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Explaining Firm Performance in Network Industries

Archive StampAdvanced Seminar Communication Economics

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Grohsjean, Pascal Kober, Daniel Oehling

Course Overview

In today’s business world there is a large difference between the huge success of a small number of firms and the mediocre or weak performance of the rest. This difference is especially apparent in many internet and technology markets. Companies like Facebook and Google dominate a market, in strong contrast to their competitors.

A common and important characteristic of these industries are network effects. Simply put, a consumer will favour a product adopted by many other consumers, suggesting that coordination on a single product is optimal for customers. While this explains the dominance of a single firm, it is not clear why and how a specific firm becomes dominant.

The seminar will shed light on the strategies of firms in these markets, for example file-sharing, electronic commerce, and internet encyclopaedias. The participants will use a case-study approach to develop their term paper.

Course Structure

The seminar has two goals: First, students will combine the most important concepts in the literature and relate these to empirical cases. Second, students will be introduced to academic research, in particular structuring complex problems, reading scientific papers, working with case studies, and constructing a clear argument on their own. It also serves as good preparation for a bachelor thesis.


To apply, please send your CV and a recent transcript to Pascal Kober (E-Mail schicken an until 31 January 2013 (confirmation of participation: 04.02.2013).



  • The course is held as a block seminar in English
  • This seminar qualifies for a Bachelor thesis according to the examination regulations (107 kB)
  • The number of participants is limited
  • By attending the kickoff session, you are bindingly enrolled for the seminar
Dates Friday, 19.04.2013, 10:00-15:00, Schackstr. 4/III, Room 307 (Kickoff session)
Friday, 24.05.2013, 9:00-16:00, Schackstr. 4/III, Room 307 (Interim presentations)
Deadlines Monday, 01.07.2013, 18:00 (Term paper)
Credits 6 ECTS in module V/VII (PO 06) or M/F-BWL (PO 08)
Examination Interim presentation and term paper
[Please strictly adhere to our formal requirements (PDF - 205 kB)]