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Department of Organization and Economics of Institutions

Our Department in Brief

History
The Department of Organization and Economics of Institutions was set up under the direction of  Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Michael Kopel in July 2009 as part of the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences at the Karl-Franzens University.

 

Description
Institutional economics studies the impact of rules, institutional frameworks and organizational structure on economic transactions and behavior and thereby provides an economic theory for research on management issues. The department represents an area of research that is built upon successful research findings.

In the year 2009, for instance, the Nobel Prize for economic sciences was awarded to Oliver Williamson, who is considered the most important representative of the Economics of Institutions along with Ronald Coase (Nobel Prize 1991). In 2001, the Nobel Prize went to the economists George Akerlof, Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz for their analysis of markets with asymmetric information. In this context we see ourselves as a scientific department that deals with the analysis and solution of complex issues related to the organization of economic transactions.

Building on the economic approaches of Organizational Economics, we deal in an interdisciplinary way with issues that are the subject of (primarily long-term) management decisions. This is done mainly by building and analyzing quantitative models, whereby approaches from game theory and information economics as well as simulation methods are employed to derive solutions.

 

Research Activities

The goal of our research activities is to derive recommendations on the optimal choice of design variables governing a particular transaction. The department is connected to the scientific community in various ways:

  • Memberships in economic organizations: e.g. German Economic Association of Business Administration (GEABA),
  • Verein für Socialpolitik and its councils
  • Editorial Boards of international journals: e.g. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Review of Managerial Science
  • Publishing activities: e.g. Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy
  • Participation and (co-)organizing of scientific conferences and workshops

In addition, the scientific exchange is promoted through guest professorships (e.g. Calabria, Auckland, Tokyo, Sydney). International research activities exist with several universities in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. Current research papers and publications are available on our homepage.

 

Teaching Principles and Goals
We try to include state-of-the-art research into our teaching program. The focus in our teaching activities lies in the fields of strategic management and organizational economics. Themes range, for example, from the relationship between corporate social responsibility and corporate performance, to organizational forms and their effects on competition, to the assessment of in-sourcing and out-sourcing strategies. We offer courses at all levels of Business Administration studies:

  • Bachelor:
    In the Bachelor's studies, the emphasis lies on teaching the fundamentals of management and the methods and techniques for organization design.
  • Master: In the Master's studies, particular attention is given to the specific business administration field 'Organization and the Economics of Institutions'. Here, principles for solutions in strategic management are derived based on insights in agency theory and industrial economics. In this way, students obtain an optimal basis for later employment in the areas of corporate management or consulting. While working on a Master's thesis, students can confront specific research topics and further enhance their qualification profiles.
  • Doctorate:
    In the Ph.D. studies, we place particular value on teaching scientific methods and mentoring doctoral candidates at the highest scientific levels with the goal of publishing in international journals. The department also participates in the Doctoral Program for Accounting, Reporting, and Taxation, which is financed by the Austrian Science Foundation (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung) and organized by the Karl-Franzens University of Graz in cooperation with the University of Vienna and the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

A list of courses offered can be found on our homepage.

Faculty
The team of professors consists of the Department Head, Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Michael Kopel, as well as ao.Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Otto Krickl and PD Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Karl Zotter among others. More information about our team can be found on our homepage.

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