WIFU Departments


The WIFU-endowed chair for corporate entrepreneurship and digitalisation in family businesses focuses on research and teaching in digital transformation and innovation in family businesses. The chair pursues a research approach in which phenomena are considered both at the level of the institution and its framework conditions as well as from the perspective of the individual and their perception. Our research is based on empirical data from the context of family businesses. Depending on the question, we use a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods to deliver both theoretical scientific knowledge and relevant practical implications for practice. The chair deals with the following research questions:

– What are the drivers and barriers of (digital) transformation in family businesses?
– Which digital skills are required for a successful digital transformation?
– Which digital business models are suitable for family businesses?
– How are corporate entrepreneurship initiatives implemented in family businesses?
– How are family businesses integrated into ecosystems, and how can interfaces be established or strengthened?

We endorse research-based, practice-oriented teaching and actively involve students in ongoing research and practical projects.


  • Business Model Innovation
  • Business Model Innovations in Family Businesses
  • Digital Transformation
  • Start-up Creation and Management


Prof. Dr. Thomas Clauß
Chairholder Corporate Entrepreneurship and Digitalisation in Family Businesses
Dr. Felix Lorenz
Senior researcher at the Chair of Corporate Entrepreneurship and Digitalisation in Family Businesses
Muhammad Anwar
Scholarship holder of the WIFU Foundation
Marc André Scheffler
Scholarship holder of the WIFU Foundation
Nicola Mehringer
Secretary at the Chair of Management of Family Businesses, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Digitisation, Family Business Law, Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses



Prof. Dr. Thomas Clauß

Phone: +49 2302 926 541
Email: thomas.clauss@uni-wh.de

Prof. Dr Thomas Clauss has been the chairholder of the WIFU-endowed chair for Corporate Entrepreneurship and Digitalisation in Family Businesses since 2020. In 2019, Prof. Clauss accepted an appointment as Associate Professor for New Product Development at the University of Southern Denmark. From 2013 to 2019, as a junior professor, he headed the working group for business administration, specifically corporate management, with a focus on innovative value-creation concepts at the Philipps University in Marburg. He studied industrial engineering and economics at the University of Kassel and completed his doctorate on the subject of the governance of supplier cooperation at the University of Hamburg.


Kraus, S., Clauß, T., Breier, M., Gast, J., Zardini, A., Tiberius, V. (2020): The economics of COVID-19: Initial empirical evidence on how family firms in five European countries cope with the corona crisis, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

Hock-Doepgen, M., Clauss, T., Kraus, S., & Cheng, C. F. (2020): Knowledge management capabilities and organizational risk-taking for business model innovation in SMEs. Journal of Business Research

Clauss, T., Bouncken, R. B., Laudien, S., & Kraus, S. (2020): Business model reconfiguration and innovation in SMEs: a mixed-method analysis from the electronics industry. International Journal of Innovation Management, 24(02)

Spieth, P., Schneider, S., Clauß, T., & Eichenberg, D. (2019): Value drivers of social businesses: A business model perspective. Long Range Planning, 52(3), 427-444

Clauss, T., Abebe, M., Tangpong, C., & Hock, M. (2019): Strategic agility, business model innovation, and firm performance: an empirical investigation. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management

Clauss, T., Harengel, P., & Hock, M. (2019): The perception of value of platform-based business models in the sharing economy: determining the drivers of user loyalty. Review of Managerial Science, 13(3), 605-634

Clauss, T., & Tangpong, C. (2019): Perception‐based supplier attributes and performance implications: a multimethod exploratory study. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 55(4), 34-66

Clauss, T., Breitenecker, R. J., Kraus, S., Brem, A., & Richter, C. (2018): Directing the wisdom of the crowd: the importance of social interaction among founders and the crowd during crowdfunding campaigns. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 27(8), 709-729

Clauß, T., & Laudien, S. M. (2017): Digitale Geschäftsmodelle: Systematisierung und Gestaltungsoptionen. WiSt-Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Studium, 46(10), 4-10

Clauss, T. (2017): Measuring business model innovation: conceptualization, scale development, and proof of performance. R&D Management, 47(3), 385-403

Hock, M., Clauss, T., & Schulz, E. (2016): The impact of organizational culture on a firm’s capability to innovate the business model. R&d Management, 46(3), 433-450

Bouncken, R. B., Clauß, T., & Fredrich, V. (2016): Product innovation through coopetition in alliances: Singular or plural governance?. Industrial Marketing Management, 53, 77-90

Schneider, S., Spieth, P., & Clauss, T. (2013): Business model innovation in the aviation industry. International Journal of Product Development 12, 18(3-4), 286-310

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Research Project Digital Transformation in German SMEs, especially in Family Businesses
  • Dealing and best practices in dealing with family businesses with the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Drivers and barriers to digital transformation in family businesses
  • Designing digital business model innovations
  • Measurement and meaning of “technological frames” in the digital age
  • Dynamic skills of managers for business model innovations

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