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Bachelor Thesis

The procedure at the Institute for Innovation Management (IIM)

In light of changing guidelines due to COVID-19 at LMU, the below timelines for writing a thesis at our institute are subject to change. Any changes will be announced on this website. For further information, please see the ISC website.

1. General Information

As a business administration student at the LMU, you have the possibility of writing your Bachelor thesis at our institute. We are offering several application deadlines during the year. The topics are updated regularly. You can find the corresponding dates and topics below.

2. Admission Requirements

The number of thesis students for supervision depends on the available capacity at IIM. We are able to consider students for supervision who meet the following requirements:

  • Passed seminar(s) and lectures at the IIM
  • Interest in phenomena and theories relating to innovation management

Please also check the examination regulations of your study program at the ISC website.

3. Application and Exposé

The theses are assigned after application within the stated deadlines.
Please apply online and provide your topic preference (see list below). Once you receive confirmation, you will have one week to prepare an exposé (one-page description specifying the research question and methodological approach).
Upon your supervisor’s approval of the exposé, we will register your topic at the ISC. The date of registration with the ISC starts the clock on the eight (8) weeks to write your thesis.

4. Colloquium

You will present a progress report on your thesis work mid-way through the eight (8) weeks, where you will receive feedback and guidance on content- and process-related aspects of the thesis in progress. Please note that presenting the Colloquium on the stated date is mandatory and no exceptions are possible.

5. Schedule 2020/2021

Topics Application Confirmation Exposé Registration (ISC) Colloquium Submission thesis (ISC)
11.01.2021 11.01.-15.01.2021 18.01.2021 18.01.-22.01.2021 29.01.2021 26.02.2021 (09.00-15:00) 26.03.2021
12.04.2021 12.04.-16.04.2021 19.04.2021 19.04.-23.04.2021 30.04.2021 28.05.2021 (09:00-15:00) 25.06.2021

6. Topic list

Topic 1

Title: Same stuff, different domain - Innovation through and towards compliance

Topic Description: Consumer compliance, also often referred to as adherence, is an ongoing behavior that extends the consumer’s role beyond the mere interaction with a service provider, is often difficult to maintain (e.g. fitness training, personal finance) but an integral part of the service. You will work towards exploring compliance and adherence behaviors across different domains (such as personal finance, education and healthcare) and how they can be harnessed towards service innovation.

Topic 2

Title: Designing for adherence – Building for desired behaviors

Topic Description: Consumer compliance, also often referred to as adherence, is an ongoing behaviour that extends the consumer’s role beyond the mere interaction with a service provider, is often difficult to maintain (e.g. fitness training, personal finance) but an integral part of the service. Pharmacists have in-depth knowledge of the medication as well as insight into their customers’ preferences, behaviors and mind-set. The research will focus on understanding the link between the medication service provider and the customer, and aim at identifying innovative service solutions for an old problem.

Topic 3

Title: Innovation performance and strategic orientations

Topic Description: Strategic orientations are firms’ critical capabilities reflecting the "philosophy of how to conduct business" (Zhou et al., 2005, p. 44) that consist of values, beliefs, and guiding principles directing a company’s activities to achieve superior organizational performance. Scholars across business disciplines have investigated the effect of different strategic orientations (e.g., market orientation or learning orientation) on innovation-driven organizational performance. However, research designs (choice of variables) and results differ strongly across the evidence. The target of this thesis is to consolidate empirical evidence on strategic orientations and their effect on firms’ innovation performance.

Topic 4

Title: Annual reports and letters to shareholders as research objects

Topic Description: Corporate disclosure of information to the public is critical for functioning markets. Besides voluntary disclosure in the form of management forecasts or press releases, the most critical channel for information disclosure towards shareholders and stakeholders is the annual report. For research, annual reports are a fruitful source of information to investigate different aspects related to e.g., firm’s operational management, firms’ R&D priorities, or firms’ understanding of their role towards society. Within this topic, students will synthesize and consolidate relevant literature as well as provide comparative examples to answer the question: "Why are annual reports a legitimate source for research (in detail for innovation and sustainability related topics)?"

Topic 5

Title: The dark side of involving customers in innovation: Risks and downsides for the firm and for customers

Topic Description: Customer involvement approaches have primarily been investigated in terms of the benefits and advantages it can provide for the firm and (to a smaller extent) for the involved customers. However, many firms are still hesitant when engaging their customers in innovation because of the potential downsides it can have. To achieve a more balanced view on the positive and negative outcomes of customer involvement in innovation, it is important to also investigate the potential risks and downsides of engaging customers (i.e., the dark side).

Topic 6

Title: The role of customer involvement in innovation for firms’ explorative and exploitative learning (processes)

Topic Description: Firms often involve their customers to learn from and with them. However, learning can be further classified and categorized by different types of learning, such as explorative and exploitative learning. With each learning type, several learning processes are associated. To get more detail into which type(s) of learning and associated processes are connected to customer involvement, it is critical to understand how learning with and from customers can work in detail, given the different forms that customer involvement can take. Based on this knowledge, we can get insights into how different customer involvement approaches may be improved or optimized to support organizational learning (and complement organizational learning strategies).

Topic 7

Title: Responsible innovation – Processes, activities, and tools that can help firms in becoming a more responsible innovator

Topic Description: Firms are increasingly required to innovate more responsibly. However, there is a lack of research on how firms can actually become a more responsible innovator and what innovation processes, activities, or tools can help them to bring the different principles and dimensions of responsible innovation to life on an operational level. As the concept of responsible innovation has its origins in the policy domain, it is important to investigate how corporate actors can embrace the concept in their innovation function.

Topic 8

Title: Differences of involving customers in innovation in B2B versus B2C contexts

Topic Description: Firms increasingly involve their customers in innovation. Most of the research in this domain is focusing on the B2C context. However, in the B2B domain, customer involvement is equally important and popular. Therefore, it is critical to get more insights into how customer involvement in innovation looks like in the B2B domain (e.g., are the different CI forms relevant in the B2C domain also relevant in a B2B domain) and what the main differences are when comparing the B2B-involvement approaches with those identified in the B2C domain.

Topic 9

Title: What is it about games?

Topic Description: Consumer compliance, also often referred to as adherence, is an ongoing behavior that extends the consumer’s role beyond the mere interaction with a service provider, is often difficult to maintain (e.g. fitness training, personal finance) but an integral part of the service. Aspects of gamification including financial incentives, competition, social exchange, tracking, and reminders, among others, have the potential to increase adherence – the question is which of these aspects can be harnessed towards adherence.

Topic 10

Title: Drivers and conditions for firms to innovate responsibly

Topic Description: One of the most promising avenues for addressing the grand societal challenges is through responsible innovation (Khavul and Bruton, 2013; Owen et al., 2012; Stilgoe et al., 2013). So far little focus has been placed on including firms as a part of the solution. It is critical to understand what drives firms to innovate responsibly and under which conditions these drivers facilitate innovation best.

Topic 11

Title: Interdisciplinarity Ahead: Picking up Speed and Circumventing Obstacles En Route

Topic Description: Interdisciplinary research is a concept that is not new to scientists, policy-makers, or industry. Yet in recent decades, trends illustrating the concept are growing, such as research transcending disciplinary boundaries, development of novel forms of quality control which undermine disciplinary forms of evaluation, the importance of the "context of application" as a site for research, and diversity of sites at which knowledge is produced (Nowotny, Scott, and Gibbons, 2001; Nowotny, 2003). While researchers and institutions embarking on a mission to realize interdisciplinarity are often motivated by noble motives such as accountability and innovation (Barry, Born & Weszkalnys, 2008), they ought to be aware of and cautioned against the potential impediments they may encounter along the way (Lyall & Lyall, 2019). With this in mind, two questions arise 1. What drives research institutions to create different forms of interdisciplinary initiatives? 2. What are the conditions and factors that facilitate or hamper the creation of new interdisciplinary initiatives?

Topic 12

Title: Full House: Learning to Organize for Interdisciplinarity

Topic Description: Interdisciplinary research is a concept that is not new to scientists, policy-makers, or industry. Yet in recent decades, trends illustrating the concept are growing, such as research transcending disciplinary boundaries, development of novel forms of quality control which undermine disciplinary forms of evaluation, the importance of the "context of application" as a site for research, and diversity of sites at which knowledge is produced (Nowotny, Scott, and Gibbons, 2001; Nowotny, 2003). One factor might be high hopes that interdisciplinarity will deliver on the promise of more accountability and innovation for contemporary problems (e.g., Barry, Born & Weszkalnys, 2008; Nowotny, Scott & Gibbons, 2001). For that to happen, however, interdisciplinary institutions are well-advised to optimally make use of the accommodated different human-resource holders (Ichiishi, 1993), i.e. disciplines, and facilitate cooperation and knowledge exchange among them – but how? This leads to the question: What organizational learning strategies do interdisciplinary institutions apply and what is the rationale for them?

Topic 13

Title: Trust is everything? What role does consumer trust play in consumers (not) responding to external consumption information in different consumer involvement contexts?

Topic description: When making consumption decisions for low involvement goods (e.g., toothpaste), consumers often do not engage in comprehensive and conscious information-processing and decision-making processes (as in the case for high involvement goods such as cars). Instead, decisions are made unconsciously, without spending much (cognitive) effort, and often by using decision-making ‘short cuts’. When external actors (e.g., firms) aim to influence such low involvement decisions through their communication efforts, one possible short-cut for consumers could be the level of trust towards the communicating actor. In contrast, the trust may be less important when making decisions for high involvement goods as consumers spend great (cognitive) effort in looking for, interpreting, verifying, and evaluating external information themselves. As the research on the role of trust in influencing consumers’ information-processing and decision-making processes in different involvement contexts (i.e., high versus low involvement) is relatively scarce, future theses are invited to investigate the role of trust in different stages of the mentioned processes.

Topic 14

Title: Fostering responsible innovation through global governance initiatives

Topic description: There have been increasing attempts by policy-makers to facilitate responsible innovation, e.g., the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework from the EU. Innovative corporate governance can help to generate innovations that do good and avoid harm. There is a need to better understand what soft and hard laws exist and how effective those are in driving responsible innovations.

 

Last updated: January 14th, 2021, 10 am; information subject to change.

Exam Specifications

  • English language for Colloquium and Thesis
  • Further details can be found in the specific examination regulations of your studies (ISC).