Research at the HFU Business School

Current research projects and activities at the HFU Business School

Global virtual teams

The development and expansion of new information and communication technologies (ICT) have changed the nature of multinational companies and enabled them to involve multicultural workers and change organizational models to increase employee participation. One of the most important organizational changes that ICT has enabled is the remote organization of teams. The phenomenon of virtual global teams is widespread in many multinational companies. The work teams are distributed worldwide and use ICT as the only form of communication and contact. In this way, companies can involve the best available experts for specific tasks and overcome geographical boundaries.

The aim of this research field is to find out how virtuality and cultural diversity affect the development of communication strategies and increase the effectiveness of teamwork. It focuses on a number of factors such as communication style, conflict management, leadership, trust building, information exchange, development of standards, appropriation of technology, innovation or team size and composition in order to better understand the phenomenon of global virtual teams.

Monetary Economics

Analysis of the impact of different monetary policy regimes ((i) monetary policy during the "Great Moderation" from 2000 to 2007, (ii) low interest rate policy from 2008 to 2021, and (iii) monetary policy in a stagflationary environment since 2022) and macroeconomic shocks (financial crisis, euro crisis, Covid-19, energy price shocks, etc.) on asset and debt structure, gross and net asset returns, equity returns, portfolio behavior, and household wealth and income distribution in the euro area.

Consumer Neuroscience and Psychology

In the field of Consumer Neuroscience and Psychology we aim to decipher the mechanisms of decision processes underlying vendor-customer interaction. Currently, we are working on a number of research projects:

  • Willingness to pay. We develop implicit tools using neuroscience to measure value perception ("NeuroPricing™"). Consumers often do not indicate their true value perception when filling out a price questionnaire. Brain scans allow direct observation of brain activity without conscious influence or social desirability. Our goal is to further develop existing algorithms and research approaches using brain scan methods EEG and fNIRS as well as scalable implicit reaction time-based approaches. This work is done in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Steven Scholte from the University of Amsterdam and macs Software GmbH from Zimmern ob Rottweil.
  • Psychology of prices. For a better understanding of price discounts, the price perception of buyers and sellers, and the relationship between cachets and and prices, we regularly conduct research in the psychology of prices. Questions refer to B2B and B2C. The Neuroeconomics Laboratory also uses eye trackers and electroencephalograms.
  • Cheerleader Effect and Banker Effect.  When people are shown in a group picture, they appear wealthier and more attractive than when they are alone. We investigate a sociobiological explanation of these effects.
  • Digitalisation of Olfaction. Can emotional smells one day be sent over the Internet? How can odors be "digitized"? Will digital encoding and decoding then still trigger the same emotions? We are looking for answers to these questions using electroencephalogram, psychophysics and fMRI in joint projects with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Latvian startup Scent Camera.

Digitalisation processes in firms: lean@digital

According to current forecasts, digitalisation as a global megatrend will lead to major changes in industrial work over the next 20 years. In companies, it requires a change in the technologies used, the organisation of work and a change in corporate culture. Companies must develop and implement their company-specific "transformation path". In the lean@digital project, Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences and the IMU Institute Stuttgart are working together on behalf of the Hans Böckler Foundation on these change processes in companies, with a particular focus on participation. The study also examines whether new digitalisation concepts will support, replace or even radicalise the production logic of holistic production systems (GPS) and lean management. Early understanding of stakeholders, negotiation practices and design opportunities in the digitalisation process can significantly its chances of success and help to influence its direction of development. In this project, HFU is responsible, among other things, for a quantitative survey of companies and works councils in order to better understand the digitalisation process and the involvement of company stakeholders.

China Institute

The HFU Business School at Furtwangen University has made its know-how of the Chinese economy and international business contacts available to the broader public since 2004. A broad network of well-known partner universities and firms active in China has grown up over the years, is actively maintained and is continually expanded. These contacts and the related know-how are available through the China Institute.

Technology Banking Research Focus

This research area deals with IT innovations in the banking and finance sector. It looks at the effects of new technologies, specifically the internet and new mobile competitor/business models from the non-banking sector, on the field of banking and finance.