Dr. Johannes Meuer

Associate Professor for Sustainable Operations

Dr. Johannes Meuer

Associate Professor for Sustainable Operations

Johannes Meuer is Associate Professor for Sustainable Operations at KLU and Co-director of KLU’s Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains. Before joining KLU, he worked at ETH Zurich and at the University of Zurich. He holds a PhD from RSM Erasmus University, and an MSc in International Economics from Corvinus University Budapest. During his studies, he spent time at USC Marshall Business School in Los Angeles, and the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. He also holds a position as Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich, and as Visiting Scholar at the University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management and at the Cranfield School of Management.

In his research, Johannes Meuer draws on theories at the intersection of corporate sustainability, strategic management, and technological innovation to investigate how firms may effectively integrate sustainability into their strategy and business operations. Johannes also develops new methodological approaches based on set-theoretic analytics such as fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), for example to integrate QCA in multi-level models or to extend QCA for the use of systematic comparative process analysis. He also applies these methods in various substantive field such as organization and innovation theory, strategic HRM, and production and operations management. His research has been published in top-tier journals and has received funding from industry and competitive public funding.
Johannes Meuer teaches courses on corporate sustainability, innovation strategy, strategies for sustainable business, and research methods.

In his teaching, he focuses on independent, action-centered, and blended learning using a diverse array of innovative methods such as flipped-classroom logics, teaching case studies, e-learning modules, and teaching videos. Johannes Meuer also regularly co-organizes Professional Development Workshop and career development workshop, such as the SusTec PhD Academy, the GROW!EarlyCareer workshop of GRONEN, and the annual International QCA Workshops. For his teaching, Johannes Meuer received the “Golden Owl 2020” Award at ETH Zurich for providing exceptional education.


Tel: +49 40 328707-223
Fax: +49 40 328707-209


Academic Positions

Since 9/2021

Associate Professor of Sustainable Operations, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany
2019 - 2021

Senior Scientist and Lecturer, ETH Zurich, Switzerland


Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw, Poland

2012 - 2015

Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Zurich, Switzerland

2011 - 2016

Visiting Fellow, School of Management, University of Cranfield, United Kingdom


Visiting Researcher, Marshall Business School, University of Southern California, USA

2007 - 2011Research Assistant, Department of Management, Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands



Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw, Poland

2006 - 2011

PhD in Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, The Netherlands

2003 - 2005MSc in International Economics, Corvinus University Budapest, Hungary
2005Semester abroad, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Shanghai, China
2000 - 2003Diplom-Kaufmann (FH), International School of Management, Dortmund, Germany
2001Semester abroad, Villanueva Centro Universitario, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain


DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gove.12521 

Abstract: There is a need to conduct more diverse cross-case analyses in the Multiple Streams Approach (MSA) literature which originated in the United States, to show how key concepts, such as a windows-of-opportunity and the role of policy entrepreneurs, manifest in different political contexts. We apply Qualitative Comparative Analysis for a cross-case analysis of a unique dataset representing 20 countries from four continents. This approach allows us to highlight distinct pathways to influencing policies. We identify four configurations for expanding civic spaces and two configurations for changing policies. We identify three findings novel to MSA: there are two distinctive policy entrepreneur roles involving local and international civil society actors; effective entrepreneurship is conditional on strengthening civic voice and creating civic space conducive to advocacy; and, therefore, effective entrepreneurs often must focus on expanding the civic space to discuss policy problems and the technical and political feasibility of policy solutions.

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Open reference in new window "Kingdon´s Multiple Streams Approach in New Political Contexts: Consolidation, Configuration, and New Findings"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/joom.1130 

Abstract: Companies that seek to improve their operational performance by adopting new practices often report disappointing adoption rates. The literature concerning practice adoption has tended to focus on efficacy and legitimacy drivers at the organizational level. However, there exists convincing evidence that practice adoption largely depends on the commitment of those managers involved in the adoption of a given practice. Thus, we investigate what prompts operations managers to commit to practice adoption. We draw on the theory of planned behavior to explore the cognitive foundations of 76 operations managers' commitment to new operational practices. Using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis, we identify three belief configurations associated with high levels of commitment—“the Follower,” “the Pragmatist,” and “the Reformer.” We contribute a behavioral operations perspective to the literature on practice adoption by providing an individual-level and configurational view of managerial commitment to change.

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Open reference in new window "Commitment follows beliefs: A configurational perspective on operations managers´ commitment to practice adoption"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1086026619850180 

Abstract: Scholarly and managerial interest in corporate sustainability has increased significantly in the past two decades. However, the field is increasingly criticized for failing to effectively contribute to sustainable development and for its limited impact on managerial practice. We argue that this criticism arises due to a fundamental ambiguity around the nature of corporate sustainability. To address the lack of concept clarity, we conduct a systematic literature review and identify 33 definitions of corporate sustainability. Adopting the Aristotelian perspective on definitions, one that promotes reducing concepts to their essential attributes, we discern four components of corporate sustainability. These components offer a conceptual space of inquiry that, while being parsimonious, offers nuanced understanding of the dimensions along which definitions of corporate sustainability differ. We discuss implications for research and practice and outline several recommendations for how advancements in construct clarity may lead to a better scholarly understanding of corporate sustainability.

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Open reference in new window "On the Nature of Corporate Sustainability"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.21793 

Abstract: High-performance work systems (HPWS) are important conceptual instruments in the human resource management literature. Yet our current understanding of the complementarities within HPWS remains limited for two reasons: First, the dominant theoretical perspectives on HPWS provide a landscape of theoretical possibilities rather than an understanding of different possibilities through which HPWS generate positive effects on performance; and second, the literature on HPWS merely proposes several seemingly equally important HR practices. This article explores the internal nature of HPWS by integrating a configurational perspective of core, peripheral, and nonessential HR practices with a typology of complementarities. Analyzing 530 UK-based firms using fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), I identify four frequently implemented HPWS consistently associated with high labor productivity. The complementarities within all HPWS combine pairs of core HR practices with sets of peripheral HR practices. Moreover, the complementarities within three of the four HPWS rely on firms’ avoidance of implementing certain HR practices. The results suggest that the synergies of HPWS arise from efficient complementarities and virtuous overlaps, and reveal the significance of achieving high performance by not implementing HR practices. This article thus advances a new perspective on HPWSs, highlighting the challenges involved in successfully designing HPWS. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Open reference in new window "Exploring the Complementarities within High-Performance Work Systems: A Set-Theoretic Analysis of UK Firms"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1094428116665465 

Abstract: Mixed methods systematically combine multiple research approaches—either in basic parallel, sequential, or conversion designs or in more complex multilevel or integrated designs. Multilevel mixed designs are among the most valuable and dynamic. Yet current multilevel designs, which are rare in the mixed methods literature, do not strongly integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches for use in one study. This lack of integration is particularly problematic for research in the organization sciences because of the variety of multilevel concepts that researchers study. In this article, we develop a multilevel mixed methods technique that integrates qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) with hierarchical linear modeling (HLM). This technique is among the first of the multilevel ones to integrate qualitative and quantitative methods in a single research design. Using Miles and Snow’s typology of generic strategies as an example of organizational configurations, we both illustrate how researchers may apply this technique and provide recommendations for its application and potential extensions. Our technique offers new opportunities for bridging macro and micro inquiries by developing strong inferences for testing, refining, and extending multilevel theories of organizational configurations.

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Open reference in new window "Integrating QCA and HLM for Multilevel Research on Organizational Configurations"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2015.01.013 

Abstract: The innovation systems approach, which has taken a prominent position in the academic literature, has also influenced policy-makers around the globe. Most research analyses innovation systems taking a national, regional or sectoral perspective, following a ‘technological imperative’. Yet changes in institutional conditions and the importance of non-technological innovation question the accuracy and the relevance of the existing boundaries of innovation systems. These developments ask for a better understanding of how innovation systems integrate within and across different levels. Drawing on a novel combination of configurational and econometric analysis, we analyse 384 Swiss firms and identify five co-existing innovation systems: two generic innovation systems, the autarkic and the knowledge-internalisation; one regional innovation system, the protected hierarchy; and two sectoral innovation systems, the public sciences and the organised learning. The generic innovation systems entail the ‘Science, Technology and Innovation’ (STI) and the ‘Doing, Interacting and Using’ (DUI) learning modes. These systems are structurally distinct and do not integrate. In contrast, all regional and sectoral innovation systems integrate the learning modes of the generic innovation systems and complement them with idiosyncratic elements. The perspective on co-existing innovation systems that we develop here indicates the existence of two layers of innovation systems: a ‘central’ layer that hosts generic innovation systems and that constitutes the foundation for a second ‘surface' layer that hosts regional and sectoral innovation systems. We discuss the implications of layers of co-existing innovation systems for policy-makers and future research.

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Open reference in new window "Layers of co-existing innovation systems"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840613495339 

Abstract: Innovation research increasingly focuses on understanding why and how firms implement new management practices, processes or structures. Emerging in the shadow of research on technological innovation, growing evidence points towards the inter-firm relation as an important locus of innovation. Yet although organizational theory suggests discrete alternative inter-firm coordination mechanisms, the literature on management innovation has thus far treated the inter-firm relation as one broad mode of organizing. This study takes a configurational perspective to identify archetypes of inter-firm relations leading to the implementation of management innovation. Using fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to analyse 56 firm partnerships in China’s biopharmaceutical industry, the empirical evidence identifies four such discrete inter-firm archetypes: organic coalitions, bureaucratic foundations, coalitions of intense interdependency and reciprocal foundations. The results suggest that the type of interdependency, rather than the coordination mechanisms governing inter-firm relations, leads to the implementation of management innovation.

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Open reference in new window "Archetypes of Inter-firm Relations in the Implementation of Management Innovation: A Set-theoretic Study in China´s Biopharmaceutical Industry"