A key problem in SCM is the coordination of legally independent companies´ decisions. Through appropriate incentive design, individual goals of a company and collective goals of the supply chain can be reconciled. Therefore, the professorship aims to rigorously analyze the effects of different coordination tools (such as contracts, exchange of information, reputation systems) and thus to derive basic, scientifically sound recommendations for their use in practice. The institute focuses on the behavioral robustness of the coordination tools. Compared to "classical" behavioral assumptions behaviorally robust coordination instruments are less susceptible to deviations.
The classical model-theoretical analysis of coordination tools uses two critical behavioral assumptions: the complete rationality of all actors in the supply chain and the goal of maximizing profit. By performing laboratory experiments the robustness of the model-theoretical analyzes are checked with respect to these behavioral assumptions. If the model-theoretical approaches / analyzes turn out to be not behaviorally robust (e.g., unpredictable efficiency losses), it will be researched to what extent microeconomically substantiated behavioral phenomena, e.g. fairness or risk preferences can explain the observations in the lab experiments. In a new cycle of model-theoretical analyzes and laboratory experiments, it will be subsequently analyzed to what extent behaviorally robust coordination tools can be designed. This field of tension of model-guided decision support taking into account actually observed behavior, is the institute´s central object of research.
Another main research is the sustainable design of value added chains. In particular the research interest lies in the efficient design of processes for the reprocessing of used parts (for example, used car engines or consumer electronics). The methodological approaches are quantitatively-empirically affected. For analysis and optimization of redemption processes, methods of operations research (optimization and development of heuristics) are used. Questionnaire studies, laboratory experiments and quantitative-model-theoretical approaches are combined in order to take into account the quality risks perceived by the customer in operative reprocessing decisions.
In summary, the institute contributes to the research field of the coordination of independent companies as well as the sustainable design of supply chains. The choice of method is generally based on the research question and includes the following portfolio:
a. The methods of Operations Research (OR) are used for concrete decision support in complex decision situations.
b. Game-theoretical model analyzes are used to analyze the effects of measures (e.g. contract design, sustainability strategies, etc.) under idealized conditions.
c. Laboratory experiments are used to test game-theoretical predictions for behavioral robustness under controlled conditions.