Master's Theses

  • Research Theses

    We are particularly looking for applicants interested in our research agenda which constantly evolves. Once you have applied, we will discuss the topics you are interested in more detail. You do not need to work out a topic exposé before you apply.

    Below you will find a list of indicative topics for master theses that we will supervise in the future. We are looking forward to your application!

    Previous Master thesis topics include work on entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship, innovation, digitalization, behavioral biases, top management teams, personality, motivation, M&A, alliances, sustainability, leadership, and learning. You can find a list of previous Master thesis topics in the section "Previous Master Thesis Topics" below.

  • Indicative Master Thesis Topics 

    In the coming semesters we will supervise master theses with the following indicative titles and descriptions. The list is not exhaustive and serves only as an orientation as to what kind of topics you can work on.

    1. “Investigating the impact of CEO variable compensation on external corporate venturing activity”
    CEOs oftentimes receive a compensation package that also comprises variable components such as stock options. According to the behavioral agency model, such remuneration may incentivize more or less risk-taking behavior. Does it also trigger external corporate venturing acticity (i.e. M&A, CVC, alliances)?

    Keywords: Stock options, Corporate venturing, M&A, CVC, Alliances, Behavioral agency model

    2. "CxOs in the upper echelon: Understanding their role for firms' innovation performance”

    According to Peter Drucker, “Any business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation”. His famous 1954 quote remains highly relevant in today's era of rapid digitalization and technological change. Firms face increasing pressure to innovate to stay competitive. Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Information Officers, and other senior leaders play crucial roles in this effort. Recent research underscores the importance of CMOs and CIOs in driving firm performance. However, the specific impacts of CxO coalitions on innovation efforts are less clear. What types of CIO-CxO coalitions most effectively spur innovation? What factors positively or negatively influence these relationships? Do CIO-turnovers spur innovation? Theses in this area utilize various methodologies, such as literature reviews, interviews, surveys, and secondary data analyses, to address these and related questions.

    Keywords: Organizational Strategy, Digitalization, Innovation Performance, CxO Leadership

    3. “Innovation and megatrends – Investigating changes in firms’ innovation pipeline”
    Innovation is a key prerequisite of firms’ long-term success. However, current megatrends, e.g., sustainability, require firms to rethink their innovation pipelines. This thesis proposal aims to review the theoretical foundations to develop hypotheses on firms’ innovation activity against the background of key megatrends. What are the key megatrends impacting firms? Has there actually been a change in firms’ innovations and how are key megatrends reflected in those changes? These hypotheses are empirically evaluated leveraging powerful databases. Findings are of high relevance not only for the scientific community but also to practitioners: how can firms’ leadership teams address megatrends in their innovation focus to retain and strengthen their market position?

    Keywords: Innovation, Megatrends, Upper Echelons

    4. “Innovation as Big Tech’s winning formula – Are the FAANG companies better than the old economy in innovating?”
    The 2010s have seen the tremendous rise of technology companies in economic importance and stock prices. Five companies – namely Facebook (Meta), Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (Alphabet) are particularly prominent and said to dominate their markets. How come? A recent stream of literature investigates the role of innovation for those companies’ success. This thesis aims to advance recent literature by comparing Big Tech’s innovation activity to that of the old economy. How do their innovations differ? Do Big Tech companies bring more radical innovations and breakthroughs to the market? This thesis aims at addressing those questions empirically building upon existing data and approaches.

    Keywords: Innovation, Technology, Digitalization, Firm Performance

    5. "Digital Health and Innovation in healthcare"

    The digitalisation of healthcare has been one of the main drivers of innovation in the healthcare sector, and not just since the Corona pandemic. An increasing number of digital solutions are in development or are being introduced into the German health market under the term Digital Health Application (DiGa). In the context of these developments, we examine the role of start-ups and established companies in this development. Further research questions are the origin of innovations and their penetration in the market. Which go-to-market strategies exist and which of them are suitable for start-up-related innovations. The starting point for these studies is a broad quantitative database, which we are constantly expanding.  See Research Group – Digital Ecosystems for further information.

    Keywords: eHealth, mHealth, Digital Health, Telemedicine, MedTech, Artificial Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Medical Entrepreneurship, Health Care Entrepreneurship, Physician Entrepreneurs

    6. "Hit or hype? How do artificial intelligence technologies shake up today's economic landscape?"

    Artificial intelligence is THE buzzword. An unprecedented number of new technologies are entering the market, significantly impacting today's economy and social life. The impact of these technologies needs to be explored intensively. For example, how does the announcement of artificial intelligence-related products or services impact a firm's market value? Theses in this area investigate these interrelationships with different methodological approaches, e.g., literature reviews, surveys, interviews, and secondary data analyses.

    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Firm Performance, Innovation, Product announcements, Firm value

    7. "Personalities of Founders in the Clean Energy Industry"

    Your master thesis is about the backgrounds and expertise of founders in green energy start-ups. While previous studies have looked at tech start-ups, your research uniquely focuses on the clean energy sector, emphasizing the significance of founders' experiences in determining the success of these ventures. Start-ups in this field play a pivotal role in sustainable rural electrification, driving major innovations to conserve resources, address climate change, and minimize environmental pollution.

    Keywords: Green energy start-ups, Founders' backgrounds, Clean energy sector, Venture success.

    8. "Evaluating the Environmental Footprint of Solid-State Batteries: A Life Cycle Assessment Approach for Sustainable Energy Storage Solutions"

    Aufgrund der Relevanz von Nachhaltigkeit in der heutigen Gesellschaft ist es unerlässlich, die Umweltauswirkungen neuer Technologien zu bewerten. Im Einklang mit diesem Ziel soll sich diese Masterarbeit mit der Durchführung einer ökobilanziellen Analyse von Feststoffbatterien befassen. Dieses Forschungsprojekt zielt darauf ab, die Umweltauswirkungen von Feststoffbatterien während ihres gesamten Lebenszyklus umfassend zu bewerten, wobei Aspekte wie Rohstoffgewinnung, Produktion, Nutzung und Entsorgung berücksichtigt werden. Daraufhin sollen die Ergebnisse für eine anschließende qualitative Analyse aufbereitet werden. Die Masterarbeit soll zur Forschung der Umweltauswirkungen beitragen und die Entwicklung von nachhaltigen Energiespeicherlösungen erleichtern.

    Keywords: Nachhaltigkeit, Umweltauswirkungen, Neue Technologien, Ökobilanzielle Analyse, Feststoffbatterien, Lebenszyklus, Rohstoffgewinnung, Qualitative Analyse, Nachhaltige Energiespeicherlösungen

    9. "A Comparative Study on Climate Change Mitigation vs. Adaptation Technologies: A Path to Sustainability"

    Climate change presents two distinct challenges: mitigation and adaptation. This master thesis focuses on understanding the differences between technologies aimed at mitigating climate change and those designed for adaptation. Utilizing OLS analysis on comprehensive datasets, the research will dissect the economic dimension of both approaches. The goal is to provide a nuanced understanding of how different strategies contribute to combating climate change, offering insights for policymakers, investors, and environmental stakeholders.

    Keywords: Sustainability, innovation performance, OLS regression

    10. "Exploring Dynamics Between Top Management Teams and Corporate Venture Capital Heads"

    The relationship between Top Management Teams (TMT) and Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) heads is pivotal for strategic alignment and innovation within corporations. Differences in risk tolerance, leadership styles, and strategic objectives can either hinder or facilitate effective collaboration. This topic investigates how the personalities and professional backgrounds of TMT and CVC leaders influence their interactions and decision-making processes. Identifying mechanisms to align these potentially divergent goals is crucial for integrating CVC activities with overall corporate strategies. Understanding these dynamics can enhance corporate governance and strategic innovation.

    Keywords: CVC, Behavioral agency model, Corporate Venturing, Conflicts of Interest

    11. "CEO Incentivization and Strategic Risk-Taking in Corporations: An Analysis of Moderating Factors"

     This master thesis explores the dynamics of CEO incentive schemes and their impact on the strategic risk orientation of firms. With the growing emphasis on aligning executive rewards with long-term corporate goals, the nature of CEO compensation plays a pivotal role in shaping a firm's strategic risk-taking decisions. Specifically, the thesis seeks to investigate how different forms of CEO incentives, such as stock options, bonuses, and long-term incentive plans, influence corporate risk-taking behaviors. Additionally, several moderating factors should be explored to provide a nuanced understanding of how and when CEO incentives affect strategic risk-taking.  

    Keywords: CEO Incentives, Strategic Risk-Taking, Behavioral Agency Model

    12. "Mapping Refugee Entrepreneurship in Germany: A Focus on Ukrainian Refugees and Supporting Organizations"

    As migration to Germany remains on an elevated level, it is increasingly important to understand the entrepreneurship landscape among refugees, especially Ukrainian refugees. This thesis will delve into the entrepreneurial activities undertaken by Ukrainian refugees and examine the organizations and initiatives dedicated to their support and organization. By identifying key challenges and opportunities, this study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the support systems available to these entrepreneurs. The research will blend a review of existing literature with empirical data analysis to map the current state of refugee entrepreneurship in various industries and regions across Germany. This analysis will also explore how refugee entrepreneurs are integrated into the local economy and the role of supporting organizations in influencing their success or failure.

    Keywords: Refugee Entrepreneurship, Ukrainian Refugees, Support Organizations, Economic Integration, Empirical Data Analysis, Policy Impact

    13. "Your Network (Effect) Is Your Net Worth: How Entrepreneurial Experiences Impact Growth Strategy Selection And Value Capture In Multi-Sided Platform Business Models"

    To understand digital platform entrepreneurship, the connection and interplay between previous experiences, growth strategy selection and successful value capture must be understood. Digital platforms such as Uber and TikTok quickly change industry dynamics and thus analysis of multisided platforms needs to be at the forefront of research. Accordingly, this paper provides a comprehensive analysis on the nuances of multisided platforms and their growth strategies via a contrast between the organic and the acquisitive approach, aiming to close the significant research gap in the field. By addressing how navigating the complexities of MSPs requires business leaders to develop a different set of managerial strategies and skills, this paper contributes to both entrepreneurship literature and MSP research.

    Keywords: Multisided platforms, Value capture, Network effects, Digital platforms

  • Practitioner Theses

    We also welcome and encourage collaborations with practitioners to write your thesis (e.g., startups, corporates, non-profit organizations). In general, it is your responsibility to find a collaboration partner. From time to time, we will publish cooperation opportunities on our Jobs website.

    Currently there is the possibility to write theses at Durante Adesivi in Italy or the St. Franziskus Foundation. If you are interested, please contact Maximilian Charlet.

    Please apply to our chair before you commit to the partner to discuss whether your proposed topic is a good fit for our chair (see below for details on the application process). In your application, you will be asked to include the contact details of your contact within the partner organization. The final topic will be determined by the chair in consultation with the contact person.

    You need to ensure that the partner agrees to make the data used in your thesis available to the academic supervisor and the head of the chair for the purpose of the examination.

    Pursuant to the regulations governing examinations, the practice partner has no right to participate in the evaluation of the thesis. Other contractual agreements between the student and the company do not affect the regulations governing examinations set by the examination office and are solely in the candidate’s scope of responsibility.

  • Formal Requirements

    We recommend writing your Master thesis in English but it can also be written in German after consultation with your advisor. Detailed guidelines, especially with regard to the layout, will be provided in time once you are accepted.

    To start your thesis, you need to fill in the candidate section of the guide card (“Leitkarte”) which you can find here. The writing period starts once the topic is assigned. You can calculate the exact start and submission dates for your specific circumstances in the online calculator here.

  • Final Submission

    You must submit your Master's thesis no later than the date specified in the routing card.

    From Q1 2023, please only use the digital option of the Thesis Uploader for submission. Physical printing is no longer necessary.

    The declaration of consent for plagiarism checking ("Declaration of consent to check my thesis with plagiarism detection software") can be downloaded here and must be attached to the bound copies at the end of the Master's thesis and signed. 

    The declaration of authorship must also be included and signed in the bound copies at the end of the Master's thesis.

  • Application to the Institute for Entrepreneurship

    Before you register at the Examination Office, please apply by completing the following survey. Note that you will be asked to upload a CV and current transcript of records. We will not consider applications if these two documents are missing.

    Link

  • Registration with the Examination Office

    Registration for Master theses is done via the examination office of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Münster. The registration dates can be found on the Examination Office’s website.

  • Previous Master Thesis Topics

    Entrepreneurship

    Internationalization of Startups: Market Selection, Entry Mode and Entry Timing – The Case of a B2B Online Used Car Marketplace (2020)

    E-Commerce Success Factors: Dynamic and Promotional Pricing in Online Retail (2020)

    Traditional Public Offering vs. Token Offering – A Cost Comparison of a New Form of Financing (2020)

    Digital Internationalization: the Role of E-Commerce in Expansion Processes (2020)

    An Analysis of Strategic Success Factors for Start-ups: Possible Application of the PIMS Project Findings for Start-Ups in the Seed, Start-up and Growth Stage (2020)

    Establishment of a Sales Cycle Management Process to Optimize the Lead-To-Customer Conversion Rate for a B2B Online Used Car Marketplace (2020)

    Quantitative Analysis of the Influence of Vehicle Characteristics on Used Car Market Prices – Improving the Car Valuation of a B2B Online Used Car Marketplace (2020)

    Hypothesenbasiertes Entrepreneurship: Customer Discovery und Kundenvalidierung am Beispiel eines IT-Startups (2020)

    The Impact of Corporate Venture Capital Leadership in Investments and Exits (2019)

    Text Mining of User Generated Content to Derive Informational Needs of Consumers: An Application for Content Marketing in Leadership Development (2019)

    Innovation

    The Power of Being a Digital High Performer – What Drives Digital Innovation in US Large Caps? (2020)

    XaaS in Industry 4.0: Developing and Evaluating New Business Models to Operate Automated Guided Vehicles for an Industrial Services Company (2020)

    How to Drive Digital Transformation: the Role of Chief Information Officers’ Power and Background (2020)

    Digital Innovation: An Analysis of Characteristic Drivers in S&P 500 Companies (2020)

    Do Innovations Really Pay Off? The Impact of Innovation on Stock Performance (2020)

    How to be Green? Corporate Strategies to Reduce CO2 Emissions (2020)

    Ho to sell green – Strategic pricing of CO2 emission reduction and eco-innovation (2020)

    How to Make a Green Virtue of a Necessity – Green Innovations and Business Opportunities Triggered by CO2 Emissions (2020)

    Does It Pay to Be Green – Carbon Emission Reduction and Its Impact on Companies’ Performance (2020)

    Digital Radical Innovation in American Large Caps: Characteristics & Trends (2019)

    Leading in the Age of Disruption: Why Digital Innovation matters (2019)

    Digitization: Does the Level of Industry IT Investment Impact Firm Performance? (2019)

    Ways Into a Sustainable Future: How Large Caps Deal with the Triple Bottom Line (2019)

    Relationship between Sustainable Innovations and Corporate Performance – Do Sustainable Innovators Outperform Their Competitors? (2019)

    The Impact of Sustainable Innovation on the success of US large caps (2019)

    Strategic Management

    Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Attitudes – The Importance of Personality Traits for Entrepreneurship Efforts (2020)

    Organizational Impact on Employee Motivation – An Empirical Analysis (2020)

    Personality Traits in the Top Management Team – The role of Narcissism, Overconfidence and Extraversion (2020)

    Strategic Alliances and Firm Performance: Does Coopetitive Behavior Pay Off? – An Empirical Analysis (2020)

    Identifying Robust Causal Inferences is Possible – Mitigating Endogeneity in Empirical Management Research in the Context of Product Recalls (2020)

    The Increasing Openness for Employee’s Sexual Orientation and Its Contribution to Business Success – An Analysis of LGBT Executives and Their Organizations (2020)

    The Personality of Top Managers – The Interaction between the CMO and Branding Strategies (2020)

    The Personality of Top Managers – The Interaction of the CMO and Strategic Decisions (2020)

    Employee’s Personalities and Reward Preferences: Designing the optimal incentive programs based on individual differences (2020)

    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall … I Am the Most Successful of Us All – How CEO Narcissism Influences Firm Performance (2019)

Do you have any questions? Our contact person for master theses at the Institute for Entrepreneurship Maximilian Charlet will help you.