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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. Dr. Olaf Rank

Prof. Dr. Olaf Rank

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Business Administration
Internal Senior Fellow
October 2016 - July 2017

Room 00 017


Olaf Rank received his doctoral degree in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim in 2003. After this, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher and assistant professor at the University of Bern, Switzerland. After completing his postdoctoral graduation („Habilitation“) in 2008, he assumed a position as Professor of Organization and Management at Georg-August-University Goettingen while refusing a position at the University of Passau. In 2011, he accepted an offer from Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. Since then, he has served Professor of Organization and Human Resource Management. In addition, he is currently spokesman of the Institute of Economics and Business Administration. In 2014, he refused an offer from the University of Stuttgart. Olaf’s research interests cover a broad range of topics in the fields of organization theory, human resource management as well as strategic management. He has particularly worked in the field of social network analysis, a method that he frequently applies to research questions related to organization and HRM. He has published three books and a number of articles both in national as well as international journals.

Selected Publications

  • Brennecke, Julia/Rank, Olaf N. (2016). The interplay between formal project memberships and informal advice seeking in knowledge-intensive firms: A multilevel network approach, in: Social Networks, 44: 307-318.
  • Brennecke, Julia/Schierjott, Irena/Rank, Olaf N. (2016): Informal managerial networks and formal firm alliances: A multilevel investigation in biotech, in: Schmalenbach Business Review, 17(1): 103-125.
  • Brennecke, Julia/Schierjott, Irena/Rank, Olaf N. (2016): Informal managerial networks and formal firm alliances: A multilevel investigation in biotech, in: Schmalenbach Business Review, 17(1): 103-125.
  • Rank, Olaf N./Robins, Garry/Pattison, Philippa E. (2010): Structural logic of network organizations, in: Organization Science, 21(3): 745-764.
  • Rank, Olaf N./Tuschke, Anja (2010): Perceived influence and friendship as antecedents of cooperation in top management teams: A network approach, in: Business Research, 3(2): 151-171.

FRIAS Project

Cooperative Network Structures in Hightech Clusters: A Multi-Level Analysis

Corporate clusters have been established in many places in order to support the interconnectedness of firms and thereby increase their competitiveness. The structures of these clusters represent complex multilevel networks comprising cooperative relationships on three distinct hierarchical levels: the cluster level, the level of high-tech firms and research institutions representing the cluster members, and the individual level comprising managers and researchers working for the member organizations. The project will investigate three research questions: (1) Which structural properties characterize the multilevel networks of clusters and under which conditions are the individual levels interrelated in complementary and substitutive ways? (2) How are cooperative relationships inside the cluster interrelated with collaboration ties to national and international partners outside the own cluster? (3) Do the network structures of different clusters exhibit a uniform structural logic or do the structural properties of the multilevel networks depend on the specific characteristics of the clusters such as age, size, and industry? Applying a multilevel network analytical approach, the project contributes to existing knowledge in a twofold way. First, the results enhance our understanding of corporate clusters. They will allow for allocating affirmative actions of the public sector more purposefully thereby increasing the effectiveness of cluster promotion. Second, the results expand existing knowledge with respect to the structural logic of multilevel networks and make a substantial contribution to network theory.