1)
European Journal of Operational Research

Risk management of supply chain disruptions

Berger, N. K. L., Schulze-Schwering, S., Long, E., Spinler, S. (2023), in European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 304 (3)
Business Horizons

How can family-owned Mittelstand firms use their unique resources to master the age of digitalization?

de Groote, J., Soluk, J., Laue, S.-L., Heck, M., Kammerlander, N. (2023), in Business Horizons, Vol. 66 (1)
Work, Aging and Retirement

Getting ready for the future, is it worth it?

Fasbender, U., Gerpott, F., Dietz, L. (2023), in Work, Aging and Retirement, Vol. 9 (4)
Technological Forecasting & Social Change

The impact of technology on the future of football – a global Delphi study

Beiderbeck, D., Evans, N., Frevel, N., Schmidt, S. (2023), in Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Vol. 187
Journal of Medical Internet Research

Effects of hospital digitization on clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction: nationwide multiple regression analysis across German hospitals

Von Wedel, P., Hagist, C., Liebe, J.-D., Esdar, M., Hübner, U., Pross, C. (2022), Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 24 (11), e40124
Corsten, H. & Roth, S. (eds.), Handbuch Digitalisierung

Elektronische B2C Marktplätze als Vertriebskanal in Deutschland: eine Taxonomie

Köhli, K. C., Fassnacht, M. (2022), in: Corsten, H. & Roth, S. (eds.), Handbuch Digitalisierung, Vahlen, pp. 569-587
Corsten, H. & Roth, S. (eds.), Handbuch Digitalisierung

Strategic aspects of omnichannel business

Schmitz, A.-K., Fassnacht, M., Göring-Lensing-Hebben, K., Fiebig, O. (2022), in: Corsten, H. & Roth, S. (eds.), Handbuch Digitalisierung, Vahlen, pp. 843-856
Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit: Transformation von Geschäftsmodellen und Unternehmenspraxis, Springer Gabler

Digitale Lösungen mit Potenzial: Impulse und Beispiele zur Förderung von nachhaltigem Konsum

Schmitz, A.-K., Platzek, F., Göring-Lensing-Hebben, K. (2022), in: Bodemann, M., Fellner, W., Just, V. (eds.), Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit – Transformation von Geschäftsmodellen und Unternehmenspraxis, Springer Gabler, pp. 189–205
REthinking: Finance

Wer zuletzt lacht ...: die digitale Transformation in Familienunternehmen und deren Finanzfunktion

Rittmann, U., Glaum, M., Von Hirschhausen, G. (2021), REthinking: Finance, Vol. 5, pp. 4-9
Management Science

Do individual investors trade on investment-related internet postings?

Ammann, M., Schaub, N. (2021), Management Science, Vol. 67 (9), pp. 5679-5702.
Proceedings from the 2021 AMA Winter Academic Conference

Demystifying disruption, mystifying management: top executives' private narratives of digital transformation

Jensen, O., Hemker, A., Hering, M. (2021), Proceedings from the 2021 AMA Winter Academic Conference, pp. 200-203.

Pricing through health apps generated data - digital dividend as a game changer: discrete choice experiment

Heidel, A., Hagist, C., Schlereth, C. (2021), PLOS ONE, Vol. 16 (7), e0254786.
Finance Transformation in der VUCA-Welt, Erich Schmidt Verlag

Wissenschaft – Digitalisierung und betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Lehre

Glaum, M. (2021), in Finance Transformation in der VUCA-Welt, Erich Schmidt Verlag, pp. 76-92.
Technological Forecasting & Social Change

Digital entrepreneurship in developing countries: the role of institutional voids

Soluk, J., Kammerlander, N., Darwin, S. (2021), Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Vol. 170, 120876.
European Journal of Information Systems

Digital transformation in family-owned Mittelstand firms: a dynamic capabilities perspective

Soluk, J., Kammerlander, N. (2021), European Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 30 (6), pp. 676-711.
R&D Management

Exogenous shocks and the adaptive capacity of family firms: exploring behavioral changes and digital technologies in the COVID‐19 pandemic

Soluk, J., Kammerlander, N., De Massis, A. (2021), R&D Management, Vol. 51 (4), pp. 364-380.
Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice

Family influence and digital business model innovation: the enabling role of dynamic capabilities

Soluk, J., Miroshnychenko, I., Kammerlander, N., De Massis, A. (2021), Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 45 (4), pp. 867–905.
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing

Digital due diligence activities and goal setting in equity crowdfunding: exploring the differences between novice and experienced investors

Riar, F., Hienerth, C., Berg Jensen, M. (2021), International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, Vol. 13 (1), pp. 1-26.
Controlling & Management Review: Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management

"Jeder im Unternehmen muss digitale Fähigkeiten haben": Juan Bernabé-Moreno im Dialog mit Utz Schäffer

Schäffer, U., Bernabé-Moreno, J. (2021), Controlling & Management Review: Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management, Vol. 65 (8), pp. 16-21.
Controlling & Management Review: Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management

"So viel Blackbox ist KI eigentlich nicht". Philipp Plank im Dialog mit Utz Schäffer

Schäffer, U., Plank, P. (2021), Controlling & Management Review: Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management, Vol. 65 (2), pp. 18-23.

21st century sports: how technologies will change sports in the digital age

Schmidt, S. (2020), Springer.
The International Journal of Logistics Management

Digital transformation at logistics service providers: barriers, success factors, and leading practices

Cichosz, M., Wallenburg, C. M., Knemeyer, M. (2020), The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 31 (2), pp. 209-238.
Controlling & Management Review: Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management

"Digitalisierung ist kein Selbstzweck, sie muss sich rechnen": Martin Erfurt und Christian Hasenclever im Dialog mit Utz Schäffer

Schäffer, U., Erfurt, M., Hasenclever, C. (2020), Controlling & Management Review : Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management, Vol. 64 (1), pp. 16-21.
Controlling & Management Review: Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management

"Datenqualität zu sichern, ist kein Spaziergang": Ute Wolf im Dialog mit Utz Schäffer

Schäffer, U., Wolf, U. (2020), Controlling & Management Review : Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management, Vol. 64 (2), pp. 14-19.
Journal of Management Control

Digitalization in management accounting and control

Möller, K., Schäffer, U., Verbeeten, F. (2020), Journal of Management Control, Vol. 31 (1-2), pp. 1-8.

Motivating innovation – Faculty and practitioners driving next-gen thinking.

Our expert and diverse faculty are actively engaged in research contributing not only to the curriculum, but intellectually to the wider research and business community. They consistently contribute to thought leadership regarding digital themes.

Professor Holger Ernst
Professor Holger Ernst
Chair of Technology and Innovation Management
Intellectual Property Management
New Product Development
Professor Dries Faems
Professor Dries Faems
Chairholder of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technological Transformation
WHU Innovation Ecosystem Hub
Innovation and Organization
Technological Transformation
Professor Christina Günther
Professor Christina Günther
Chairholder of IHK-Chair of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Industrial Organization
Field Experiments in Organizations
Hidden Champions
Assistant Professor Irina Heimbach
Assistant Professor Irina Heimbach
Digitalization, Marketing, and Sales Group
Digital Marketing
Information Systems
Professor Christoph Hienerth
Professor Christoph Hienerth
Chair of Entrepreneurship and Creativity
Social Entrepreneurship
New Product Development
Corporate Entrepreneurship​​​​
Professor Arnd Huchzermeier
Professor Arnd Huchzermeier
Chair of Production Management
Management-Quality and Industrial Excellence
Future Supply Chains in the Consumer Goods Industry
Global Supply Chain and Risk Management
Professor Ove Jensen
Professor Ove Jensen
Chairholder of Sales Management and B2B Marketing
B2B Marketing
Personal Selling
Sales Management
Professor Nadine Kammerlander
Professor Nadine Kammerlander
Chair of Family Business
Governance in Family Firms
Dr. Peter Kreutter
Dr. Peter Kreutter
Director Development
Digitalization in the Non-Profit Sector
Professor Miriam Müthel
Professor Miriam Müthel
Chairholder of Organizational Behavior
International Management
Organizational Behavior
Business Ethics
Professor Serden Ozcan
Professor Serden Ozcan
Chair of Innovation and Corporate Transformation
Evolution of Firms
Competitive Strategies and Strategic Renewal
Growth Ecosystems
Professor (interim) Martin Prause
Professor (interim) Martin Prause
Economics Group Universität Koblenz/Landau
Machine Learning
Business Simulation
Data Science
Artificial Intelligence
Professor Utz Schäffer
Professor Utz Schäffer
Director of Institute for Management Accounting and Control
Strategy Execution
Management Controlling
Management Governance
Professor Sascha L. Schmidt
Professor Sascha L. Schmidt
Chair and Head of the Center for Sports and Management (CSM)
Digital Transformation
Sports Innovation
Impact of New Technologies in Sports
Professor Christian Schlereth
Professor Christian Schlereth
Chair of Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing
Digital services
Energy pricing and consumption
Price Management
Professor Liji Shen
Professor Liji Shen
Chair of Operations Management
Approximation Algorithms
Mathematical Programming
Professor Stefan Spinler
Professor Stefan Spinler
Chair of Logistics Management
Real Options Analysis
Analytics Edge
Logistics & Supply Chain Management
Professor Arne Strauss
Professor Arne Strauss
Mercator Endowed Chair of Sustainable Urban Transport
Professor Carl Marcus Wallenburg
Professor Carl Marcus Wallenburg
Chair of Logistics and Services Management
Logistics Management
Logistics Services Providers
Supply Chain Controlling
Risk Management in Supply Chains

Theses – A driven community tackling digital themes.

Digitalization plays an important role at WHU whether in research, publications, or learning environment. Students contribute further by pinpointing core issues at the climactic point of their studies. Every year, a large number of theses are written in the field of digitalization. These include topics such as:

  • Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and its applications in business
  • Blockchain technology and its implications for businesses, e.g., in the area of finance or supply chain management
  • Economics of digital currencies
  • Technological disruption, digital transformation, digital business models in different industries and company sizes
  • Industry 4.0
  • Digitalization in Marketing, e.g., social media and influencer marketing, voice control assistants, digital brand equity, AI driven marketing
  • E-commerce and emerging online markets
  • The development of eSports
  • Robo-advisory
  • Electro-mobility and autonomous driving, e.g., autonomous trucks in supply chain management
  • 3D printing technologies
  • Demystifying big data
  • Business opportunities and applications of VR, AR, online gaming
  • Data protection legislation
  • Digital services

Taking innovation into their own hands –
WHU students shaping the future of digitalization.

WHU Founders' Conference
The IdeaLab! – WHU Founders' Conference is one of the leading conferences for startups and entrepreneurship in Europe, organized entirely by 12 WHU students. Taking place for the 23rd time in 2024, it is known for providing a platform for the exchange of ideas and visions between students, academics, entrepreneurs and VCs. Participants value the high-quality networking opportunities and the significant connections that can be made here, such as the startup DailyDeal, which received its first funding here and was later sold to Google for more than 100 million dollars.
Business Meets Tech
WHU's Tech Initiative
Business Meets Tech aims to connect the tech and business world on campus through internal education (two accredited tech tracks in Applied Product Development and Applied Data Science and workshops): in particular by organizing a 24-hour hackathon as a pre-event of IdeaLab! (recently attended by 150 students from all over Europe), supporting the digitalization of processes at WHU: e.g., the development of Moodle 2.0, managing VallerLunch, and building a network (connections to top-tier tech universities and monthly events).
Independent TED-Event
TEDxWHU provides a platform for revolutionary, inspiring and creative thinkers. It is designed to stimulate dialog through a TED-like experience. TEDxWHU is an intensive, full-day conference with numerous speakers. Between speeches, the conference offers networking opportunities and a Meet & Eat where participants can engage directly with the speakers. The theme of the 10th conference in February 2024 is "Risks - A Growth Catalyst?".
WHU Inside Business
WHU Inside Business interviews company executives and top managers on issues relating to digitalization, supply chain management, entrepreneurship, and finance. Since the start of the initiative in 2016, over 30 videos on various topics have already been made available by the students, who work closely with WHU professors and the school's video departments.
WHU Web3 Technology Club
The club looks beyond the hype and buzzwords surrounding Web3. Web3 is seen as a groundbreaking industry with extreme growth potential. We believe that Europe, as an economic hub, should seize the new opportunity to create a competitive tech industry that can keep up with the dominant players from China and the US. The club's mission is to bring together bright and motivated people who want to help shape the industry and pursue a career in this field. The aim of founding the club is to create a "Silicon Valley"-like environment for Web3 companies in Germany and Europe.

Digitalization and business – Leading discussions and ideas for tomorrow.

What is the role of the CDO in a modern organization? What is it like to work for a global company like Facebook? What are best practices for business during times of digital transformation? 

The student club WHU Inside Business offers a dedicated channel to digitalization and its surrounding questions, tackling important topics and providing insights through interviews with industry experts and key figures.

Programs and Modules

Education in the digital age – Transforming the curriculum with cutting-edge knowledge.

WHU professors teach the latest content including digital advancements relevant to their respective area of expertise, such as Fintech in finance courses or automated supply chains in supply chain management courses. WHU offers dedicated modules on digital topics that complement the main curriculum, such as coding basics in our Bachelor and Master programs, through to Machine Learning in the Kellogg-WHU EMBA, and a variety of guest lecturers providing expert knowledge on the latest digital topics. Addressed throughout the curriculum for all study programs at WHU, digitalization is an important topic with dedicated modules, workshops, and electives on digital themes that accompany studies.


Learning Environment

Extracurricular and extraordinary – Bringing technology to the classroom.

In the Classroom
In the Classroom
Lecture halls are equipped with the latest video capture technology for recording lectures or guest speakers, facilitating video conferences in a professional and interactive way, and the ability to capture student presentations for later analysis.
In Self-Study
In Self-Study
Face-to-face study can be digitally supported by WHU’s learning platform Moodle, used by professors to provide course material and readings to the students or to enrich the in-class part with additional online elements, like videos, quizzes, or online assignments.
In our Library
In our Library
The WHU library has one of the best-equipped databases with more than 50,000 e-books and 64,000 journal titles available online. With more than 70 databases on offer and working closely with professors to ensure all materials related to courses are available online, the library maintains around 80% of its volume and content online.


Want to know more? –
Contact our Center of Digitalization.
Professor Stefan Spinler
Professor Stefan Spinler
Professor of Logistics Management Academic Director Center of Digitalization
Eva Kohl
Eva Kohl
Assistant Dean Director of Digital Strategy