Prof. Dr. Falk Uebernickel

Doctoral Projects

Falk Uebernickel


From Innovation to Impact: Nudging for Pro-Environmental Behaviour

Beermann, Vincent

By conducting research on Digital Nudges for Pro-Environmental Behavior the aim is to understand (i) the variety of components of Digital Nudging and (ii) find application areas where we can investigate the effectiveness of those Digital Nudges. Digital Nudges leverage psychological mechanisms to influence human behavior in a specific direction. For example, people do not like to lose. In fact, we as humans tend to have a loss aversion. Proposing that people will lose something will have an influence on their decision-making. Pro-environmental behaviors inform us about the application areas where we can try to apply those Digital Nudges. For example, we can foster environmentally friendly behavior at home, when consuming food or when we commute or use transportation in general.


Managing Resistance in Digital Transformation: A Critical Realist Perspective on Organizational Inertia

Haskamp, Thomas

Digital Innovation has triggered many companies to initiate Digital Transformation projects and initiatives. As part of these activities, managers are often confronted with resistance - referred to as organizational inertia - from organizational members. Overcoming this resistance often decides whether transformation fails or succeeds. Taking a critical realist stance on transformation and using the morphogenetic approach from Archer, this dissertation investigates the role of inertia in the context of Digital Transformation. The first step aims to develop the theoretical foundation by developing a critical realist perspective on how digital transformation unfolds. In a second step, the thesis investigates specific initiatives and projects and how its organizational members dealt with different upcoming inertia types. Based on this, different strategies or capabilities shall be identified to overcome the different levels of inertia. Its contribution lies in the sophisticated analysis of inertia on which foundations strategies for dealing with inertia can be developed.


The role of Digital Innovation Units in the Digital Transformation of manufacturing companies

Lorson, Annalena

Digital Transformation – “a process that aims to improve an entity by triggering significant changes to its properties through combinations of information, computing, communication, and connectivity technologies” – is currently one of the key challenges, especially for pre-digital organizations. Closely interrelated with Digital Transformation is the ability to successfully manage and bring about Digital Innovations – “the creation of (and the consequent change in) market offerings, business processes, or models that result from the use of digital technology”. In order to do so, many companies have established “Digital Innovation Units” that are separated from the firm’s remaining organization (e.g., in terms of location, mindset, collaboration, communication, etc.) and bundle their exploration efforts to foster (digital) innovation. These “fast-lanes” of innovation represent a fairly new phenomenon and so far, literature regarding DIUs is sparse. Within the framework of her dissertation, Annalena would like to build a deep understanding of DIUs in the manufacturing industry and their role in Digital Innovation and Transformation in these firms by e.g., looking at how they are set up and work on the ground.


Understanding escalating commitment in organizational digital transformation projects: A cognitive-affective perspective

Marx, Carolin

Escalating commitment (EC) - the failure to withdraw from losing courses of action - is a major challenge in organizational digital transformation (DT) projects. Individual’s cognition and affect have been shown to guide such irrational managerial action, particularly in contexts involving change and decisions under uncertainty. However, research incorporating a cognitive-affective perspective to understand the determinants of such challenges is in a nascent stage and highly fragmented. My dissertation addresses this gap by applying a cognitive-affective lens to DT research with the aim to understand the interrelations between individuals’ cognition, affect, reactive behaviours and their impact on organizational DT. After conceptualizing an integrative framework, the dissertation builds on psychophysiological experiments, repertory grid interviews and design science research to investigate the impact of cognition and effect on the emergence of EC. The thesis’ contribution is its explanatory character, which paves the way for developing mitigation strategies for practitioners to detect and overcome EC.


Impact of Design Thinking in Organizations and on Individuals

Mayer, Selina

Roger Martin describes Design Thinking as “the most powerful formula for competitive advantage in the twenty-first century”. Up to date, scholars and practitioners discuss the added value of DT as quite controversial. Johansson-Sköldberg, Woodilla and Çetinkaya even sum it up as being “easy for the temporarily intensive discourse to be dismissed as hype or a fad.”. One critical argument is that the impact of DT on organizational performance is lacking empirical evidence. Therefore, Selina Mayer aims in her dissertation to better understand the impact of DT in organizations and on individuals. As a first step, a qualitative research design following the grounded theory approach is applied. Preliminary results indicate that while organizations implement DT for creating innovation outcomes, individuals experience change on a personal level. Therefore, the individual and organizational level have to be considered when it comes to the impact of DT.


Exploring the Role of Digital Technologies in Sustainability Transformations

Natarajan, Harish Karthi

Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change are some of the grand challenges in this Century for practitioners and researchers. While industry and research is focusing on sustainability topics, there exists a research gap on how emerging digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc. can help in achieving the sustainable goals. With various theoretical and empirical research methods, I investigate how Organizations can leverage the potential of such emerging technologies for sustainable innovation.