Theory, Taxonomy and Strategy of Sustainability Transformation

A Knowledge Management Contribution for Strategic Planning and the Discourse on ‘Transforming Our World’


11223597_10153077810911559_3261623034124896034_nResearch area: Economics and Management Sciences applied to study organizations and their transformation towards sustainability.

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Bertram Schefold, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Storz, (Prof. Dr. Roman Beck, Prof. Dr. Werner Plumpe).


Research Project

The notion of transformation towards sustainability became a central claim in both global research programs and high-level policy discourses on sustainable development (see for example Future Earth 2014a, 2014b; HLPEP 2013; Hajer et al. 2015; Patterson et al. 2016).

This research projects tackles three identified research gaps, which – following the global research initiative Future Earth – have to be addressed in the upcoming decades to make the strategy of a great transformation towards sustainability work (WBGU 2011):

  • „Understanding transformation processes and options, assessing how these relate to human values, emerging technologies and economic development pathways [1. research gap: a trans-disciplinary theory of transformation towards sustainability] (..). 
  • „Understanding the many feedbacks from human responses and governance to earth system processes requires close collaboration between natural and social scientists. [2. research gap: a trans-disciplinary taxonomy of transformation]
  • „Evaluating strategies for governing and managing the global environment across sectors and scales. [3. research gap: a trans-disciplinary knowledge strategy for transformation towards sustainability].“ Future Earth (2016)

The research objective of this work addresses these three postulated research gaps by proposing a knowledge model concept (1.) to understand the transformation of organizations across and beyond disciplines (i.e. a general theory of organizations and its transformation), (2.) to manage – i.e. to classify, order, integrate and encapsulate – the produced knowledge on organizations and its transformation with regard to five time-invariant classes (i.e. a general knowledge management taxonomy for close collaboration across and beyond disciplines). On this grounds (3.) great transformation in recorded human history shall be identified and a general knowledge strategy shall be proposed to govern and manage the next great transformations of organizations across sectors and scales towards sustainability (i.e. a general strategy to build knowledge for transformation).


Research Interest

Organizational Development; management practices and applied system thinking; knowledge management taxonomies; strategic planning and knowledge strategies; organisational learning; digitized organizations based on a distributed (shared) ledger; Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAO).


Professional CV

  • 2017 
  • 2011-2013
    • Project Manager, KfW Development Bank, financing renewable energy projects.
  • 2011 
    • Consultant, Bosch Group, energy-plus-buildings as new business concept.
  • 2009-2011 
    • Intern, Bankhaus Metzler, quantitative strategies and altenative investments

Academic CV 

  • 2014-2017 | Post-Graduation – Goethe Graduate Academy (GRADE)
    • Ph.D. in Economics and Management Sciences (Transformation Research)
      • Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
      • Visiting Stay at National Australian University (2016) and University of Havana (2017)
  • 2009-2011 | Graduation  International Economist Programm (IEEP)
    • M.Sc. in Economics and Management Sciences
      • Université Paris Dauphine
      • Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
  • 2006-2009 | Under-Graduation  Double Degree Programm (CALA)
    • LAE (equivl. to Dipl. in Business Administration)
      • Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM)
    • B.A. in International Management
      • University of Applied Sciences Münster



Lecturer and Supervision Experience


  • „Innovation Management“ (MBA Course,  WS17, Centro de Estudios Superiore de Diseño de Monterrey – tbd) .
  • „Strategies to Internalize Externalities“ (Series of Lectures, SS17, Goethe-University Frankfurt)
  • „Wirtschaftsethik im Finanzbereich“ (Bachelor Course, SS14-SS17, Goethe-University Frankfurt) [Business Ethics in Finance].


  • „The Economics of Distribution, Justice and Globalization“ (Master Course, SS16, Goethe-University Frankfurt).
  • Joseph A. Schumpeter, Life, Work and Impact“ (Bachelor Course, WS15, Goethe-University Frankfurt).
  • „Wirtschaftsethik im Finanzbereich“ (Bachelor Course, SS14-WS17, Goethe-University Frankfurt) [Business Ethics in Finance].


  • „Economic Growth and Business Cycle Theories“ (Bachelor Course, SS15, Goethe-University Frankfurt).
  • „Institutions and Innovations“ (Teaching Unit, Master Course, SS15, Goethe-University Frankfurt.
  • „Wirtschaftsethik im Finanzbereich“ (Bachelor Course, SS14-SS17, Goethe-University Frankfurt) [Business Ethics in Finance].


  • „Keynesianism, Capitalism, Crisis – New Chapters in the History of Economic Thought“ (Bachelor Course, WS14, Goethe-University Frankfurt).
  • „Consulting Field Study – Project finance of wind power plants“ (Teaching Unit, Master Course, SS14, European Business School).
  • „Wirtschaftsethik im Finanzbereich“ (Bachelor Course, SS14-SS17, Goethe-University Frankfurt) [Business Ethics in Finance].


Keynotes and Conference Track Record


  • Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, Lund: Earth System Governance Project –  Allocation & Access in a Warming and Increasingly Unequal World.


  • Kenya School of Government, Nairobi: Earth System Governance Project – Confronting Complexity and Inequality: Economics behind Earth System Transformation.
  • Evangelical Academy Tutzing, Tutzing: “Capitalism, Globalization, Democracy“ convention: Where does the next great transformation lead us?


  • National University of Australia, Canberra: Earth System Governance Project – The Anthropocene and Democratic Resilience: Measuring Good Governance?
  • University of Basel, Basel: Futures: Prospective Money and Money’s Prospects”. The Merger of Economics and Cryptography – Do cryptographic economic systems lead to the future of Money and Payments? (Paper presentation)
  • Franz-Hitze Haus, Münster, Latin America Convention: `Buen Vivir´ and Sustainability. Wachstum statt Wohlstand als Ambivalenz der Moderne. [Economic Growth instead of Welfare as ambivalence of Modernity]
  • Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Nachwuchsgruppe EnergyCultures: Nachhaltigkeitswissenschaften und die Suche nach neuen Wissensregimen. Sustainable thinking – a system theoretical founded classification of sustainability thinking.
  • STUBE, Stuttgart, Academic accompanying program for and by students from Africa, Asia and Latin America: Money Rules the World – the power of financial institutions. Introduction to the operation of Financial Markets.
  • Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin, AG: Institutions and Global Commons. An economics perspective on efficiency and meaning.
  • University of Erfurt, Wilhelm Röpke Seminar Series.


  • Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin, Forum: Sustainable Change and challenges. Institutional Change and System Thinking.
  • ITU University, Copenhagen, Workshop: Crypto-Currencies – the future of money and payments. Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAO).
  • University of Leipzig, International Degrowth Conference. Money and institutional Change in the view of Karl Polanyi’s ‚Great Transformation’.
  • University of Erfurt, Wilhelm Röpke Seminar Series.


Publications and working papers



  • Published Paper, Can the resistance against the standard economic paradigm be overcome? An inquiry into the nature of markets and the economy (2016). Oxbow Books (forthcoming 2017). Paper accepted at the Conference on Market as Space and Place for Economic Exchange, Frankfurt am Main. 
  • Working Paper, Does the homo oeconomicus model require an update? An inquiry into the nature of organizations and behavior (2016). 
  • Accepted paper, Why our observations define the course of earth system transformation in the Anthropocene – how can different contribution in the field of sustainability sciences be ordered. 
  • Published Paper, System Thinking in the Anthropocene – the quest to find a value-neutral general methodological framework to study sustainable development (2016). Metropolis Verlag (forthcoming 2017). 
  • Working Paper, `The Open Society and its Enemies ́ in the Anthropocen – How to measure the merits of public choice in the light of resistance and political movements? (2016). 


  • Working Paper, The Merger of Cryptography and Economics – Do Cryptographic Economic Systems Lead to the Future of Money and Payments? (2015). Paper submitted at the P2P Financial Systems, Frankfurt.
  • Published Paper with Haferkorn, M., Seasonality and Interconnectivity within Crypto-currencies – An Analysis on the Basis of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Namecoin (2015). LNBIP series. Springer-Verlag. Paper accepted at the FinanceCom, Sydney.
  • Published Paper to the Exhibition Catalogue of the DFG Graduierten-Kollege „Transformation of Value and Equivalence“, Wirtschaft und Verwaltung, Bürokratiefreiheit und die Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen Bitcoins und Steingeld (2015). Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld. Paper accepted at the DFG Graduate-Kollege, Frankfurt.


Research Networks

Earth System Governance Project

Future Earth Finance & Economics Knowledge Action Network

Exzellenzcluster „Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen

DFG Graduiertenkolleg „Transformation von Wert und Äquivalent“ 

Goethe Graduate Center „Sustain“ 

„Transformation Cluster“ der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Wilhelm Röpke Institute