Behavior and Governance

"Behavior & Governance" analyses the rational and irrational behaviour and experiences of individuals, groups and organisations from the subject-specific and interdisciplinary perspectives of the various Faculty disciplines: business administration, economics, law and industrial psychology.

The individual behaviour of consumers and employees, for instance, is a topic which is relevant on both the social and entrepreneurial levels both within organisations and on markets. Logically connecting economic theory to findings from behavioural science is essential if we are to improve the identification and analysis of problematic developments in a business and social context.

The following are some of the key focuses of "Behavior & Governance”:

"Behavior & Governance" uses this combination of behavioural approaches ("behaviour") and management and monitoring aspects ("governance") to discuss current social and political problems: this is research focused on decision-making.

In the light of the challenges of a dynamic environment (for example demographic change, Industry 4.0, globalisation, sustainability and ethics, and changing values), this topic explores the extent to which these changes lead to behavioural changes or are in conflict with traditional behaviour. In addition to purely conceptual and theoretical questions, qualitative, quantitative, experimental and non-experimental research methods are also applied and developed.

If we are to achieve sustainable development in society, the market economy must be part of a framework that enables both societal control of the economy and an acceptance of the market economy system ("governance"). In the wake of the negative developments of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, individuals, groups and organisations demanding greater integration of the findings of behavioural science ("behaviour") have taken an increasingly critical view of the maintenance of neoclassical behavioural assumptions. The further development of existing governance structures at a national and transnational level and the analysis of the behaviour of relevant stakeholder groups (such as employees, consumers and managers) offer important starting points for research development at Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

One feature of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Leuphana University of Lüneburg that sets it apart from other business faculties in Germany is its wide range of disciplines (such as business administration, economics, industrial psychology, law, business information systems and industrial engineering). Not only does the Faculty engage in cutting-edge research in each of these fields, but the different departments work together on interdisciplinary research, teaching and transfer. This offers significant potential for development in a number of key areas of great relevance for the future at both a societal and entrepreneurial level. The following are just some of the focuses of "Behavior & Governance": "The future of work", "The future of consumer behavior", "The future of social interaction", "The future of neoclassical and behavioral finance, accounting & corporate governance" and "The future of (de-)regulation of markets and firms".

  • The future of work
  • The future of consumer behavior
  • The future of social interaction
  • The future of (behavioral) finance, accounting & corporate governance
  • The future of (de-)regulation of markets and firms

The future of work

 

"The future of work" focuses primarily on the challenges of a changing world of work and changing conditions. Examples of those challenges include technological progress (e.g. Industry 4.0, digitalisation and big data), globalisation (e.g. the potential offered by internationalisation; greater competitive pressures, and migration) and the change in values systems taking place in society (e.g. a new understanding of values, individualisation, the satisfaction of material needs, a demand for leisure, the care of relatives, CSR and employee participation).

The megatrend "demographic change" is also a great challenge for society and businesses as the workforce shrinks and the proportion of pensioners in the overall population grows. Possible strategies for coping with this shift include increasing the working lifetime, silver workers, increasing the proportion of women in employment and integrating migrants into the workforce, which in turn poses challenges for human resource management (for example more flexible working hours and organisation, life-long learning, health in the workplace, workplace design, incentive and remuneration systems, and leadership).

The main contact people for "The future of work" are Jürgen Deller (Institute of Management and Organization) and Christian Pfeifer (Institute of Economics).

The future of consumer behavior

 

Dramatic changes in society and the economy are leading to changing market realities and new patterns of consumption and use among consumers. The development of sustainability, the trend towards sharing communities and the changing potential for business and communication associated with digitalisation are just some examples of the changes in consumers' environments which are, in turn, presenting new challenges to trade and industry. Processes of change in consumer behaviour need to be analysed in the light of explanatory approaches from psychology and the social sciences to develop concepts for shaping marketing and change processes. Entrepreneurship is increasingly viewed as a form of communicative action. Research therefore focuses in particular on strategic communication with consumers and relevant stakeholder groups in society. The call for manufacturers and retail to ensure a strong customer focus is reinforced by the fact that differentiation through product quality is becoming difficult in many sectors as product standards grow ever closer.

If today's businesses want to stand out from the competition, often their only option is excellent customer management that allows them to pinpoint customer needs, satisfy those needs and foster emotional ties between the business and the customer. A central aspect here is pricing theory.

Changes in how much customers are willing to pay and the emergence of participative pricing mechanisms alongside changing producer and consumer surpluses are a key aspect of research. Work in this field uses comprehensive concepts that link the new technological possibilities to organisational realities and customer demands. It also explores the implications for customer loyalty and perceived fairness over time.

The main contact people for "The future of consumer behavior" are in Sigrid Bekmeier-Feuerhahn (Institute of Management and Organization), Kerstin Brockelmann (Institute of Marketing) and Augustin Süßmair (Institute of Experimental Industrial Psychology).

 

The future of social interaction

 

The individual social environment affects human behaviour in many situations – and through their behaviour, people in turn influence their social environment. "The future of social interaction" explores these human interactions as part of the social environment in a wide range of contexts, for example in negotiations, business decisions, social identities, status considerations, group conflicts, third-party interventions and behaviour in the workplace. "The future of social interaction" works primarily from the perspective of social change. Increasing digitalisation, for example, poses a whole range of new challenges for the individual: negotiations are increasingly conducted through digital channels, global conflicts go beyond national borders, and technological innovations help the individual with business decisions. Research in this field looks both at the impact of social change and at the determinants of that change, for example in relation to group formation processes. The objective is on the one hand to refine our theoretical understanding of human behaviour in the social environment, and on the other to develop practical, feasible recommendations for action.

 

The main contact people for "The future of social interaction" are David Loschelder (Institute of Management and Organization) and Mario Mechtel (Institute of Economics).

The future of (behavioral) finance, accounting & corporate governance

 

"The future of neoclassical and behavioral finance, accounting & corporate governance" explores the purpose, role and tools of accounting and corporate governance from a decision-making perspective. Alongside the neoclassical agency modules, this field also breaks down assumptions about human behaviour, absolute rationality and strict self-interest.

The aim is to explain and predict the effects of human behaviour in order to develop recommendations for decision-makers and for future regulatory measures in accounting and corporate governance. These include internal structural measures such as gender diversity on the supervisory board, a monitoring role for works councils and supervisory boards, the involvement of employees in management decisions, incentive and remuneration structures, and external mechanisms such as CSR and integrated reporting. Specific research projects are currently investigating the economic impact of the composition of boards, corporate law aspects of corporate governance, the real effect of corporate governance systems on businesses and financial intermediaries (banks and venture capital companies), insider-dominated versus outsider-dominated corporate governance systems and the role of banks in shaping those systems, and the funding of SMEs, in particular the availability of venture capital. Examples at the behavioural level include decision heuristics and the cognitive biases of decision-makers (such as members of the corporate management), the presentation of decision-making problems, the allocation of financial transactions to mental accounts (mental accounting), accounting approaches that reduce reported results upon a change of management (big bath accounting) and social interactions between players and decision-makers (for example between members of the executive board and supervisory board in the sense of shared personnel, or capital market investors).

The main contact people for "The future of behavioral finance, accounting & governance" are Matthias Pelster, Andrea Schertler and Patrick Velte (Institute of Finance & Accounting) and Alexander Schall (Law School).

The future of (de-)regulation of markets and firms

 

The role of suitable regulation of the economy has taken on a new dimension through the globalisation of economic relations as the nation state is losing significance as the standard regulatory framework. Numerous research projects are therefore exploring the development of transnational governance structures in both international and European law and in private law, which is now also being used as an instrument of regulation. In the light of the role of private law as a framework, an economic assessment of statutory regulations (an "economic analysis of the law") is also essential. One important question is that of economic efficiency in legal fields relating to competition. There is therefore a focus on a legal and economic analysis of the fields of unfair competition and intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks and other special rights). The interdisciplinary combination of "law" and "economics" corresponds to the methodological standard of international law today. A comprehensive exploration of the existing regulatory systems in national, European and international law is also part of several key research areas within the Faculty. Current projects include efficient contract law, the regulation of business behaviour using collective legal protection instruments, the legal and economic analysis of comparative advertising and broader theories of fair competition and trademark protection.

The main contact people for "The future of (de-)regulation of markets and firms" are Tim Dornis, Axel Halfmeier, Alexander Schall and Jörg Terhechte (Law School), Matthias Pelster, Andrea Schertler and Patrick Velte (Institute of Finance & Accounting) and Thomas Wein (Institute of Economics).

Coordination and Contact Persons

  • Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeifer
  • Prof. Dr. Patrick Velte