Business Administration and Economics

Business Administration

The Institute for Production and Industrial Information Management, directed by Professor Stephan Zelewski, is conducting research as part of a joint project organised by the leading-edge cluster “EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr”. In its main topics and collaborative projects, the cluster’s goal is to secure innovative tools for future-proof and sustainable logistics planning.
As part of the joint project OrGoLo, “Organisatorische Innovationen mit Good Governance in Logistik-Netzwerken” (Organisational Innovations with Good Governance in Logistics Networks), the chair is using case-based reasoning, a novel knowledge management concept taken from ­research into artificial intelligence, to develop a computer-aided intelligent tool for the responsible design of international value-creation chains. The approach taken is new in that the former conventional, largely commercially based value-creation networks are enriched by the novel ­dimension of “supply chain governance”. The governance perspective is intended to facilitate responsible creation of international supply chains in an effective and efficient manner, not merely from an economic viewpoint, but also and primarily from that of good governance.
The EffizienzCluster has five years of funding and the current 27 joint projects combined have a volume of over 100 million euros, approximately 40 million of which is provided by the Federal government.
The team at Professor Thomas Retzmann’s Chair for Business and Didactics of Economics is significantly involved in a joint project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, focusing on the improvement of commercial expertise among prospective skilled and management employees in China. The aim is to optimise the effectiveness and efficiency of work processes by helping those involved in these processes to understand commercial and economic relationships, thereby enabling them to act competently in practical situations. The tasks undertaken by the chair include development, academic supervision and evaluation of a workshop concept for trainer certification, analysis and specification of success factors, and identification of specific obstacles and impediments to exporting trainer certification. The chair also develops transferable methods and instruments for systematic service development as part of the internationalisation of education services and in relation to trainer certification in the available education programme.



Experimental economic research centres on the decision-making behaviour of real people. The Chair of Quantitative Economic Policy of Professor Jeannette Brosig-Koch collaborates with colleagues from the Universities of Bonn, Göttingen and Magdeburg to investigate how ­individuals behave when they contribute as part of a large group to the supply of public goods. Important examples of public goods include ­climate protection or social software services like Wikipedia, which are freely accessible and used by the general public. It is frequently the case with these types of public goods that the main actors receive very little compensation for their efforts. Because the real problems encountered in connection with public goods usually affect a large group of people, controlled laboratory tests also require dimensions that are not available in single labs alone. The researchers involved in this DFG (German Research Foundation) project have pooled four laboratories into one large virtual lab, allowing them to observe the decision-making behaviour of large groups of people under laboratory conditions.
Professor Ansgar Belke of the Chair of Macroeconomics is addressing a problem of major practical relevance in his research: how to organise economic and political interaction in Europe to overcome the current crisis and secure the future of the European Union.
European integration brought a wide range of institutions and regulations into existence, making it appropriate for a theoretical and ­empirical analysis of this area to be carried out. In the research undertaken in this field, a link is created between different interdisciplinary ­approaches in order to shine sufficient light on various issues such as analysis of the weighting of votes within the Governing Council of the ECB. The link between political science and empirical economics makes an innovative contribution in this regard. The benefits to practice result, among other things, from a high profile discussion of issues such as raising the visibility of the EU and public awareness of its significance, stimulating an intensive examination of the EU and the Euro, and the transfer of knowledge in relation to the economic aspects of monetary union.


Computer Science

By embarking on a research programme ­focussing on education standards in business informatics, the Chair of Professor Torsten Brinda is embracing a far-reaching challenge: compared to specialised didactic research into the core school subjects mathematics, German and first foreign language, the development of competency models in computer science is still in its infancy. In particular, there are currently no theoretical foun­dations or empirical investigations relating to the difficulty of business informatics tasks. The aim of the research project “Merkmale und Dimensionen informatischer Kompetenz in der Sekundarstufe” (Characteristics and Dimensions of Informatics Expertise in Secondary Education) is on the development and evaluation of a scheme of criteria that make it possible to assess the expertise demanded by informatics tasks. Difficulty criteria include, for example, the degree of formalisation of the task or its learning objectives. Within a three-part study, the team of researchers is basing its work on the data derived from the “Informatik-Biber”, an annual competition for schoolchildren that was created by an initiative of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (German Informatics Society), the Fraunhofer ICT Group and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The results of the study enable a criteria-oriented assessment of the difficulty of existing tasks, strategic design of new tasks for learning, training, diagnosis and evaluation, as well as definition of typical pupil profiles as the basis of a sound performance assessment in relation to informatics tasks.
The quality of a software system is critically dependent on its architecture. It should not merely fulfil the demands of the design, but also support the future development of the software system. The DFG project GenEDA sees Professor Michael Goedicke, Chair for Software System Specifications, together with Professor Maritta Heisel (also of the University of Duisburg-Essen) investigate the relationship between specifications and architecture description with the aim of developing guidelines for creating optimum architectures. The core of the research concerns the concept of design alternatives for optimised architecture based on quality requirements. An iterative process is employed to observe systematic requirements in the area of security and scalability, and these are then compared with various templates for software architecture. Depending on the areas in which the quality requirements have their focus, suitable templates for the desired functions of the software system are recommended. The proposed development process also includes refinements and analysis of the identified design alternatives, thereby leading to a controlled process that assists developers to strategically identify the best possible solution for the desired software system.


Business Information Systems

The development and implementation of ­innovative business models is an important ­prerequisite for the future viability of business systems. The creative use of information and communication technologies (ICT) frequently plays a central role in this context. The research at Professor Tobias Kollmann’s Chair of e-Business and e-Entrepreneurship therefore focuses on ­scientific investigation of the prerequisites of successful enterprise creation, taking particular account of the potential of ICT, and uses this information to derive constructive guidelines for new entrepreneurs. In the course of a widely ­acclaimed study, Professor Kollmann’s team was able to separately identify the effects of explorative and exploitative innovations on the chances of success of new enterprise start-ups. One example of the successful transfer concept between analysis of start-up practice and feedback into theory is the “netSTART-Award” competition for new ­entrepreneurs. The discussion paper “IKT.Gründungen@Deutschland – Essener Thesen zum E-Entrepreneurship” also received a great deal of political attention for its contribution to improving conditions for ICT entrepreneurs and resulted among other things in Professor Kollmann receiving a personal invitation to the Chancellery from Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The competitiveness of companies is becoming increasingly dependent on information systems. Although they permit significant improvements in efficiency, they also create a level of complexity many businesses find difficult to manage. Effective utilisation of the potential created by information technology in particular requires a joint investigation of software systems and corresponding organisational action systems. To do this, it is advisable for interactions between the information system and action system to be presented in such a way that IT experts and technical staff have a common working basis. To support a coordinated analysis and development of information systems and the corresponding action system, the Chair of Professor Ulrich Frank developed a method for multiperspective enterprise modelling. It ­permits a clear graphical representation of the deployment of IT in businesses, supports diverse analysis scenarios and facilitates generation of software from ­models. The method is now being adapted and tested for use in hospitals as part of one current project. Another project aims at supporting the development and management of extensive IT security concepts.