Our mission is to resolve the empirical puzzle of how behaviors of actors that constitute contemporary forms of coordinating contribute to the efficiency and innovativeness in organizations. In our research, we particularly focus on the efficacy of actors’ behaviors in organizations as well as the dynamic interplay of behaviors of multiple actors. The contemporary forms of coordinating in which those actors are involved are, for instance, agile projects, informal networks and management systems.
To fulfill our mission we apply multiple theoretical approaches, which serve as tools to answer our research questions and to better understand our data. We particularly focus on the following concepts and theoretical approaches:
- Ambidexterity: Ambidexterity theory provides a means to understand the dilemma between exploration and exploitation on different levels of analysis. Ambidexterity is a particularly valuable concept to explain how contemporary forms of coordinating result in, both, efficiency and innovativeness, and it emphasizes the complexities associated with accomplishing both ends.
- Routines and process theory: Recent research on organizational routines has found that routines typically accomplish, both, standardization and flexibility. Hence, this stream of research is particularly suitable to approach our mission, because it also captures the repetitive patterns of action involved in most contemporary forms of coordinating.
- Social networks: Social networks can be regarded as a form of coordinating which is used to accomplish efficiency as well as innovativeness. Social networks theory particularly foregrounds the interplay between formally designed and informally emerging structures, which both constitute coordination in organizations.
- Knowledge management: Knowledge management theory provides a means to disentangle how different forms of knowledge provide a basis for the attainment of efficiency and innovativeness, and at the same time captures the knowledge flows that emerge in contemporary forms of coordinating.
- Organizational behavior: Organizational behavior explains how people behave in organizations and what the motives for their behavior are. We use especially motivation theories, coping, stress and constructs which describe individual requirements like competencies or traits to explain how individuals deal with a changing environment.
Our methodological approaches particularly involve case studies in organizations such as automotive and high-tech engineering companies. In order to answer our research questions, we apply methods such as interviewing, observations and the analysis of archival data. We complement our methods with quantitative surveys or sequence analysis. We regard the triangulation of methods as suitable to thoroughly disentangle empirical phenomena.
While we also value comparisons across companies, we believe taking the idiosyncrasies of firms into consideration is important. We understand ourselves as a knowledge hub that operates in one of the technically most advanced regions in Germany. We value interaction with companies in our region and believe that knowledge generation is a mutual learning process involving companies and universities. This approach enables us to provide conceptual solutions for practical challenges such as digitization, agility and industry 4.0, which then provide value-adding contributions for the scientific communities in which we engage.