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Research 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.

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:

  • Neural mechanisms of media consumption. Our goal is to understand how media consumption changes brain processes and what that means for perception, behavior, and personality. This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Georg Meyer from the University of Liverpool and Prof. Dr. Mark Greenlee from Regensburg University
  • Willingness-to-pay. We are developing implicit tools from neuroscience to measure WTP (“NeuroPricing®”). Consumers often do not state their true value perception when asked in a price questionnaire. Brain scans allow direct observation of brain activity without conscious interference and social desirability. Our goal is to further develop existing algorithms and research approaches using the brain scanning methodologies EEG and fNIRS as well as scalable implicit reaction time-based approaches. This work is conducted in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Steven Scholte from the University of Amsterdam
  • Psychology of prices. We are working on improving our understanding of price discounts, price perception of buyers and vendors, and other related questions
  • Extrapolation to B2B. Applications from consumer psychology to non-consumer centric fields such as medical and B2B decisions

Monetary Economics

The research focus “Monetary Economics” investigates, on the one hand, the characteristics and the behaviour of the financial system and its actors (financial markets, banking system, central bank and regulatory authorities), and on the other hand the interaction between the financial system and the real sector in the economy. Moreover, the research focus has a global perspective and studies the interactions of countries as a whole, the resulting implications for the global financial system and the repercussions on the individual countries. Current research projects investigate the effects of the low interest rate environment on wealth, indebtedness, portfolio behaviour, and the wealth and income distribution of households in the euro area.

Digitisation processes in firms: lean@digital

According to current forecasts, digitisation as a global megatrend will lead to major changes in industrial work over the next few years. It requires companies to change the technologies they use, the way they organise their work and a change in corporate culture. Companies have to develop and implement their company-specific "transformation path". In the lean@digital project, Furtwangen University together with the IMU Institute Stuttgart, on behalf of the Hans Böckler Foundation, is examining these change processes in companies with a special focus on participation. The project also investigates whether new digitisation concepts will support the production logic of holistic production systems (GPS) and lean management, or whether they will tend to replace or even reinforce them. A profound understanding of the constellations of relevant stakeholders, negotiation practices and design opportunities in the digitisation process can significantly increase its chances of success and help to influence its direction of development.

In this project HFU is responsible for a quantitative survey among companies, including works councils, in order to better understand the digitisation process and the involvement of different 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.