Junior Management Science, Volume 8, Issue 3, September 2023

The more, the better? Diversification Trends in Executive and Supervisory Boards in Germany and their Potential Effects

Bogdan Bedelev, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Bachelor thesis)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 569-590

In 2015, Germany passed the Gender Quota Law, and while some countries compelled listed companies to reserve at least 30% of their executive seats for women, imposing fines on the firms that failed to comply, Germany favoured soft-law quotas with almost no penalties. Additionally, this policy focused solely on supervisory board quotas and measures to counteract women’s under-representation, neglecting other demographic and cognitive groups. Given the increasingly diverse population in Germany, it is necessary to study the role of other diversity dimensions in the board composition from the financial and social perspectives and whether there are any development trends in the German boards. In my Bachelor thesis, I study whether there are any diversity improvements in the composition of German-listed companies‘ executive and supervisory boards, presenting recent academic findings on the drivers and the effects of diverse boardrooms. Moreover, I conduct a descriptive analysis of the German board diversity trends, implementing a novel diversity index of Bernile et al. (2018) covering various diversity facets.

Keywords: Controlling; Leadership; Board diversity; ESG; Corporate governance.

Managing Customer Success: An Evolutionary Process Model for Role Development in SaaS Entrepreneurial Ventures

Lennart Jayasuriya, Technical University of Munich (Master thesis)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 591-616

In an increasingly SaaS-driven, competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem, retaining customers has become a key challenge to solve for entrepreneurial ventures. Customer success management provides a possible response to this challenge, looking to build a close relationship with customers to ensure a maximum value-added through the sold software solution. This thesis conducts inductive qualitative research based on eight German SaaS entrepreneurial ventures. It showcases the evolution of the customer success management role in three phases from a 360° support towards a trusted advisor. Over three phases, task change from an operational to a more strategic focus, which is connected to changes in the internal collaboration. The results suggest a strong individual impulse to be a necessary condition for customer success management to emerge and evolve. Furthermore, the role development is accompanied by a perspective shift of the own entrepreneurial venture and a continuously iterating definition of customer success. The findings of this thesis highlight important challenges over the course of establishing a customer success management department in an entrepreneurial venture looking to provide theoretical groundwork for future research as well as start-ups investigating the topic.

Keywords: Customer success management; Entrepreneurial ventures; Process model; SaaS; Grounded theory.

The hidden potential of boredom – How does the relative perception of boredom influence concentration and task performance?

Joshua W. Coen, University of Cologne (Master thesis)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 617-633

As boredom in the workplace is an important factor with widespread consequences, research interest in this topic is very high. This paper proposes a way of decreasing workplace boredom and thereby the negative effects associated with it. Based on literature about contrast effects, this paper develops the hypothesis that contrast between boredom levels leads to higher or lower evaluations of task boredom in a subsequent cognitive task. In an online experiment, this theory was tested. The results show that the same task is perceived as less boring when preceded by a monotonous and unchallenging task. An opposite effect for highly interesting tasks could not be determined. In addition, it was found that the boredom induction is linked to significantly lower concentration and that both boredom and inattention decrease cognitive performance. As proposed, the performance influence of boredom transcended tasks, with task C boredom fully mediating the relationship between task 1 boredom and cognitive performance. Further insights and implications are discussed, including a possible bidirectional causal relationship between boredom and inattention. The results implicate that boredom can be deliberately influenced through contextual cues and task order to mitigate its disadvantages.

Keywords: Boredom; Productivity; Work design; Concentration; Contrast effects.

Private Equity Transactions: Value Creation through Operational Engineering – Evidence from Europe

Victor Heinrich, Technical University of Munich (Master thesis)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 634-657

This paper investigates private equity value creation strategies through operational engineering. To examine this, I define a KPI framework typically favored by private equity firms. I apply propensity score matching to a dataset of European PE transactions compared to non-PE backed companies to study value creation. By applying a Difference and Difference regression setting and thereby controlling for two-way fixed effects, I can find strong evidence on PE value creation through operational engineering. This paper adds new insights to academia as (a) there are only few contributions using propensity score matching to examine PE value creation and (b) this paper is the first, to the best of my knowledge, to combine the approach of propensity score matching and Difference in Difference regressions, yielding highly significant results on the relevance of EBITDA margin improvement.

Keywords: Private equity; Value creation; Operational engineering; Propensity score matching.

Strategic Foresight Capability and its Impact on Firm Performance: A systematic, AI-based Literature Review

Stefan Gerhard Taferner, Universität St. Gallen (Bachelorarbeit)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 658-681

Strategic foresight is a growing field that attracts scholars aiming to reduce the uncertainty of volatile business environments. However, the field must address crucial challenges to advance theory and practice. To achieve this, the thesis presents a systematic, AI-based literature review that structures the foresight field, displays the status quo, and offers research trajectories. A sample of 243 journal-published articles is analyzed to create an organizing framework as well as provide narrative syntheses on foresight capability and its impact on firm performance. This analysis points out that foresight research often lacks theoretical foundations, mixes epistemological dimensions, and does not work toward a shared objective. Still, six research themes and their connections were identified for an organizing framework. Further, the review points out capabilities for successful foresight: Distinct processual and contextual capabilities developed in accordance with a firm’s environment can ensure success. Lastly, the paper emphasizes that “successful foresight” manifests in practice through a positive impact on strategic, organizational, and performance outcomes. Those findings support the efforts of establishing foresight in management studies and improving academic progress.

Keywords: Strategic foresight; Firm performance; Foresight capabilities; Literature review; Organizing framework.

Turning German Steel Production Green: Quantifying Diffusion Scenarios for Hydrogen-Based Steelmaking and Policy Implications

Philipp Preis, Technische Universität München (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 682-716

The German steel industry is in jeopardy. Current steel production must be comprehensively transformed to achieve the emission targets imposed by the Federal Climate Change Act. A promising alternative that has increasingly gained momentum in recent years is hydrogen-based steel production. This thesis analyzes the potential of this method to transform the German steel industry. First, drivers that will decisively influence the future role of hydrogen-based steelmaking are identified. Subsequently, these drivers are linked in a quantitative model to develop explorative diffusion scenarios and to draw conclusions for policymaking. Four representative scenarios are extracted and analyzed. Large differences between the scenario outputs illustrate that the diffusion of hydrogen-based steelmaking is subject to significant uncertainties. It becomes clear that the most effective lever for promoting the attractiveness of hydrogen-based steelmaking is increasing the cost of conventional production by exposing it to CO2 prices. However, such exposure simultaneously suggests disadvantages towards producers that are not subject to this regulation. To mitigate the emerging risk of carbon leakage effects, suitable policy measures are required.

Keywords: Green steel; Green hydrogen; Energy transition; Energy policy.

A Techno-Economic Analysis of Space-Based Solar Power Systems

Benedikt Kruft, Technische Universität München (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 732-771

Space-based solar power (SBSP) promises to provide flexible renewable baseload power. However, no full-system prototype exists due to a perceived lack of economic viability. The goal of this thesis is therefore to determine how different technology approaches can improve key technical metrics of SBSP and consequently the economics. For this purpose, we divide the system into its three main segments and define critical metrics for the performance of each subsystem. Based on these, novel technology approaches from the literature are then evaluated. For the solar satellite, we are able to show that a number of technology options exist that might improve power levels, radiation resistance, and mass-related ratios. These advances would greatly benefit overall system economics, as the space segment constitutes a big lever for enhancing the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Furthermore, microwave power beaming efficiencies in line with required levels have been demonstrated but so far lack the scale and distance necessary for SBSP. Ultimately, the global capacity in space lift capabilities appears to be a major bottleneck. Consequently, a reduction in mass of the satellite would not only be a matter of economics but might render any such project even possible in the first place.

Keywords: Energy; Solar; Space; Microwaves; Sustainability.

Green Funds and Environmental Disclosure Quality

Katharina Dormann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 772-797

I study the association between the selection of a company by a green fund and its environmental disclosure quality. Based on fund holding and environmental disclosure data of companies in the EU between 2017 and 2021 I conduct a descriptive as well as an empirical analysis. I investigate whether the environmental disclosure quality is associated with the selection by a green fund. Literature examines green funds and environmental disclosure quality separately, but the theories discussed allow for the expectation that the green fund selection and the environmental disclosure quality of companies are positively associated. I find that (i) the environmental disclosure quality of green fund investees is higher than of companies which are not selected, and (ii) the environmental disclosure quality increases further after the selection by a green fund, (iii) but this increase does not seem to be due to the selection itself but a trend of increasing environmental disclosure quality. (iv) The results suggest that green funds which rely on environmental disclosures in their selection process tend to select companies with higher environmental disclosure quality than those selected by green funds which use additional data sources besides the disclosures in their selection processes.

Keywords: Environmental disclosures; Green funds; Disclosure quality; Sustainable finance; Fund selection processes.

Blockchain Technology Adoption among Consumers: An Analysis of Usage Intention and Application Usefulness

Dennis Henning, Technische Universität München (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 8(3), 2023, 798-826

Blockchain technology research has mainly been focused on general usage intention, mostly examined the organizational perspective, and lacked a differentiated view at specific blockchain applications from the consumer perspective. To foster adoption of blockchain technology, consumer perception of blockchain technology needs further understanding. Building on recent technology adoption literature and employing a representative survey for Germany, we identified context dependent predictors and moderators of blockchain technology usage intention. Results show that drivers of usage intention depend on consumers’ age, gender, experience, and cryptocurrency possession. Findings guide practitioners by shedding light on blockchain adoption and usefulness of specific blockchain applications. Moreover, results indicate that blockchain adoption research should be more granular and differentiate between applications and contexts. Our identified specific blockchain applications provide a basis for future research.

Keywords: Blockchain technology; Technology adoption; UTAUT; Usage intention.