Hello Professor Bouncken,
first of all we are pleased that you decided to participate in the 1789 network! As a senior scholar in strategy and organizational innovation and as someone who is passionate to see its implications in practice, we are grateful to discuss these topics with you.
Let’s start with your profession as the chair of strategic management and organization at the University of Bayreuth: What is this study program all about and how would you describe your research focus?
Ricarda B. Bouncken: Sure! The study program is actually all about strategic management, especially regarding questions on how to organize a company and how to create structures that enable innovation. Topics I am definitely passionate about are Alliance Management and knowledge transfer! Besides that I focus on emerging topics like how the digitization will affect our daily life and work. For instance coworking, the digital workplace, business model innovation or the importance of an entrepreneurial attitude. This will have both implications for people in organizations, as well as for strategic methods and programs. In the end I am absolutely convinced that if a company wants to pursue true innovation this always depends on the people and the context in which they work.
1789: You just mentioned the potential impact of digitization on our daily work: How would you describe the importance of organizational culture in this context?
Ricarda B. Bouncken: I think at first we really need to understand that innovation is not just about technology but about the people. Sure thing, technology is a major driver in this regard but there is definitely more to consider. For me, it is a company’s culture that will define its success in the future. To make it a bit more tangible, we should first and foremost focus on a cross-functional exchange than on building silos and new forms of dependencies. Speaking about this, I refer to the concept of joint knowledge generation in particular. In my eyes, the complexity of today’s companies makes it nearly a necessity to create and use knowledge in a collective manner to deliver new processes and structures. Ultimately, I think of a culture that enables interpersonal, organizational, and interorganizational learning.
1789: Perhaps based on one of your recent publications – what topic would you suggest is most relevant for today’s organizations?
Ricarda B. Bouncken: I wouldn’t reduce that to only one topic. I think this whole idea of working in an environment that provides you with the “space” you need, is important here. This particularly includes coworking, which is definitely a relevant research area for me. Other interesting areas I am currently working on are the concept of business ecosystems and the paradox of coopetition between different companies or even colleagues. Coopetition describes the hybrid activity where firms compete and cooperate with each other at the same time.
1789: One last question regarding your collaboration with 1789. What is your personal motivation to work together with us?
Ricarda B. Bouncken: You are really heating up the discussion of organizational change by addressing topics that are highly relevant for modern companies. I hope that joining you will improve the way organizations think about work help them focusing on things that matter.
1789: And we are more than happy to have you on board. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us!