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The research focus of the project group is on new forms of economic governance and its impact on organizational forms and the ‘steering’ of companies, sectors and governmental actors. In particular, the relationships between interpretive models, strategies and instruments as well as problems, conflicts and barriers within these ‘modes of governance’ are examined.

The starting point of analysis is the double problem of internationalized economic activity and the ecological crisis. Firstly, trans-, supra- and international economic dynamics and institutional forms of regulation are becoming more important relative to national decision making, resulting in rapid change in national and sub-national forms of economic action. Secondly, the growing threat to the natural basis of life imposes new demands on political regimes for sustainable economic practices.

Against the current background of multiple crises (financial, economic, environmental) the project group looks at the variations in and possibilities for sustainable development, both in companies and sectors as well as on the macro level. Problems of post-national forms of economic management and variants of sustainable development strategies and their embeddedness in and impact on social and institutional arrangements are examined in different projects. There are three research areas within the project group:

  1. The change in the forms of corporate governance in a European and internationally comparative context, with a special focus on corporate social responsibility, and in particular on the transition from the (previously dominant) shareholder value model to different types of corporate responsibility.
  2. The change in the environmental policy regime, particularly through the use of market based instruments in climate policy (trading of pollution rights), their impact on businesses and sectors and the influence of capital market actors on these policy instruments.
  3. The interests, ideas and organizational contexts of intellectual and political entrepreneurship, particularly in European multi-level politics, and thus the role of technical, advisory, advocacy and lobbying networks (think-tank networks and sustainable development).

The project group was established for a three year period (until mid-2014).