Research project

Research project “Digital Transformation in German SMEs, especially in Family Businesses”

In this recently started research project, Thomas Clauß and Jörn Block are dedicated to the digital transformation in German medium-sized companies and, in particular, in 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 medium-sized (family) businesses in Germany. Digitalisation is one of the most important areas 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, especially in the context of digitalisation in medium-sized (family) companies. 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 are addressing the following questions, among others: What attention does decision-makers in medium-sized (family) companies pay to the topic of digitalisation of business models and where do they currently stand in terms of digitalisation and digital transformation? To what extent are medium-sized (family) companies successful in implementing the digitalisation of specific products, services and business models? How is the “digital readiness”, i.e. the degree of digitalisation know-how and entrepreneurial application competence available in medium-sized (family) companies? 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. Both 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 empirical evaluations. We use it to generate 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. After completion of the project, the results will be prepared in a practical brochure and further developed in workshops with the participants.

Information sheet on the digitalisation survey (available in German)


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

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