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Dr Carolin Decker-Lange

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Management
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise
  • carolin.decker-lange

Professional biography

Dr Carolin Decker-Lange is a Senior Lecturer in Management at the Department of Public Leadership & Social Enterprise at The Open University Business School. Before joining the Open University, Carolin worked at UWE Bristol Business School, the University of Bremen, and WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. She has obtained her PhD in Management and her post-doctoral lecture qualification for teaching business and management in Higher Education (“Habilitation”) from Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). Carolin holds a Diploma (equivalent to combined BSc/MSc degrees) in Business Education from the University of Mainz (Germany).

Research interests

In her research, Carolin concentrates on three topical areas: (1) governance of interorganizational relationships, (2) organizational change, decline and recovery, and (3) management of family businesses and family wealth.

  1. Governance of interorganizational relationships: The projects alluding to this area mainly focus on the organizational level. They draw on economic theories, which are predominantly tested with quantitative methods. An emerging area of research is partner fit in alliances and networks. In this area, Carolin uses both quantitative and qualitative methods and focuses on data from different industries and sectors. Moreover, she increasingly broadens her perspective on interorganizational relationships by including licensing agreements which are a special type of alliance but have hardly been studied from a management perspective. In this area, she applies experimental and survey-based methods.

  2. Organizational change, decline and recovery: In this area, Carolin is especially interested in questions referring to divestitures and turnaround in both multi-business firms and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). She also increasingly focuses on business model design, change and innovation.

  3. Management of family businesses and family wealth: In this area, Carolin focuses on, for example, the innovative output of family-owned firms as compared to innovation in non-family firms. Another topic alludes to the management and preservation of family wealth across generations. In particular, Carolin studies the governance structures and roles of family offices for the families behind them and their diverse businesses. The family office-concept is still new and emerging in management research. It is also a relatively new phenomenon in the European financial services industry. Currently, Carolin is studying the emergence of the concept in different European countries based on a longitudinal analysis of secondary data.

Teaching interests

Carolin has more than 10 years of teaching experience in higher education in Germany and the UK. She has taught modules in the areas of Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship and Research Methods at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is also experienced in supervising students in writing their bachelor or master theses and doctoral students in preparing their dissertations. Moreover, she developed teaching concepts for and contributed to online distance-learning courses on the management of knowledge and competences in organizations, which were dedicated to professionals and executives from various industries and at different career levels.

Impact and engagement

Carolin is an elected Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Verband unabhaengiger Family Offices (VuFO e.V. - Association of Independent Family Offices) in Germany. In this role, she helps promote teaching and research on family offices in German-speaking universities and create awareness for an organisation dedicated to family business governance and family wealth management.

She is also a member of the Editorial Review Board of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.