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Externally Funded Projects since 2007

P40:Service Networks in the Aviation Industry”

The German aviation industry is in the headlines: Continued and repeated industrial disputes, security gaps and low cost carriers. At the same time, business research has revealed a considerable organizational fragmentation of Human Resource Management (HRM) within service production networks. Against this background, our research project examines the service networks in the German aviation industry by focusing on inter-organizational HRM practices and labor relations. Research questions include the following: How does management enact and shape the interorganizational dimension of work in networked value-creation? How do networked firms sustain the consistency of HR practices within the tension of collaboration and competition? What are the consequences for labor relations? With the aim of examining these questions empirically, the project deploys a qualitative approach to network research, in which data collection and analysis starts with the core firms of the service networks and then continues to include the typical business-to-business and management-labor relationships. The German aviation industry is comprised of airport authorities, airlines, and various ground handling services from security to aircraft main­tenance. The research basically aims at delivering insights into the management of service networks by examining whether and how the various configurations of interorganizational value creation allow or constrain an interorganizational dimension of various HRM functions.

  • Commissioned by: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung (HBS), Düsseldorf
  • Period: 01/2015 bis 12/2016
  • Award Holders: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow, PD Dr. Markus Helfen
  • Researcher: PD Dr. Markus Helfen
  • Research Partner: Prof. Dr. Carsten Wirth (Hochschule Darmstadt)

P39:  Building up the technology platform „Smart Transfer“

The technology platform “Smart Transfer” aims at the development and commerciali­zation of products based on piezoelectric ceramics. Together with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (IKTS, IAP, IWU) and German SME’s, the many ways of applying these materials as well as their high degree of technological maturity are to be turned into commercial opportunities. The research focuses on answering the following questions: 1) How ought conceptualize interorganizational capabilities be conceptualized and operationalized? 2) How can the emergence of interorganizational capabilities be systematically promoted?

  • Commissioned by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (funding program „Zwanzig20 – Partnerschaft für Innovation“)
  • Period: 3/2014 – (expected) 12/2016
  • Award Holder: Prof. Jörg Sydow, Dr. Andreas Schönecker (Fraunhofer IKTS), in cooperation with Prof. Georg Schreyögg
  • Researchers: Waldemar Kremser, Claudia Walther

P38: "Entrepreneurial Network University" (EXIST IV – Start-up support program)

The Freie Universität Berlin and the Charité won a funding on 2013/09/01 under the EXIST IV competition of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. With the concept "Entrepreneurial Network University", the Freie Universität and the Charité will jointly strengthen the start-up support as well as the teaching on entrepreneurship issues within the next 5 years. Prof. Dr. Sydow and Dr. Timo Braun will take the responsibiltiy for the accompanying research and in particular co-ordinate the development and implementation of the networking concept.

  • Commissioned by: Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy
  • Period: 4/2013 - (expected) 4/2018
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dr. Thomas Schmidt
  • Publication:

Sydow, J./Schmidt, T./Braun, T. (2015): Business Model Change and Network Creation: Evidence from Berlin Start-ups. In: Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, Vancouver, Canada.

P37: "From HRO to HRN? Coordinating Organizations in the Face of Emergencies"

Unexpected emergencies like disease outbreaks or relief operations following a plane crash kindle in a renewed interest in how individuals, organizations and societies actually face such crises. For management and organizational researchers, this raises a crucial question: how can organizations effectively face challenges the have not been prepared for? In business research, studies on high reliability organizations (HRO) feature prominently and focus upon how organizations deal with crisis situations. This project builds on this ground and advances research on HRO in two ways. First, HRO studies have so far had a focus on single organizations. However, as large-scale emergencies illustrate, collaboration among HROs is frequently a vital requisite. Hence our first objective is: to explore the range of possible constellations of HROs in the face of significant emergencies towards the formation and coordination of High Reliability Networks (HRNs). The focus here is on forms of formal governance, including different forms of network governance. The second objective is to develop a practice-based framework informed by structuration theory that would take into account the peculiarities and contextualities of HROs/HRNs. Focusing in particular upon the actual coordinative practices in which actors engage across organizations, we aim at substantiating research on network genesis and evolution in settings with extreme uncertainties. In the last year of the project we will compare the implementation of the German and US incident control systems.

  • Commissioned by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Period: 10/2013 - 10/2016
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researchers: Dr. Olivier Berthod, Michael Grothe-Hammer, in cooperation with Prof. Gordon Müller-Seitz (TU Kaiserslautern)
  • Publication:

Berthod, O./Grothe-Hammer, M./Sydow, J. (2015): Some characteristics of high-reliability networks. In: Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 23 (1): 24-28.

P35: "How do project networks arise and develop? – Comparative case studies"

Various economic sectors are facing an increasing concentration on issues related to temporariness. In particular, projects cutting across organizational contexts, exhibit particular characteristics. Although projects distinguish themselves in their temporariness and institutionalized termination, organizational research shows that projects are at the same time embedded into rather permanent social, temporal and organizational contexts. This is particular true for so-called project networks. This study examines two cases with respect to how invidivual behaviors influence the origination and development of such networks. Special attention is devoted to cooperative behaviors which are decribed by the conceptd of “Project Citizen Behavior" and "Network Citizenship Behavior”. The two project networks will be analyzed for a duration of approximately 1.5 years. In the course of this, qualitative research methods such as participating observations and guideline-based interviews will be applied.

  • Commissioned by: GPM Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement e.V.
  • Period (for the time being): 3/2012 - 12/2013
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researchers: Dipl-Kfm. Timo Braun, Dr. Gordon Müller-Seitz
  • Publications:

Braun, T./Ferreira, A./Sydow, J. (2013): Citizenship behavior and effectiveness in temporary organizations. In: International Journal of Project Management 31 (6): 862-876.

Ferreira, A./Braun, T./Sydow, J. (2013): Citizenship behavior in project-based organizing: Comparing Ger­man and Portuguese project managers. In: International Journal of Human Resource Management 24 (20): 3772-3793.

Braun, T./Müller-Seitz, G./Sydow, J. (2012): Project citizenship behavior? – An explorative analysis at the project-network-nexus. In: Scandinavian Journal of Management 28: 271-284.

P34: "Contract Bargaining on the Way Out? The Consequences of Labor Flexibilization and Associational Fragmentation in Industrial Services”

The research project examines the organizational causes and institutional consequences of a growing "collective bargaining free" zone in Germany. The research centers on a fragmentation hypothesis according to which a network-based reorganization of value creation, crossing industry and firm boundaries creates (new) parallel worlds of collective bargaining. On the firm level, the focus of the project is on the network-based flexibilization of human resource management; on the level of associations, we concentrate on the associational (dis-)integration of employer associations. The main empirical field of the project is industrial services which are characterized by a high labor intensity of value creation, i.e. technical and maintenance services, facility management, and temporary work agencies. In contrast to traditional core segments of the German economy, these service industries are assumed to be illustrative of both a network-based reorganization of value creation and a fragmentation of the German collective bargaining system.

  • Commissioned by: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung (HBS), Düsseldorf
  • Period: 10/2011 3/2014
  • Award holders: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow, Dr. Markus Helfen
  • Researchers: Dr. Markus Helfen, Dipl.-Soz. Manuel Nicklich
  • Publications:

Helfen, M. (2015): Institutionalizing precariousness? The politics of boundary work in legalizing agency work in Germany, 1949–2004.
Organization Studies, 36(10): 1387-1422.

Sydow, J./Frenkel. S. (2013): Labor, risk and uncertainty in global supply networks – Exploratory insights In: Journal of Business Logistics 34 (3): 233-242.

Frenkel, S./Sydow, J. (2011): Institutional conditions for organising decent work in global production networks. In: Sheldon, P./Kim, S./Li, Y./Warner, M. (Hrsg.): China’s Changing Workplace.Routledge. London: 241-258. 

P30: “Practicing Uncertainty in Production Networks and Supply Chains”

9/11, the global financial crisis, Tsunami and the nuclear incident in Fukushima, Japan, or the EHEC crisis in Northern Germany – these disruptive events not only affect human beings in the respective regions, but have global implications in the sense of a “risk society”. One important reason for this is the vulnerability of global production networks and supply chains when faced with the unexpected. It is true that risks as well as uncertainties are being increasingly considered in the literature on supply chain/network management, but the differences between the calculable and the incalculable are hardly taken seriously. This study surveys how these issues of uncertainty are dealt with in the supervisory boards of leading German corporations.

  • Commissioned by: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung (HBS), Düsseldorf
  • Period: 07/11 09/11
  • Award holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dr. Gordon Müller-Seitz

P29: “Best Practices, Methods and Tools in Networked R&D - A Study of Deutsche Telekom Laboratories and Benchmarks from Different Industries”

Knowledge-intensive firms like Deutsche Telekom practice technology and innovation management in sometimes unique ways. In this case, the company has installed a joint venture (T-Labs) with the University of Technology in Berlin, which is embedded in wider networks of innovation. With this organizational arrangement in mind, promising practices, methods and the tools of other knowledge-intensive firms are studied and compared to those of the joint venture.

  • Commissioned by: Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Berlin
  • Period: 04/11 09/11
  • Award holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researchers: Dr. Gordon Müller-Seitz, Dipl.-Kfm. Robert Wagner

P28: “Cooperative Behaviour in Inter-organizational Projects”

The goal of this study is to understand the characteristics, antecedents and consequences of cooperative working behaviour in inter-organizational projects. We draw from the concept of Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) and analyse how this concept may be transferred to an inter-organizational setting. We utilize a sequential mixed-method research design consisting of qualitative semi-structured interviews and a quantitative survey.

  • Commissioned by: GPM Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement e.V.
  • Period: 12/10 05/11
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dipl.-Kfm. Timo Braun

P27: „Strategic Leadership in Heterarchical Networks“

In contrast to other types of interorganizational networks, heterarchical networks are characterized by the lack of a permanent formal leading entity which orchestrates the respective network. Based upon a longitudinal case study that is informed by structuration theory this project elucidates how leadership is nevertheless practiced in heterarchical networks. Our research setting is the semiconductor industry’s prime research and development consortium SEMATECH, and the strategic leadership of Intel Corporation acting as a primus inter pares in this network.

  • Commissioned by: German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Period:  02/10   01/13
  • Award holder: Dr. Gordon Müller-Seitz
  • Mentor: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Publications (Engl.):

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.

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.

Müller-Seitz, G./Schüßler, E. (2013): From Event Management to the Management of Events – A Process Perspective. In: Managementforschung 23: 193-226.

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.

Müller-Seitz, G. (2012): Absorptive and desorptive capacity-related practices at the network level – the case of SEMATECH. In: R&D Management 42(1): 90-99.

Müller-Seitz, G. (2012): Leadership in Interorganizational Networks: A Literature Review and Suggestions for Future Research. In: International Journal of Management Reviews 14: 428-443.

P26: “Application Laboratory, Innovative X-ray Technologies”

Within this project we are conducting an analysis of current transfer practices in order to facilitate and advance the conceptual development of knowledge and technology transfer in this particular domain.In more detail: (1) an analysis of technology transfer concepts is being carried out, (2) transfer activities of the WGL in the domain of X-ray technology are being investigated, (3) communication strategies are being substantiated and (4) financial concepts of cooperating technology transfer projects are being analysed.

  • Commissioned by: Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (Max-Born-Institut); Project within the program initiative "Wirtschaft trifft Wissenschaft" (Business Meets Science) of the Bundesministeriums für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (BMVBS)
  • Period: 08/08 – 06/11
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dipl.-Kfm. Robert Wagner

P25: “Evaluation of the Cluster Development of the Music and Event Industry of the Cologne Region – Sound of Cologne”

In the framework of this project, an evaluation concept for the development of the music and event industry cluster in and around Cologne is being developed and applied. The analysis is based upon a comprehensive inventory of the organizations involved in the cluster, an intermediate evaluation of the cluster activities and an assessment of the coordinated cluster development.

  • Commissioned by: conpara Gesellschaft für Unternehmensberatung mbH
  • Period: 05/2009 – 03/2012
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dr. Elke Schüßler
  • Publications:

Schüßler, E./Sydow J. (2013): Organizing events for configuring and maintaining creative fields. In: Jones, C./ Lorenzen, M./Sapsed, J. (Hg.) Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

Dobusch, L./Schüßler, E. (2013): Copyright reform and business model innovation: Regulatory propaganda at German music industry conferences. In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change 80.

P24: “Network Services”

Within this project two articles on the role of network services for the development of regional clusters (for a publication of VDI/VDE-IT in German) were written.

  • Commissioned by: VDI/VDE-IT GmbH
  • Period: 07/2008 – 09/2008
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dipl.-Kfm. Rainer Zeichhardt

P23:    “Organization and Regulation of Employment Relations in Transnational Pro­duction and Supply Networks. Ensuring Core Labor Standards through International Framework Agreements?”

The purpose of the research is to increase our understanding of International Framework Agreements (IFAs) negotiated by transnational corporations (TNCs) and Global Union Federations as instruments for regulating labor standards and employment relations within TNCs and throughout their global supply networks. The research program is based on in-depth case studies and will focus on the questions of motivation for and implementation of IFAs.

  • Commissioned by:  Hans-Böckler-Foundation (HBS)
  • Period: 10/08 - 03/11
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow, Dr. Michael Fichter
  • Researcher:  Dr. Markus Helfen
  • Partner: Prof. Steve Frenkel, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Publications (Engl.):
    Fichter, M./Helfen, M./Sydow,J (2011), Employment Relations in Global Production Networks: Initiating Transfer of Practices via Union Involvement. In: Human Relations 63 (4), 599-624.

P22:    "Initiating and Establishing the Development of Technology in Value Chain         Part­nerships – Network-based Tools for Generating Innovations in the Tension between Cooperation and Competition (Net-Management)"

The project has the purpose of increasing the potential for innovations of SMEs in value chain partnerships in the automotive and automotive supplier industry, of surveying the main obstacles and barriers to integrating SMEs into value chain partnerships in this industry, and of developing practice-based network tools. The platform of analysing and developing tools is the "Network of Automotive Excellence” (NoAE).

  • Commissioned by: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
  • Period: 02/08 - 01/11
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dr. Stephan Duschek
  • Partner: Technologie Management Gruppe (TMG) Stuttgart
  • Publications (Engl.):
    Lerch, F./Sydow, J./Duschek, S. (2011), Beyond the Organizational Focus: Network Consulting in Regional Clusters. In: Buono, A. F./Grossman, R./Lobnig, H./Mayer, K. (Eds.): The Changing Paradigm of Consulting. Greenwich, Conn., 185-209.

P21:    “Feasibility Study for an Innovative Application Laboratory for the transfer of X-ray Technologies”

The goal of the project is to produce a feasibility study on the transfer of know­ledge that originates in institutions of basic research and that is transferred and applied in the development of marketable innovative x-ray analysis products. Addressees for the transfer are especially SMEs in the region Berlin-Brandenburg. The study will examine how an innovative application laboratory supports such transfer. Based on the results, a business concept for such a laboratory will be developed.

  • Commissioned by: Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung
  • Period: 01/08 - 12/08
  • Award Holder: Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow
  • Researcher: Dipl.-Kfm. Frank Lerch
  • Publication:

Lerch, F./Wagner, R./Müller-Seitz, G. (2010): Technology Transfer and absorptive capacity – processual insights from four cases in optics in the U.S. and Germany. Paper Presentation at the International Conference on Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKC 2010) 3-6 June 2010 at the Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


For earlier projects, please check the German version of this page.

Organized Creativity