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Institute for Strategic Management

ISM is active in three 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 Model Innovation

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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. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108236188.014

Hoffmann, W. H., Lavie, D., Reuer, J. J., & Shipilov, A. (2018): The interplay of competition and cooperation. Strategic Management Journal, 39(12): 3033-3052. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.2965

(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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s41464-017-0042-y

Heimstädt, M. & Reischauer, G. (2018): Open(ing up) for the future: Practising open strategy and open innovation to cope with uncertainty. In: H. Krämer & M. Wenzel (Eds.), How organizations manage the future: Theoretical perspectives and empirical insights. Springer: 113-131. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-74506-0_6

Business Model Innovation

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

Research
Our core research fields are threefold: Alliances and Networks, Business Model Innovation, and Strategy processes / open strategy.
Team
The agile ISM team brings interdisciplinary competence and bridges professional with scientific expertise in management and policy arenas.
Teaching
ISM offers PhD positions, teaches in the Strategy, Innovation and Management Control (SIMC) master's program, and hosts lectures in WU BSc studies.