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uni'wissen 01-2016_ENG

sibilities,” says Lengsfeld. How can organizational conditions and individual communication and incentive systems promote or inhibit particular behaviors and the innovation of new products and processes? How do particular systems interact? “Research on these questions is still in its infancy,” says the economist, who has received the Univer- sity of Freiburg’s University Teaching Award and Instructional Development Award for his concept. Lengsfeld’s approach is not limited to the manufacturing industry. The service and adminis- trative sectors also stand to benefit, as shown by his simulation of an automobile insurance provider: The four stations are “department head,” “damage report administrator,” “contract administrator,” and “office assistant.” The goal of the ten-minute rounds is to process as many incoming requests as possible. The simulation begins with four stu- dents sitting at four different tables arranged around filing shelves. White and blue files are placed in no apparent order on the shelves, and various forms are strewn across the tables. As a consequence, the participants spend the first round putting things in order on their own. Not much gets done, and time gets wasted. This improves in time, because the students are allowed to implement more and more “lean of- fice” principles each round, including sorting out unnecessary things, cleaning up the workspace, arranging things in a practical way, standardizing processes, and continually improving standards. In the last round the tables are rearranged to Further Reading Bajmel, B. / Lengsfeld, S. (2015): No more extra miles: experimental evidence on the critical role of (no) time autonomy for process innovation and production. Workingpaper, Universität Freiburg. Dehm, W. / Bormann, B. (2007): Wandel zum Anfassen – Der Einsatz von Prozesssimulationen in Veränderungsprozessen. In: OrganisationsEntwicklung 2/2007, pp. 31– 40. Prof. Dr. Stephan Lengsfeld studied business adminis- tration at the University of Saarbrücken and completed core studies in mathe- matics at the University of Cologne. He earned his PhD in economics at the latter institution in 1998. In 2004 he completed his habilitation thesis at the University of Tübingen. Following stints at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Hannover, he accepted a professorship in finance, accountancy, and control- ling at the University of Freiburg in 2010. His research focuses on human resources and organizational economics, coordination and incentive systems for product and process innovations, experimental economics, internal cor- porate accounting, success factors for small and mid- sized companies, and new methodologies for univer- sity teaching and learning. minimize the distance between the stations. The forms are now sorted, superfluous files thrown out, and work materials available and in easy reach. Moreover, now the tasks have been allo- cated differently among the two administrators. The processes run much better and faster than in the beginning – and yet the participants still have a lot of ideas for improving the processes even further. Cooperating with Businesses The simulations on departmental egoism and the lean office are not yet finished products. With input from his team and students, Lengsfeld wants to continue refining the processes simu- lated in both scenarios and enable the partici- pants – whether students or employees of companies and organizations – to learn as much as possible from them. He sees it as a process of trial and error: “All ideas are welcome, and failure is a part of the process – like in large corporations, in which an average of nine in ten research projects fail to achieve the desired result,” the economist reports. “But the one flash of inspiration among them might just make all the difference.” The team aims to establish regular business partnerships, first of all so they can offer simulations as in-service training courses at companies and organizations. “Our goal is to impart a consciousness for mismanagement to participants and encourage them to scrutinize and improve their own processes and work flows.” In addition, Lengsfeld and his team want to develop new simulations treating further prob- lems, challenges, and best-practice behaviors from business to promote knowledge transfer between the university and private enterprise at the interface to research. uni wissen 01 2016 Files, forms, envelopes, stickers – the simulation reveals which materials are useful for various tasks. 43 uni wissen 012016