Research project

Research project “Digitalisation and digital transformation of family businesses”

In this recently started research project, Thomas Clauß and Björn Block are dedicated to the digital transformation of German family businesses – a topic that is highly relevant from an economic, social and political point of view. Dealing with disruptive innovations that change entire industries and are often based on digital business models is essential for the continued existence and future success of German family businesses. Digitization is one of the most important fields of business activity, the effects of which will have a lasting impact on the competitiveness of companies. Despite the enormous importance of the topic, there is still a lack of comprehensive understanding of how radical transformations and business model innovations can take place and be implemented in family businesses, especially in the context of digitization. In particular, there are few findings on the influence of family-specific characteristics and the diversity of family businesses in this regard. Against the background of this research gap, Thomas Clauß and Jörn Block address the following questions, among others: How much attention does decision-makers in family businesses pay to the topic of digitization of business models? To what extent are family businesses successful in converting digitization into specific products, services and business models? How is the “digital readiness”, i.e. the degree of digitalization know-how and entrepreneurial application competence available in family businesses, to be assessed among German family businesses? Are there any differences between products, (internal and external) processes and business models in this regard?

In addition to a comprehensive literature analysis, a quantitative data analysis is planned as part of the project. Newly collected survey data and information from databases (e.g. financial key figures, number of employees, industry key figures, patent data) are integrated as the data basis for the quantitative evaluations. The approach chosen by the researchers generates a unique, extensive database. The results of the evaluations of this data will provide a reliable basis for the derivation of recommendations for action – both from a scientific and a practical point of view.


Do you have any questions or suggestions about this research project? You can find more about the project managers and their contact details on their profiles.

Profile of Prof. Dr. Thomas Clauß

Profile of Prof. Dr. Jörn Block