The Four Research Areas of the School
Given their high global and societal relevance, many research issues demand an interdisciplinary research approach. In light of this necessity, the School of Business and Economics has chosen to develop its profile in the direction of interdisciplinarity, drawing together strands from the business and economics sciences with those from the engineering and natural sciences. Four Research Areas have been created, each of them reflecting the intense interdisciplinary activities within the School itself and each of them a point of contact for collaboration with other schools, faculties, and centers at RWTH Aachen University. The focus of each Research Area is aligned with the exceptional opportunities that only a university of technology can offer.
Spokespersons of the Areas are:
- EME: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Letmathe
- MOE: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christine Harbring
- ORM: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marco Lübbecke
- TIME: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Daniel Wentzel
Energy, Mobility and Environment (EME)
Globally intermeshed challenges for energy provision, mobility, and care of the environment have emerged from the depletion of fossil resources (‘peak oil’) and from climate problems. Economic issues addressed in this context range from the developing of energy markets and energy policies, the evaluation, promotion and dissemination of innovative “green” technologies, over the sustainability of energy users’ behavior, and mobility behavior, up to the planning and managing of efficient and environmentally sound product and information flows in value creation networks. One pertinent example is that of electromobility with all its risks and opportunities for current and future undertakings. It calls for new business models and the developing of new value creation networks that integrate consumer behavior.
Research questions addressed by the EME Research Area Energy, Mobility and Environment are, for instance, whether electromobility is better in the long term than more efficient combustion engines are, or whether the energy transition can be societally viable despite rising energy prices. In order to provide answers to questions like these, the EME is currently engaging with concepts like "ultra-long-lived investments" and "prosumers". With its focus on ultra-long-lived capital goods, the EME sees itself as a platform for responding to societally relevant questions about technological developments that will fundamentally change systems. Our research entails not only our analyzing the impacts of earlier and current ultra-long-lived capital goods but also analyzing the impacts of future technologies and different technology paths.
The EME Research Area provides courses and offers supervision of student theses in the fields of energy, mobility and environment. Our main target group consists of Bachelor and Master students of Business Administration; Management, Business and Economics; and Business Administration and Engineering who are interested in interactive, case-study-based or research-oriented courses - most of which are conducted in English. To this end, we offer the area of specialization Sustainability and Corporations
Managerial and Organizational Economics (MOE)
How can firms operate successfully in the market? This is one of the key questions addressed by economics. During the course of globalization and the emergence of new organizational forms, the ‘rules of business’ have also changed, so that now – more than ever before – it is imperative that firms and their markets are not analyzed in isolation of each other. Managerial economics and organizational economics are of equal relevance, and an interdisciplinary approach is imperative. In this particular Research Area, the School’s Chairs of business and of economics will be working together on topics such as corporate governance, organizational design and strategies for internationalization. Other key research focuses include the analysis of incentive agreements and the motivation, management and leadership of employees in organizations. On the basis of new theoretical findings and utilizing a meticulous economic analysis coupled with an evidence-based approach, a solid foundation will be created to facilitate a deeper understanding of organizations in different environments. The ultimate goal is the formulation of concrete recommendations for enhancing the success of firms.
The specialization Corporate Development and Strategy (CDS), offered by this Research Area, covers a very broad content. Students acquire the necessary knowledge to understand and to analyze from an economic perspective the functioning of an organization‘s different divisions, its competition and its market environment, as well as macroeconomic framework conditions. The specialization is suitable for students who want to focus on specific aspects like financing, controlling, organizational development, human resources, competition, internationalization, or macroeconomic framework conditions. At the same time, it also offers the option of acquiring a broader understanding of the internal and external problem areas of firms rather than having a specific focus.
Operations Research and Management (ORM)
This particular Research Area reflects a blend of the School’s traditional quantitative approach and contemporary management situations, which are complex and networked. Operations Research does not only unite fundamentally different disciplines but also combines practical application with basic research. Today, the disciplines of computer science and mathematics are no longer assigned supportive roles but have become an integrated component of contemporary management and economics disciplines. This specific Research Area will involve increased collaboration with other Schools and Faculties of RWTH Aachen University and will, ideally, also lead to enhanced interdisciplinarity in their teaching activities, helping to ‘blur the edges’ between the different disciplines even further. Applications will be found in numerous optimization tasks in the fields of engineering, logistics, health care, and also in various other Research Areas of the School, such as mobility and sustainability. Our goal is to develop this particular Research Area into an Operations Research Center with an excellent international reputation.
In our area of specialization Operations Research and Management, students become familiarized with key fields of application (e.g. production, logistics, supply chain management, health care) as well as with the modern mathematical basics of Operations Research (such as linear and integer optimization, graph and network algorithms, game theory). The combination of theory and practice coupled with the interdisciplinary nature of this particuar specialization require that students have a propensity for content of a business/management/economics nature as well as mathematical and computer science content.
Technology, Innovation, Marketing und Entrepreneurship (TIME)
Based on the research topic ‘Bringing Technologies to Markets’ – which was a component of the University’s ‘Excellence Initiative’ program – this Research Area combines aspects of entrepreneurship, technology and innovation management, innovation markets, consumer behavior, technology transfer and commercialization. This particular Research Area is center-stage in RWTH Aachen University’s vision of becoming an integrated university of technology, and it offers a plethora of opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Relevant fields of activities would be, for example, effective and efficient management of innovation processes, customer-centric management of products and services, development of innovative business models, management of customer relations and start-ups, user acceptance and dissemination of new technologies in the market, or the developing of efficient processes in the knowledge transfer from universities and research facilities to the industry.
The TIME Research Area provides courses and offers supervision of student theses in the fields of technology management and innovation management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Our main target group consists of Bachelor and Master students of Business Administration; Management, Business and Economics; and Business Administration and Engineering who are interested in interactive, case-study-based or research-oriented courses - most of which are conducted in English. In our area of specialization Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Marketing, it is our aim is to explain the rules for and the structures of decision making problems arising in this field. Another aim is to convey action-oriented knowledge to our students in order to equip them for their later careers when successfully engaging with innovative tasks in product development as well as in the designing and marketing of new products and services, or perhaps even in the establishing of their own start-ups.