Academic & Research Profile

Research at Karls is emphasing the re-thinking, the re-imagining of existing approaches and theories as well as contributing for a re-doing of practices. All of this is serving for an integraltransFormation’ of society, economy and organisations as well as individuals.

Our academic identity is characterized by pluralistic oriented and philosophically reflectiveresearch interests, whilst focusing on phenomena that are related to both organisational and economic dimensions and leadership, as well as socio-cultural and political sytems and issues in both society and the economy."

In particular, we are interested in situating and exploring processes and activities of individuals, communities and various (alternative) forms of organisations, and public or non-governmental institutions in their cultural and societal embedment and in relation to social, ethical and aesthetic “transFormation”.

We act on the assumption that socio-cultural, political, economic and organizational realities are constructed and staged or performed by agents and agencies as part of their, interpretations and sense-making. For us these dimensions of meaning emerge co-creatively through various actions, agencies and stake-holders that can be altered and steered towards more just and sustainable practices.

With such orientation, the Karlshochschule understands itself as an educational institution that is characterised by critical-reflexive approaches towards socio-cultural, economic, organisational and management-related phenomena, while aspiring to supplement or overcome traditional reductionist orientations.

A special focus is put on ethics, diversity, inclusion, equality, feminism and social justice as well as change and innovation in business and society and integral approaches towards the ‘commons’/’communing’, sustainability development and practice.

For pursuing all these research orientations, we pursue inter- and transdisciplinary and integralresearch, inspired by and related to e.g. anthropology, sociology, communication and media sciences as well as the humanities, in particular philosophy, art and aesthetics.

Based on these orientations, great importance is attached to qualitative research methods. Methodologically, the Karlshochschule pursues mainly an interpretative and integrative approach in relation to the phenomena under study. Such an approach allows us to investigate systematically and critically ambiguous and dynamic phenomena, problems and issues. At the same time this research aims at contributing also to a constructive transFormation toward more sustainable futures.

Transformative research is understood both as research into issues, problems and challenges about topics of change and transition, as well as research that is in itself transformative. The latter one is an engaged scholarship that contributes to solving problems (action research) and impacts the social and economic ways of living and working together.

Thus, Karls aims at pursuing foundational, applied and/or action research that is rigorous, but also relevant, engaged and transdisciplinary. Alongside other academic and non-academic practioners, researchers here co-create knoweldge that might imply 'slow research', research that is not in competition for ranked journals. But instead, it is research that aspires toward making a transformative difference!

Accordingly, Karls is a place of research that

  • responds to complex problems and pressing challenges!
  • re-visits and re-initiates forms of thinking and researching!
  • re-thinks the given status quo and re-imagines what is possible, while also re-doing, and thus transFoming!
  • re-pursues quests and questions in academic freedom, while crossing disciplines and building bridges ‘in-between’ various levels, and developing an integral understanding and practice!

Specific Research Focus in Faculties

  • Our Faculty I focuses on critical research and teaching in the interplay of managerial practices, symbolic meanings, institutional logics, market dynamics and global challenges.
  • Complementarily, Faculty II focuses on inter- and transdisciplinary and integral research and teaching in relation to alternative forms of living and working in civic society and economies as well as forms of critical governance. In particular it explores systematically the nexus of progressive politics, (analytic, continental and non-western) philosophies and heterodox, pluralistic economics, and international relations.