Silhouette Universität Witten/Herdecke
Faculty of Management and Economics

    Witten Institute for Institutional Change (WIWA)

    The Witten Institute for Institutional Change (WIWA) is an interdisciplinary research institute at the Faculty of Management and Economics and focuses on social issues at the interface between society, economy and politics. Social issues such as climate change, financial and economic crises, European integration or mass migration are complex phenomena. It is therefore essential to approach these issues from various scientific perspectives in order to be able to comprehend the complexity of major issues and to develop appropriate solutions.

    Considering multiple perspectives – Focusing on institutions

    The WIWA was founded in 2014 and pools the faculty’s socio-scientific research activities in the fields of philosophy, politics, and economics.

    Researchers at the WIWA analyze the impact of regulatory systems in politics and economics on human behavior, aiming at developing proposals for solving social issues.

    At the same time, they are responsible for teaching and for organizing the two PPE programmes in Philosophie, Politik und Ökonomik, B.A. and Philosophy, Politics and Economics, M.A. Prof. Dr. Dirk Sauerland is in charge of the PPE Bachelor programme, whereas Prof. Dr. Jens Harbecke and Prof. Dr. Joachim Zweynert are in charge of the PPE Master programme. Thus, the WIWA always conducts “research for teaching purposes”.

    Contextual economics and degree programmes

    The WIWA is an institute at the Faculty of Management and Economics and pursues the concept of contextual orientation in economics.

    In 2010, the Faculty established Germany’s first BA programme in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, followed by a consecutive English-language MA programme with an international orientation, which started in the 2014/2015 winter semester.

    The overriding objective of the Witten PPE programmes is an integrative perspective. Integration is perceived in a twofold sense:

    At the academic level of research the three disciplines do not operate in isolation from each other, as is usually the case, but collaborate in addressing common problems, always including the other disciplines‘ perspectives.

    The second and more practical implication of integration is to bridge the existing gap between science and society and make research findings available for application in practice.

    Moreover, the institute offers three different event formats:

    • The monthly WIWA lecture series for students on issues concerning pluralism in economics
    • The quarterly UW/H debate on current political issues, and
    • The annual international academic Witten Conference on Institutional Change with varying topics.

    The WIWA furthermore awards the WIWA Young Scholar Award for Pluralism in Economics, endowed by a trustee of Witten/Herdecke University.

    Current projects
    Projects in preparation
    Past projects
    General Information

    The 4th Witten Conference on Institutional Change will be on “Institutional Pathologies”. The purpose of this two-day conference on February 1 and 2 2018 is to improve our theoretical understanding of massively disturbed social entities (institutions, organizations, networks). This is not only a scientifically demanding task, it is also a practically very important concern, since theoretically robust diagnoses of institutional pathologies immediately imply the question, political and otherwise, whether something can and should be done about them. There is a growing research literature already dealing with dysfunctional organizations, primarily business firms and other organizations within the economic sphere. The topic of “social pathologies” finds increasing attention also within social psychology and social philosophy.

    The 4th Witten Conference The conference is sponsored by WINIR, the World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research and generously supported by the Aktionsgemeinschaft Soziale Marktwirtschaft (ASM).

    Papers, abstracts, recap
    Witten Conferences
    UW/H Debate
    WIWA Lecture Series: Pluralism in Economics
    WIWA Young Scholar Award for Pluralism in Economics, Endowed by a Trustee of UW/H