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During her study she worked as a research assistant at the School of Management at Aachen. He received a Master in Mathematics Dipl. His research interests are in planning, decision making and finance. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. We first present scenario analysis as a qualitative forecasting technique useful for strategic planning. Then we develop an overview of the two classes of methods for scenario analysis described in the literature.

Based on both classes, a new method is developed which especially fits the needs of strategic planning. The method can be divided into three stages: 1. Determination of compatible scenarios, 2. Determination of scenario probabilities, and 3. Determination of main scenarios. An example is given to illustrate the method.

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Journal of Forecasting Volume 7, Issue 1. Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. From left to right, we start with the conjecture that cluster policies enhance the organising capacity of regions, especially if these policies are sufficiently complex and coherent.

Their impact on organising capacity is also supported by suitable kinds of governance mainly bottom-up 1 , as well as stronger forms of institutionalisation which tend to reflect commitment and durability. Since the latter in turn depends on coherence, complexity, governance, and institutionalisation, we consequently assume a positive correlation between the organising capacity and the four aforementioned policy dimensions, as depicted on the left of Fig. Cluster policies, economic variety, and regional resilience NB: Arrows in circles pointing upwards downwards indicate increasing decreasing values.

Arrows pointing horizontally to the right indicate that there is no distinct tendency. Source: Authors' conceptualisation illustrated by Dennis Edler.


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  • Even with the most careful consideration, we find no theoretical evidence for a direct link between regional cluster policies and the economic resilience of regions. For this reason, we add another conceptual element which allows us to specify the hypothetical interrelation between cluster portfolios on the one hand and regional economic variety on the other hand cf. We accordingly postulate that the variety of a region's industry structure is influenced by the number and nature of industries addressed by cluster policies—at least partly.

    More precisely, we assume that a narrow cluster portfolio supports economic specialisation, whilst a broad cluster portfolio promotes unrelated variety. In between, a broad and related cluster portfolio favours the development of related variety. Moreover, we consider a non-specific and discretionary cluster portfolio to be ineffective in terms of supporting specific industry structures.

    The central part of Fig. In a final step, we link the concept of regional economic variety to the notion of regional economic resilience cf. Martin Given the occurrence of an economic shock, we would expect different degrees of resilience depending on the regions' distinctive industry structures, as illustrated on the right of Fig.

    While our first proposition, i. There is as yet no systematic survey of cluster policies in Germany below the level of the 16 federal states. Though direly needed, the comprehensive mapping of all regional and local cluster policies in Germany has not yet been undertaken, not just owing to the high costs involved but most importantly due to the lack of a commonly agreed and operational definition of cluster policy. Based on literature and exploratory interviews, a comprehensive study by Kiese selected seven case studies of regional i. This research focused on the interpretation and application of the cluster idea in different institutional contexts as well as the policy transfer and learning processes involved.

    Between August and August , semi-standardised interviews were conducted with cluster policy experts. The sample of interviewees comprised 60 practitioners in ministries and economic development agencies of which 19 explicitly classified themselves as cluster managers , ten consultants and 75 independent observers.

    Potential scenarios for the recognition of competencies

    In line with comparative policy research, the survey focused on representatives of the political-administrative system and observers cf. Since the aim of this comparative research project was not an original evaluation of cluster policies in three federal states and seven sub-state regions, addressees of cluster policies, most notably firms and research organisations, have not been included in the survey. Since the survey covered the federal and state levels as well, interviews were restricted to the three states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia NRW and Lower Saxony, which accounted for 53, 44 and 35 interviewees respectively.

    A further 13 experts were active in more than one state or at the supra-state level more generally. At the state level, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Lower Saxony were chosen to roughly represent three economically distinct types of region. While structural policy in North Rhine-Westphalia has for decades been dominated by the challenge to promote structural change in the Ruhr area, Bavaria stands for the opposite case of a late industrialised state with a strong presence of high-tech industries.

    With its manufacturing sector shaped by Volkswagen VW and its supplier network, Lower Saxony appears quite unlike these two extremes, falling rather into the 'grey mass' category of regions that do not fit into the stylised dichotomy of the "bad" and the "beautiful" Boschma : and are thus often neglected in regional studies.

    This choice of states was meant to create structural, but also institutional and political variety for the interregional comparison of cluster policies. Mapping the sub-state case studies, Fig. Case studies have been selected according to the seven dimensions of cluster policy introduced in Sect. In the governance dimension, the focus on cluster policy requires a significant degree of public agency in the initiation, funding and operational governance of the effort. Despite embracing the cluster notion, the policies under study do not have to use the cluster term explicitly—in many German regions there is a tendency to adopt more 'neutral' terms like fields or networks of competence instead.

    Although cluster concepts often cite Porter's definition of a cluster, there is generally little deeper theoretical grounding, and practitioners tend to understand clusters as organised networks of firms and research organisations cf. Kiese : ff.

    Recognising competencies: experts consider scenarios for Germany

    However, the selected cases all have a substantial degree of cluster orientation when measured by the usage of cluster-specific versus generic economic development tools. They are complex in combining wider sets of instruments for cluster promotion and coherent by uniting different policies and regional stakeholders within a single programme. Institutionalisation may vary from rather loose associations to dedicated cluster management organisations, but all cases are sufficiently mature to allow for some at least preliminary evaluation.

    It is necessary to point out that the selection of case studies was designed to create a variety of institutional settings for comparative cluster policy research more broadly. Since the fieldwork predated the economic crisis starting in , the idea of regional resilience that gained prominence in its aftermath did not inform case study selection.

    In North Rhine-Westphalia , the most ambitious regional cluster policy effort can be found in Dortmund, Germany's eighth largest city on the eastern edge of the Ruhr conurbation that has embraced pro-active structural change ever since the establishment of its innovation centre and technology park in the mids.

    As a second sub-state case within North Rhine-Westphalia, the kompetenzhoch 3 collaboration between the city triangle of Wuppertal, Solingen and Remscheid was also driven by the legacy of early industrialisation and a pressing need for structural change. Since the three municipal economic development offices have established a division of labour based on five fields of competence, namely automotive, metal processing, product development and design, event management and communication, as well as health and personal care cf.

    Dewald While Dortmund's strategy entails a radical break with the past, kompetenzhoch 3 includes an injection of design competencies into the remains of the centuries-old cutlery district of Solingen and Remscheid, which was prominently analysed by both Marshall and Porter cf. Bathelt ; van der Linde : Chap. As the most important case of regional cluster policy in Bavaria , the southern state's second-largest city Nuremberg devised its first cluster strategy in response to the decline of its dominant electrical engineering sector in the early s.

    Initial efforts were incorporated in the more coherent Nuremberg Programme in , which was followed by a consensual perspective report originally drafted and signed in , and renewed in cf. These documents contained portfolios of fields of competence defined as clusters, which are promoted through independent competence initiatives founded successively from cf.

    Heidenreich In contrast to Central Franconia's experience of industrial decline, the city of Regensburg witnessed a rather exceptional late industrialisation from the s following the attraction of large manufacturing establishments like BMW and Siemens. In boom-town Regensburg municipal cluster policy emerged in response to federal government contests, starting with the city's bid in the federal government's BioRegio contest cf.

    Dohse , which failed to secure funding but eventually led to the establishment of the BioRegio Regensburg cluster initiative in and the BioPark incubator in A similar top-down stimulus triggered the establishment of the Strategic Partnership for Sensor Technology in , a concept transferred locally to the field of IT security in cf. Stadt Regensburg , Diefenthal At its heart, so-called Regional Growth Concepts RGCs are designed to stimulate the bottom-up development of regional cluster policies cf.

    The approach is modelled on the above-mentioned dortmund-project and the older Auto Vison concept developed in by McKinsey on behalf of VW to reverse the economic fortunes of their headquarter and company town in Lower Saxony, Wolfsburg. As well as cutting local unemployment by half within 5 years, which was achieved with the help of a cyclical upswing, the local cluster organisation Wolfsburg AG aims in the long run to transform the traditional single-plant location into a self-augmenting mobility cluster.

    To reduce the overwhelming dependency on one single employer, the concept proposed the development of new interlinked clusters of IT, leisure and tourism, as well as health services cf. In , local and regional governments jointly incorporated hannoverimpuls as a new economic development agency to pursue their strategy built on the development of automotive, IT, life sciences, optical technology and manufacturing technologies into working and interlinked clusters cf.

    Kiese b. In the meantime, the state co-funded the development of a similar McKinsey concept for the Braunschweig region, which has been pursued by the project Region Braunschweig GmbH since early cf. In , that project was finally integrated with the Wolfsburg AG, since Wolfsburg is one of the eight administrative units that make up the Braunschweig region. This section presents case study evidence on those dimensions that have been singled out as relevant for the organising capacity that may ultimately translate into improved regional resilience.

    Section 2 identified coherence and complexity as the main prerequisites for cluster policies to enhance a region's organising capacity, while governance and institutionalisation were also deemed influential. On the other hand, cluster orientation was rather interpreted as an outcome, or indicator, as well as maturity which may also have a reinforcing impact.

    Cluster Policies, Organising Capacity and Regional Resilience: Evidence from German Case Studies

    Just like cluster reference, these two dimensions are documented elsewhere Kiese : ff. The governance of regional cluster policy includes aspects of initiation and funding and is a reflection of regional governance structures combined with horizontal and vertical interactions, i. According to the degree of their involvement, actors may be divided into shareholders and stakeholders see Table 1.

    By contrast, stakeholders are more loosely involved through e. Since we used substantial public agency as a definitional criterion of cluster policy, it is little surprising that all seven case studies of regional cluster policy are mainly initiated, funded and governed by counties and municipalities. Looking solely at stakeholders, the cases of Dortmund, kompetenzhoch 3 , hannoverimpuls and Regensburg are purely state-driven. The Wolfsburg AG represents a typical public-private partnership as the cluster management organisation is jointly owned by Volkswagen and the city of Wolfsburg, while the constellations of shareholders are much broader in the mature industrial regions of Braunschweig and Nuremberg, representing tripartite alliances between local government, the business sector, and trade unions.

    While there is a clear asymmetry of power with VW setting the agenda in Wolfsburg and Braunschweig, the Nuremberg case is characterised by a lengthy process of consensus building in which the resulting cluster portfolio represents a classical compromise between the three parties involved.

    Constellation of actors in regional cluster policies. Source: translated from Kiese : The constellation of actors is linked to the type of economic region and the specific starting conditions and motivations for initiating cluster policies. Cities and regions with strong but declining manufacturing bases typically have stable and established networks of actors, described as the "weakness of strong ties" by Grabher for the Ruhr area.

    Further to the scope of actors involved, the participation of trade unions is another feature of cluster policies in manufacturing regions. In the cases of Dortmund, Braunschweig and Nuremberg, trade unions provided critical conceptual impulses for the initiation of cluster policies, but their governance impact was rather limited by shrinking human and financial resources as a result of an eroding membership base cf. Contrasting the scope of actors and the engagement of trade unions, business participation appears unrelated to the type of economic region.

    As illustrated by VW's dominant role in Wolfsburg and the wider Braunschweig region and the contrasting problems of mobilising firms beyond individual projects in the Hannover case cf. Kiese b , this rather seems to be a function of soft factors, such as the region's political economy or culture. The cluster policies of Dortmund, Wolfsburg and Central Franconia emerged bottom-up, i.

    In the other four cases, bottom-up initiative was triggered by incentives from higher governance levels in a counter-current fashion. These top-down impulses include Lower Saxony's Regional Growth Concepts for the regions of Hannover and Braunschweig, a regional development contest "Regionale " in North Rhine-Westphalia for the city triangle cf.

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    The coherence dimension captures the integration of actors and measures, which can range from a plethora of isolated activities pursued by competing actors to integrated and allencompassing concepts uniting all actors towards a common objective. In this dimension, the seven case studies display considerable variety. While the promotion of biotech, sensor technology and IT security in Regensburg appears independent, connected only by the urban municipality as the key initiator, the similarly decentralised competence initiatives in Central Franconia are at least linked strategically through the regional perspective report.

    Coherence is also rather limited in the city triangle of Wuppertal-Solingen-Remscheid, since the three municipalities divided the responsibilities for the five fields of competence, despite the new regional development agency. A medium degree of coherence can be found in the regions of Hannover and Braunschweig, where institutional overlap tended to hamper a fully coherent cluster policy, at least for many years. However, these restrictions do not apply to the cases of Dortmund and Wolfsburg, which may thus be seen as examples for highly coherent policies.

    Cluster promotion may rely on single measures or employ a combination of many different instruments, which is captured by the complexity dimension. Since this dimension was used to select the case studies, along with governance and maturity, it is hardly surprising to find relatively complex, i. As for coherence, the most complex approaches can be found in Dortmund and Wolfsburg where cluster policy is interpreted so broadly that it stretches into the field of urban development and planning.

    Consequently, Dortmund is referred to as a case of strategic urban development planning by Ziesemer , while Wolfsburg's cluster policy is discussed as a case of urban governance by Pohl When compared to these cases, the complexity of cluster policies in the city triangle, central Franconia and Regensburg appear rather medium.

    Contrasting most other dimensions, the institutionalisation of cluster polices appears unrelated to the type of economic region. Indeed, the variety of organisational forms indicates a considerable degree of strategic freedom. In Dortmund, a project team was formed within the municipal administration reporting directly to the Mayor, but after 5 years this was integrated into the city's sizeable economic development office. Despite the similarity of these approaches, only the Wolfsburg and Braunschweig cases managed to integrate the business sector as shareholders when setting up their agencies as public-private partnerships.

    Although this is only the most formal form of business engagement in cluster policy, it does suggest that there is ample scope to increase the regions' organising capacity through a greater mobilisation of private sector involvement. While dedicated legal entities charged with promoting the development of entire cluster portfolios represent the highest conceivable degree of institutionalisation, decentralised competence initiatives to support individual clusters have been successively formed in the Nuremberg region since Most of them were organised as associations and run by a cluster or network manager.

    The weakest forms of institutionalisation can be found in Regensburg and in Wuppertal-Solingen-Remscheid. While Regensburg runs its BioRegio as a municipal limited liability company, its strategic partnerships for sensor technology and ICT security became more strongly institutionalised over time as they were transferred from memoranda of understanding into associations. In the city triangle, cluster policy is implemented in a division of labour between the three municipal economic development units, despite the newly-formed regional development agency Table 2.

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    While we still know very little about the actual economic impact of regional cluster policies, our case studies provide ample evidence that they do indeed enhance the organising capacity of regions, which we assume to improve regional resilience. In the case of Dortmund , cluster policy led to a significant modernisation and professionalisation of the city's economic development agency. This was achieved through a focus on clusters and project-based work, the accumulation of know-how in the set-up and operation of ten mainly cluster-specific business incubators, as well as the organisation of the start-up contest "start2grow" which was held 31 times between and Although the majority of start-ups supported through these contests were located outside the ICT and microtechnology clusters, and even outside Dortmund, the dortmund-project led to a measurable improvement in the city's entrepreneurship ecosystem.

    In a ranking of all German counties and urban municipalities by entrepreneurial activity, Dortmund jumped from bottom to top within the Ruhr area between and and occupied the 58th rank in Stadt Dortmund : 5. Between and , the number of new firm registrations per 1, inhabitants increased by Practitioners and observers from other parts of the Ruhr area have also envied Dortmund's ability to attract public funding for economic development projects over the previous decade, mainly for urban regeneration and incubator facilities.

    Although organising capacity is hardly measurable, the ability to attract funding—especially in competitive procedures—may serve as a decent proxy. Based on a pre-existing broad coalition of stakeholders that became known as the "Dortmund consensus" and that had already facilitated the establishment of one of Germany's earliest innovation centres in , the dortmund-project may be seen as another catalyst for the city's organising capacity.

    In a similar fashion, cluster policy contributed to organising capacity in Wuppertal, Solingen and Remscheid. Since kompetenzhoch 3. This process contributed to a transformation of regional identities and governance structures that culminated in the formation of the European Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg, which gained official recognition in It also strengthened the region's organising capacity that allowed Central Franconia to attract a disproportionately high share of state government funding, a likely outcome of organising capacity directly comparable to the Dortmund case.

    In the case of Hannover , the main impact of cluster policy on the region's organising capacity can be found in the professionalisation of entrepreneurship support and a reduction of institutional overlap. Before the foundation of hannoverimpuls, some 30 regional organisations provided advice to start-ups, which is now much more co-ordinated. Institutional overlap initially increased when hannoverimpuls was set up in , but was then reduced through a holding structure comprising economic development, marketing and tourist promotion in In April , this holding was merged with hannoverimpuls under the latter's name.

    In the Braunschweig region, the emergence of various initiatives from the mids can be attributed to the region's strong dependence on the automotive industry and the resulting vulnerability to cyclical downturns cf. These two organisations jointly produced a concept for regional development in As part of this process, the vision of Braunschweig as a region for transport competence emerged cf.

    Consequently, there was no need for further analysis, but a clear perception of an implementation deficit in the region's economic development industry cf. The formation of the project Region Braunschweig GmbH in and its most recent integration with the Wolfsburg AG clearly helped improve the region's organising capacity, progressing from producing papers to implementing projects. However, there is still a strong dependence on the region's dominant carmaker VW for funding. It should be stressed though that the link between cluster policies on the one hand and organising capacity or regional resilience on the other is by no means unilateral.

    As examples of crisis-induced regional cluster policies such as Nuremberg, Dortmund or Wolfsburg illustrate, cluster policies emerged in response to shocks and are thus an indicator and outcome of pre-existing organising capacity e.


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    Cluster policies should therefore not be seen as an independent driver, but as an integral part of the organising capacity of regions. Kiese : Their popularity is also evident across the seven regional case studies reviewed here.