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 have completed the online application, please send the following documents to the email address indicated at the end of the application process: short letter of motivation, CV, Transcript of Records.
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.
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 2021/2022
|Topics||Application||Confirmation||Exposé||Registration (ISC)||Colloquium||Submission thesis (ISC)|
6. Topic list
Title: Involving patients and customers in innovation – the company perspective
Topic Description: The healthcare sector has always been characterized by innovation – in treatments and drugs, in hospital and care systems, in primary and acute care pathways, and in chronic disease management. But despite significant commitment and investments in generating innovation, the system suffers from a problem all kinds of organizations face – a lack of and/or less effective consumer involvement in innovation. Research on what patients want, need and how they would use a new product or service rarely begins with the patient. Typically innovations are developed within the organization and patients are involved only later in the process. We are looking for two students to work on qualitative, focus group data around company perceptions of patient-led innovation.
Title: Service Innovation in Community Health
Topic Description: The ongoing pandemic has put the need for innovation in healthcare service delivery into stark reality. Pharmacists play a central role in the provision of medication in the primary care and community setting, yet they are often regarded as pill dispensers rather than service providers (Alsharif, 2019). Although pharmacists provide a tangible product, the intangible service experiences provided along the way underline the value of pharmacists (Holdford, 2019). Given the added value potential of pharmacies as well as their changing roles and responsibilities towards patient care and cognitive service provision, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of service innovation in the German landscape. This topic is an exploration of service innovation potential in community pharmacies and consumer perspectives of pharmacists‘ agency towards innovation.
Title: Startups and the management of uncertainty
Topic Description: Entrepreneurs are constantly confronted with uncertainty: Uncertainty about the market, about the success of the implementation of the founding ideas and product, about unforeseen externalities, about financing options and investors, or uncertainty about own competence and know-how. Entrepreneurs can cope with these uncertainties in different manners. The target of this thesis is to consolidate literature (mainly theories and research designs) investigating how entrepreneurs effectively manage (radical) uncertainty.
Title: "Letters to shareholders" in management research
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 and all its components, e.g., the introductory CEO letter to shareholders. For research, letters to shareholders 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 empirical literature to understand how business literature uses CEO’s letters to shareholders in research. Additionally, we expect the student to develop a suitable tool to collect letters to shareholders from available databases automatically.
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).
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).
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.
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.
Title: Higher Education & Innovation – are we staying competitive?
Topic Description: One of the primary goals of higher education institutions is to provide their students with the skills and know-how to become successful professionals in their fields. The ongoing pandemic has highlighted the need for companies to adapt with regards to technology & digitalization, customer orientation, and innovation in order to ensure continued prosperity, remain competitive, and to meet consumer demands. The need for, perceived importance of, and status of the integration of business (especially innovation and entrepreneurship) teaching into higher education curricula outside of the business domain is unknown. Neither is there information on students’ self-perceived responsibilities and motivations towards entrepreneurship and service innovation. This topic explores the relative importance of innovation and entrepreneurship training across different higher education programs and whether students are prepared to drive innovation in the professional field.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
Title: Exploring food retailers’ interest in sustainable consumption
Topic description: Due to growing social and environmental challenges all around the world, Sustainable Development gains importance in daily life, media, academic literature, and business. Accordingly, also profit-driven firms can no longer solely focus on economic output but must also consider social and ecological aspects. Therefore sustainability-oriented innovations are on the rise. Yet, it is sometimes unclear what the exact motivations behind offering sustainable products are. Is it really about holistic value creation or just another way to maximize profits? Especially in the food retailing sector, this remains a puzzle, not at least as ownership structures are intransparent and differ between various corporations. To shed light on the issue, qualitative interviews with managers of different retail corporations may be a good choice.
Title: Exploring the relationship between product involvement and information processing.
Topic description: Due to growing social and environmental challenges all around the world, Sustainable Development gains importance in daily life, media, academic literature, and business. Sustainable consumption marks one of the most direct possibilities for individual persons to contribute to Sustainable Development. Even though general attitudes towards Sustainable Consumption are high, many customers do not act accordingly. One explanation for that paradox is that many consumers simply lack the knowledge to distinguish sustainable products from unsustainable ones. That is why educating consumers about sustainability is crucial and the question arises how that should best be done. The elaboration likelihood model suggests that a person can process some form of communication or information with varying levels of thought (elaboration) depending on a variety of factors. One of them may be product involvement which basically refers to the level of engagement a person shows towards a product.
In this thesis, the student is supposed to explore the existing literature on information processing and product involvement to find out how exactly information processing varies with different levels of product involvement.
Title: Getting jiggy with it: companies hearing the call for more societal contribution
Topic description: In the current progressively complex, turbulent, and threatening environment, companies are increasingly called upon to contribute to improving living conditions worldwide within the framework of the Grand Challenges (GC). If no action is perceived to be taken, they see their societal legitimacy being questioned. Companies react in different manners, by creating corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments or initiatives, involve consumers and other societal actors in their innovation process, or completely change their business model to serve "the common good". It is therefore important to investigate how these (societal) legitimacy challenges become relevant for companies and how they try to resolve them (i.e., develop and implement solutions).
Title: Keep the family close: assessing ties in interdisciplinary research centers and their effect on innovativeness
Topic description: Interdisciplinary research centers have not just recently become part of universities' repertoire to address practical challenges. With the rise of major societal challenges and the demand of various stakeholders to collaborate on them, universities seem to increasingly resort to this organizational design solution. In practice, interdisciplinarity is understood and lived differently depending on the center, and there are a number of variant names for the interaction between researchers from different domains taking place within those centers. It is, therefore, crucial to know how to evaluate the interaction between different disciplines and about possible effects on the center's innovativeness.
Last updated: April 12th, 2021, 09:30 am; information subject to change.
- English language for Colloquium and Thesis
- Further details can be found in the specific examination regulations of your studies (ISC).