Außenansicht der Executive Academy

Institute for Strategic Management

ISM is active in the following core research and activity fields:

We provide insights on how firms build a sustainable competitive advantage in the face of fundamental uncertainty and radical technological change. For this purpose, we investigate:

  • Strategic Alliances, Ecosystems and Platform Strategies

  • (Open) Strategy Processes

  • Business Models, Business Model Innovation, and Business Model Portfolios

  • Ownership Competence

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Strategic Alliances, Ecosystems, and Platform Strategies

Inter-firm collaborations on various parts of the value chain have become an indispensable tool for strategic success. However, the growing number of firms’ simultaneous engagement in multiple strategic alliances poses new challenges for researchers and managers alike. In a similar vein, firms are increasingly evolving together with other firms, organizations from other domains, and customers and thereby constitute an ecosystem of interconnected organizations with complementarities. In several ecosystems, digital platforms play a pivotal role for the health of ecosystems. Research at ISM focuses on drivers, evolution, and organization design of strategic alliances, ecosystems, and platform strategies.

Selected Recent Publications:

Hoffmann, W., Knoll, T., & Wörner, R. (2019): The organizational design of the alliance management system: A contingency perspective. In: F. Contractor & J. Reuer (Eds.), Frontiers of Strategic Alliance Research: Negotiating, Structuring and Governing Partnerships. Cambridge University Press: 216-234.

Hoffmann, W. H., Lavie, D., Reuer, J. J., & Shipilov, A. (2018): The interplay of competition and cooperation. Strategic Management Journal, 39(12): 3033-3052.

(Open) Strategy Processes

Through strategy processes, firms make fundamental decisions such as which business model(s) they pursue and in which markets they compete. These processes that unfold in several ways impact firm performance. Strategy processes are currently changing. Especially the increasing use of digital tools and inclusion of actors beyond the top management team (TMT) – an approach also known as Open Strategy – requires us to revisit traditional assumptions in strategy process research. ISM examines the drivers, institutional embeddedness, and organization design of (open) strategy processes.

Selected Recent Publications:

Hoffmann, W. H. & Meusburger, L. (2018): How CEO values and TMT diversity jointly influence the corporate strategy making process. Schmalenbach Business Review, 70(2): 149-187.

Business Models, Business Model Innovation, and Business Model Portfolios

Business models have been emerging as a new unit of analysis among strategy scholars:  they emphasize a system-level approach on how firms create and capture value. ISM examines business models from a holistic view, focusing on their evolution and the management of business model portfolios.

Selected Working Papers:

Hampl, N., Hoffmann, W. H., & Sachsenhofer, W. (2019): The evolution of business model portfolios, business model relatedness and the impact on firm growth.

Buss, P., Hampl, N., Hoffmann, W. H. (2019): Business model portfolio configurations and firm performance: A qualitative comparative analysis in the airline industry

Ownership competence

The concept of ownership competence describes the skill which which ownership is used to create value. This concept was decomposed into matching competence into matching competence (what to own), governance competence (how to own), and timing competence (when to own) (Foss, Klein, Lien, Zellweger, Zenger 2021). We further investigate this new concept in the context of foundations and private equity.