At the Future of Work Lab Konstanz, we research some of the most pressing issues for the workplace's future. Our core focus is on the increasing Digitalization of the workplace from an employee perspective. How can employees and organizations develop digital competencies? What are successful and sustainable leadership and work models in a digitalized workplace? Additionally, we complement this empirical research also with a focus on Demography and Diversity Management. How can teams and organization sustain their productivity with an increasingly aging and age-diverse workforce in the future? How can organizations and leaders better integrate currently underrepresented groups, such as female and migrants employees, for their future benefits? In all three research areas and at their intersections, we aim for internationally leading publications and concrete implications for practitioners in companies.

The Future of Work Lab Konstanz is currently working on the following research topics:

Constance Homeoffice Study

For many employees, the Corona crisis has led to significant changes in their everyday working lives, with private and public organizations sending all or part of their staff into home offices. The pandemic-related home office is like a social experiment through which opportunity and risk assessments, policy instruments that have been discussed for years, and conflicts of interest between companies and employees are becoming significantly more relevant. Individual time sovereignty, the balance between the need for flexibility and occupational health and safety, "modern" corporate and management culture, and the possibilities for shaping social partnerships are in the center of attention. Not least, has the "right to home office" appeared on the political agenda. The present study analyses this new world of work based on a unique database. A survey of around 700 home office employees over nine survey periods showed that the perceived productivity and commitment of employees are promoted by working from home and that a large majority would like to continue to work partially on a mobile basis. However, a tendency towards overtime and associated exhaustion is also evident.

Policy Paper - Homeoffice in der Corona-Krise - eine nachhaltige Transformation der Arbeitswelt?

Factsheet - Konstanzer Homeoffice Studie

How to Manage the Digital Change: The Impact of Digital Fluency

#DigitalChange #TechSavvy #NewWork: digitalisation is a rising mega trend changing the way we live, communicate and especially the way we work. This rapid transformation represents a promising opportunity, but, at the same time, a significant challenge for organisations. We, therefore, focus our research activities on competencies which may enable organisations to successfully manage the digital change. One such competence is, in our opinion, digital fluency – the ability to reliably achieve desired outcomes through use of technology. In addition to the conceptualisation of digital fluency, our research targets key drivers of digital fluency and its impact on employee performance, health or agility among others.

Scientific Publications:

Zimmermann, S. & Kunze, F. (in press). Digital Fluency – eine Metakompetenz der Zukunft. In K. Schwuchow & J. Gutmann (Hrsg.), HR-Trends 2019. Strategie, Digitalisierung, Diversität, Demografie. Freiburg: Haufe

Digitalization, Automation and the Future of Work in Post-Industrial Welfare States (Excellence Cluster Project)

We aim to understand how politics, society and businesses interact to adapt to the social, economic and political challenges of digitalization and automation. Technological changes are in the process of transforming work as we know it, with important consequences for social inequality.
We investigate to what extent the digital transformation of work is perceived as a threat or opportunity by workers, citizens, policy-makers and businesses. We analyze the demands, expectations and behavior of political actors concerning the regulation of technological change. And we look into their stances with regard to labor market, education, and social policy reforms.The project is funded by the Excellence Cluster "Politics of Inequality"

Integration at Work (Excellence Cluster Projekt)

How well migrants are integrated into society depends not least on labour market integration. This is why we are interested in short and long-term integration of foreign apprentices in the workplace. We are particularly interested in the long-term successful completion of training and in follow-up contracts. In order to explain these results, we analyse how they are influenced by organisational factors such as recruitment processes and socialisation tactics, individual characteristics such as language skills and social ties as well as school factors such as coaching and business cooperation programmes. A survey of approx. 2,600 trainees throughout Germany in the form of an app-based survey with multiple surveys over the entire training period of 3 years is planned.

Scientific Publications:

Dwertmann, D. J. G., & Kunze, F. (2020). More Than Meets the Eye: The Role of Immigration Background for Social Identity Effects. Journal of Management.

Temporal Dynamics of Work Team Diversity (DFG-Project)

A new research project in the research area of team diversity deals with the inconsistent findings of field research concerning team processes and outcomes. We argue that this is caused by dominant static research designs that used cross-sectional data, effects of team diversity might, however, very likely depend on whether diversity in a team is stable or varies over the time course. The research project consists of a mixed-method design in three phases (1.panel data analysis; 2.qualitative interviews with selected extreme cases (teams); 3.quantitative testing of contextual hypotheses).

Further Information

Scientific Publications:

Reinwald, M., Kunze, F. (2020): Being Different, Being Absent? A Dynamic Perspective on Demographic Dissimilarity and Absenteeism in Blue-Collar Teams. Academy of Management Journal

Management of the Demographic Change in Organizations

Demographic change is one of the key challenges for public and private sector organizations. Our research therefore focuses on the performance implications of an increasing average age and increasing age diversity of workforces in organizations. In order to better understand the relationship between the changes in age structures and performance variables, we examine in particular the age images and identities in organizations and the emergence of age stereotypes and discrimination. In addition, we also seek to find targeted leadership and human resource management interventions that will shape demographic change positively.

Scientific Publications:

De Meulenaere, K. & Kunze, F. (in press): Distance Matters: The role of employees’ age distance on the effects of workforce age heterogeneity on firm performance: Human Resource Management, 58: 301-316.

Rudolph, C. W., Kunze, F., & Zacher, H. (2019). Getting objective about subjective age: Introduction to a special issue. Work, Aging and Retirement, 5(4), 265-272.

Kunze, F ., Menges J. (in press): Younger supervisors, older subordinates: An organizational-level study of age differences, emotions, and performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Kunze, F., Raes, A., Bruch H. (2015): It matters how old you feel -­ Organizational-­level antecedents and performance consequences of relative-­subjective age. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(5), 1511‐1526.

Kunze, F., Boehm, S., Bruch, H. (2013)Organizational boundary conditions to prevent negative performance consequences of age diversity. Journal of Management Studies, 50 (3): 413-442.

Kunze, F., Boehm, S., Bruch, H (2013). Age, resistance to change, and job performance: Testing for a common stereotype. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28 (7/8): 741-760.

Kunze, F., Boehm, S., Bruch, H. (2011). Age diversity, age discrimination, and performance consequences - a cross organizational study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32(2): 264-290.Kunze, F., Boehm, S., Bruch, H. (2011).

Publications for practitioners:

Kunze, F. (2013). Von Altersvielfalt in der Verwaltung profitieren. Innovative Verwaltung, 4: 11-13.

Kunze, F. (2013). Altersdiversität und Unternehmensleistung – neuste wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse. Personal Quarterly, 3: 30-35.

Bruch, H., Kunze, F., Boehm, S. (2010). Generationen erfolgreich führen. Konzepte und Praxiserfahrungen zum Management des demographischen Wandels. Gabler: Wiesbaden.

Kunze, F. (2013). Werte der Digital Natives Führungs- und Anreizsysteme angemessen gestalten. Zeitschrift für Führung und Organisation, 82(4): 332-336

Effective Leadership for Individuals and Organizations

Another focus of our research is on how to design effective leadership behavior for individuals and organizations. In addition to investigating what good leadership behavior looks like for individual employees, we are particularly interested in understanding how organizational units and/or entire organizations can be managed effectively. This shows that an individual differentiation of leadership behavior on the individual employee is rather counterproductive and that a collective leadership behavior should be strived for. The main focus of our research is on what effects these different forms of leadership behaviour have on processes, performance and entire organizations and how fair and differentiated leadership behaviour can be designed.

Scientific Publications:

Kunze, F., De Jong, S., Bruch, H. (2016). Consequences of collective‐focused and differentiated individual­‐focused leadership – Development and testing of an organizational-­level model. Journal of Management, 42(4), 886-914.

Publications for practitioners:

Kunze, F., De Jong S. (2014): Transformationale Führung: Empathie kann Gruppenleistung gefährden. Personal Quarterly, 2, 34-40.

Kunze, F., Boehm, S., Bruch, H. (2010). Generational leadership : How to manage five different generations in the workforce. In S. Kunisch, S. Boehm, M. Boppel (Hrsg.): From Grey to Silver: Managing the Demographic Change Successfully. Springer Verlag: Berlin.