Track: Business Networks

Networks have become a ubiquitous form of organising, particularly in the business context. In this track, you will discuss questions such as: What is the motivation of firms to engage in in- ter-organizational cooperation? In what kind of relationships do companies enter? What are viable network business models? How does successful cooperation and coopetition work? How can networks be managed?

Beyond this, you will immerse yourself in the foundations of information security to be able to understand this central threat for businesses and their networks. 

The lectures

  • Inter-Organizational Systems (Winter Term)

    The course explores facets of interorganizational arrangements from an economic, strategic, organizational and technical perspective. It introduces explores governance models for distributed and networked organizations and explores the contingencies and strategies that lie behind the evolution and use of interorganizational information infrastructures and applications. Theoretical concepts will be introduced and used to examine cases of network arrangements across different industries. Participants will become familiar with major streams of literature (theories and methods) about corporate networks, interorganizational systems and infrastructures. 

    Exemplary questions that will be addressed:

    What is the strategic logic of airline alliances? What are platforms and business ecosystems? Why are blockchains governed differently than Free and Open Software (FOSS) How has technology enabled commons-based peer production?

    The format of the course is a combination of reading, thinking, writing, discussing, and listening. Each week, academic papers will be discussed and applied to a case. Sessions typically will start with a student presentation and continue with a class discussion and a lecture. Participants are expected to come to class having read the paper and assigned background reading materials, be prepared to discuss the major issues within the paper and to debate their application to the study of networks. Learning success will therefore depend on your motivation, your initiative, your preparation for class, and your participation during class.


    • None beyond the willingness to engage in the format of the course.

    Preparatory Resources

    • The list of readings will be available prior to the course on LearnWeb.
  • Network Economics (Summer Term)

    Networks are an ubiquitous phenomenon in modern societies. They are subject to interdisciplinary research, with varying emphases on structure, dynamics and connections between nodes.

    The purpose of the course is to introduce basic concepts of networks and network studies, linking economic and computer science concepts. While exploring different phenomena of networks, different methodological approaches and studies on networks will be introduced.

    • Graph Theory and Social Networks
    • Game Theory
    • Network Models of Markets with Intermediaries
    • Network Dynamics: Population Models
    • Network Dynamics: Structural Models

    The course follows the inverted classroom model, i.e. the basic information will be gained by reading the assigned chapters and completing exercises. Class interaction will focus on

    • Questions and comments
    • Exercises
    • Examples of the application of the concepts and ideas
    • Research designs presented by students.


    • None.

    Preparatory Resources:

  • Information Security (Summer Term)

    This lecture covers the foundations of information security including the following topics:

    • security mechanisms of authentication and access control
    • cryptographic primitives and modern encryption methods
    • security protocol analysis
    • intrusion detection incl. machine learning for security
    • foundations of Web security

    Attacks and defenses will be discussed in this lecture and complementary exercises cover the practical aspects of IT security.
    There are no requirements regarding specific IT security topics as the lecture starts beginner-friendly.


    • Basic knowledge of computer science, e.g., client-server architecture
    • Basic programming skills (no specific language)
    • Foundations in discrete math recommended, e.g., integer rings for cryptography
    • Web-related programming (JavaScript, SQL, PHP) appreciated for Web security