Institute for Strategy, Technology and Organization (ISTO)

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Research Profile

The Institute for Strategy, Technology and Organization (ISTO) aspires to create knowledge as an integral part of the worldwide research community. We thereby concentrate on the three research fields of strategy, technology and organization and their intersections, take the phenomenon to be explained as a starting point, and use approaches from both management and microeconomics.

In the field of strategy, we analyze conscious actions of firms in competitive markets, in particular their determinants and implications for firm performance. This involves two key aspects: (1) How strategic interactions cause differences in profitability and productivity between companies in the same industry, and (2) to what extent these differences are influenced by different firm strategies.

In the field of organization, we focus on the inter- and intra-organizational design of teams and firms, and their behavior and mechanisms. A particular emphasis is on analyzing the influence of different structures for interactions (e.g. within a team or between organizational units).

Technology provides the empirical background for most of our research, whereby we are particularly interested in information and communication technology (ICT) markets. In addition, we study the specifics of these industries and their impact on firms' strategies and organizations. Their inherent dynamics, strong complementarities between different technologies, and direct and indirect network effects are especially interesting characteristics of ICT markets.

In our research, we focus on the following methods:

  • Large-scale quantitative investigations (e.g. panel data of firms' activities and characteristics)
  • Primary data collection (e.g. where insufficient quantitative data is available)
  • Phenomenon-driven theoretical models (e.g. for explaining integration decisions depending on industry characteristics)

The described scope of our research has two specific characteristics: On the one hand, it is deliberately diversified to allow for different perspectives. On the other hand, it is based on the strong linkages between the research fields to enable synergies. The individual, concrete research questions at the ISTO can be grouped into five main research areas:


Firm boundaries

Information and communication technologies and media

Organizational learning

Organizational design