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Innovative, flexible and stable in the long-term: new RUB research project to explore trust and competence management

Innovative, flexible and stable in the long-term
Central variables: trust and competence management
New project: the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds RUB's applied work science with one million euros

Karstadt, Quelle & Co.: the balancing act between the necessary flexibility and long-term stability all too often turns into a walk on eggshells for the company concerned and, if the worst comes to the worst, ends in insolvency. The pivotal point of a company is its employees, the trust and competence with which they contribute to the competitiveness of their own enterprise.

It is this setting screw that Bochum's work scientists are now turning in a new research project to explore trust and competence management: over the next three and a half years, RUB scientists will be researching and developing concrete structuring options for personnel policy especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The goal is, inter alia, to provide a "toolbox" for balanced human resources management on the basis of "good practice" examples. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project to the tune of one million euros.

Nationally and internationally networked

The chair for work organisation and work structuring (Prof. Dr. Heiner Minssen) is jointly heading the project "Trust and competence management as a system for balance between flexibility and stability requirements (CCM2)" together with the chair "human resources and work process management" (Prof. Dr. Uta Wilkens) and is researching the importance of trust and competence in processes of change. The project is embedded in a national and international consortium. At a national level, the project is assigned to the BMBF's research focus "balance between flexibility and stability in a changing world of work". Internationally, the group cooperates with the programme WORK-IN-NET in order to increasingly network the European research landscape in the area of work science.

From diagnosis to monitoring

The starting point of the project CCM2 is the assumption that an interlocking trust and competence management system is able to establish a balance between flexibility and stability requirements and thus promotes innovative ability. The aim of the project is to enable companies to perform a fast and informative diagnostic of their balancing abilities: "thinking well into the future, such a diagnostic instrument enables macroeconomic monitoring of corporate structural change - similar to the ongoing reporting on training," says Prof. Wilkens.

Continue developing what is good, test what is new

The research team led by Prof. Minssen and Prof. Wilkens precisely analyses and identifies "good practices" in the economy for trust and competence management, develops these further and tests new methods. From this, a toolbox is created with practical instruments for balanced personnel policy. In this way, companies are given, for example, a practical assistance on how to ensure trust through flexible employment contract arrangements. "The successful transfer of knowledge between younger and older workers is particularly well suited to building trust", explains Prof. Minssen. Partner companies from various sectors are participating in the project. Companies interested in taking part can, however, still get in contact with the project staff.

Further information

For trust management: Prof. Dr. Heiner Minssen, sociologist Sebastian Giacovelli, Caroline Schupp M.A., chair for work organisation and work structuring, tel. 0234/32-27730, -26766, -27733, e-mail:,,

For competence management: Prof. Dr. Uta Wilkens, Dr. Christina Krins, Nicole Sprafke, chair for human resources and work process management, tel. 0234/32-27876, -26091, -26110, e-mail:,,

Dr. Josef König | idw
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