Report on 2011 SIEM Workshop

Our Feedback for the 2011 SIEM Workshop entitled ”What about managerial geography?” conducted at Humboldt University in February 14th, 2011 was very positive! We will upload pictures and material to the SIEM homepage soon. Please find a short report below.

Twenty participants provided a lively and academic discussion. All participants who provided feedback stated that they learned something concrete from participating in this workshop. Additionally they indicated that after participating in this workshop, they had a higher opinion of SIEM. The participants appreciated the interaction of academics and professionals as valuable. One speaker mentioned that especially the mixture between academic staff and professionals was fruitful. Academics and professional managers found the presentations to be motivating for their own work. Accordingly, participants stated firmly that they would like to participate in similar workshops and events in the future.

In his welcome note, Professor Elmar Kulke forecasted that Management Geography could play an important part in the revival of Economic Geography as an important subject of applied sciences.

Additional highlights of the event

  • Professor Risto Laulajainen impressed all participants with his video message showing his academic endeavor to build towards managerial geography with case studies introduced in a fashion of corporate geography.
  • Professor Päivi Oinas made the constructive critique that embeddedness theory was very fashionable in the 90s and many geographers have moved towards other currently fashionable approaches not having fully understood the potential of the embeddeness approach yet. She sees a potential to combine embeddedness theory with the actor-centered approach within Management Geography. Additionally, she discussed other elements that should be included in management geography as the field matures.
  • Lech Suwala’s impressed the workshop participants with a very innovative concept capable extending theories on innovation creation with important aspects of market dynamics.
  • The presentation of Claudia Klaerding about the adaptation of managerial practices to local contexts of different managing cultures in a recently developing market was inspiring many participants.

    The participants believed that the ways of management geography can help to improve the understanding of real business within economic geography because it involves practitioners. Practitioners confirmed this statement emphasizing that management geography can help and improve the understanding of real business.
    Especially, the presentation on locational adjustment and preferences of international managers by Dr. Michael Plattner and Professor Rolf Schlunze was welcomed as a helpful perception on a real-management issue by the participating managers. One academic participant recommended that a closer look on the decision making processes and the individual contexts of managers seems useful to understand company behaviors noticing that internationalization strategies of SME and the development of new markets of smaller firms are highly dependent on individual decisions of their managing partners. Other participants found that an actor-centered approach within management geography is an appealing concept to human geographers because it justifies human geography for real-life business and enhances the standing of the discipline. Participants found that ‘Management Geography’ with its actor-centered approach could be an important aspect within economic geography, but it would not become a completely new field of study beside the “traditional” economic geography because the degree to which they are intertwined. However, all active SIEM members are eager to work on further clarifications, definitions and theoretical and methodological approaches of the proposed actor-centered approach that appeal to economic geographers, management scientists and professionals.

Program of the SIEM workshop

Program of the SIEM workshop as conducted at the Department of Economic Geography at the Humboldt-University Berlin, Erwin Schrödinger-Zentrum, Rudower Chaussee 26, Room 0’101, Monday, February 14th, 2011, 13:30-18:00

Welcome note: Prof. Dr. Elmar Kulke (Humboldt University, Department of Economic Geography)
Video message: Prof. (emeritus) Risto Laulajainen (Gothenburg University, Sweden): What about managerial geography?
Keynote speaker: Professor Dr. Päivi Oinas (Turku School of Economics, Finland): Management subjects and management objects through the lenses of competitiveness, coordination, and embeddedness.



  1. Dipl.-Geogr./Dipl. Vw. Lech Suwala (Humboldt University): Managing the Process of Creativity in Organizations -Theoretical considerations.
  2. Dipl.-Geogr. Claudia Klaerding (University of Kiel): Transferring inter-firm management practices to Shanghai – Specifying the role of culture in an institutional perspective.
  3. Prof. Dr. Rolf D. Schlunze (Ritsumeikan University, Japan) & Dr. Michael Plattner (University of Nottingham): Locational preferences, acculturation, and networking for business success: Cases from Japan and Germany.
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