Selected Research Projects

Outstanding research output can not only be displayed by the means of publications or awards. This page presents activities that significantly contribute to the WHU research by other means.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, financial institutions across the world had to pay more than 100 billion dollars for fines and settlements. The systemic character of the wrongdoing revealed that failure was not primarily due to single individual perpetrators, but due to a widespread mislead corporate culture within the industry. In consequence banks lost institutional trust and regulators, politicians, media as well as industry representatives called for a culture change within the banking industry. From a scientific point of view, cultural interventions, i.e. specific measures used to directly

influence the corporate culture, are seen as critical and it remains unclear whether or not culture change can actually be managed. The research project “Culture change in the financial industry: The role of rewards for culture change thus addresses the questions if and how financial institutions’ corporate culture can be changed via the reward system. In this vein, the research project documents the changes in the reward system since 2008/2009 and conducts interviews with critical employees to understand the employees subjective perceptions of the changes in the reward system and their relation to the current corporate culture.

Duration of Project

2016 - 2018

Project Management

  • Professor Miriam Müthel (WHU)

Sino-German business collaboration increasingly accounts for a significant part of both Chinese and German foreign investment. However, collaborating companies encounter many problems. Most critically, initial distrust among the business partners due to cross-cultural stereotyping and perceived values dissimilarity threatens knowledge exchange so that employees are found reluctant to share their unique knowledge. To increase innovation and performance in Sino-German alliances, it is thus important to understand the motivational drivers of knowledge sharing and to interpret the trust/distrust mechanisms in China and in Germany. For this aim, we explore cultural explanations for the differences between Chinese and Germans in their knowledge sharing motives and their processes of trust/distrust development and derive a joint model to depict intercultural knowledge sharing in Sino-German teams.

A lot of companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, nowadays have problems in dealing with innovation processes on their own, due to the shortness of innovation cycles and the complexity of the innovation subjects. The necessity to bring together complementary knowledge and corresponding capabilities within deployment and cooperations often results from their concentration upon the key expertises. This is mostly executed in networks of companies and service providers.

These cooperations are increasingly confronted with specific demands that do not only effect the willingness and the ability to collaborate but the availability of the required competencies and the suitable technical infrastructure as well, especially IT-networking abilities.

The concept of the so-called "Smart Networks" provides an approach to the systematical design of such networks and their continuous development. Due to their well-balanced mix of organisational willingness to (co-)operate, professional competence and IT infrastructure, they are especially predestined for a collaboration in innovation projects. The concept is also suitable to support dynamic or elusive networks that are willing to efficiently work together. Smart Networks have the so-called hyper-linking-functionality within the fields of organization, knowledge transfer and IT-networking. They are therefore considered as "incubators for innovation".

Within the frame of SmartNets, a project funded by the European Commission Community Research 7th Framework Programme, the chair of Business Information Science and Information Management has taken over the task to develop a concept for such smart networks, called "SmartNet Guide", based upon existing international innovation and production networks. In addition, the chair is responsible for the coordination of all acitivities concerning the dissemination of the project results in order to make them available for small and medium-sized companies. Upon termination of the project in 2014, there will be tool available, that is considered to accompany enterprises as their analytical and instruction instrument on their way to a qualified partnership within knowledge-oriented, added value networks.

Project Management

  • Professor Meike Tilebein (Center for Management Research (DITF-MR) of the German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF))
  • Professor Thomas Fischer (WHU)
  • Assistant Professor Sven-V. Rehm (WHU) 

Duration of Project

2011 - 2014