Business Research: Problem-Solving in Organizations (Spring Semester 2024)

General Information

Lecturer  Dr. Simone Schweiger
Assistants(s) Simon Nobs
 Room Main Building, Room 105
Language The course will be held in German. The majority of documents will be available in English only. 
Credit Aknowledgement Students specializing in management: Core subject (Kernbereich) Others: Elective subjects (Wahlbereich)


Students are required to register for this course on KSL. Registration is open from January 3rd until February 22nd.

Students will be split into groups and thus we cannot accept any cancellations of the registration later than February 22nd. If students cancel their registration later than February 22nd they will receive a grade 1 from this course.


No preconditions for this course.exist.

Course Description & Learning Outcoms

In today's dynamic work environment, effective problem-solving is a vital skill. This course will guide you through a systematic approach to problem identification, problem root cause analysis, solution generation, and solution implementation.

By the end of this lecture, you will acquire the following skills

  • apply both convergent and divergent thinking effectively.
  • select and apply suitable data collection methods.
  • assess the credibility of information and, in particular, research results.
  • narrow down (framing) and reinterpret (reframing) a problem.
  • systematically analyze causes of a problem in breadth and depth.
  • systematically break down solutions to a problem in breadth and depth.
  • apply and differentiate between inductive and deductive reasoning.
  • approach problems in a hypothesis-based manner.
  • critically and constructively question approaches to problem-solving.
  • apply the problem-solving process.

Teaching Approach and Performance Evaluation

The course comprises five modules, each spanning two weeks. Learning materials (podcasts, videos, or texts) will be accessible on ILIAS, with corresponding mandatory interactive tasks (polls, brain teasers, and quizzes) to be completed remotely. This mandatory interactive learning material are designed to reinforce the material and to obtain student opinions. Additionally, there are mandatory assignments , including submitting milestones of problem-solving of an organizational case (by teams of 2 students) and offering peer-feedback to fellow students.

Furthermore, there are several optional assignments to choose from, including composing a personal problem-solving write-up, taking on the role of a tutor for fellow students on a specific topic that we will discuss in a lecture, or maintaining a learning journal. These assignments aim to foster a deeper engagement with the learning material. Each module features one lecture (attendance is also optional) midway through. During the lecture, specific learning material (such as data collection methods) is discussed interactively. The emphasis here is on active application in a secure environment, encouraging active participation in small groups. We also provide the option of an end-of-term exam, conducted offline at the university. This exam features open-ended questions and serves as an additional opportunity for students to review and reinforce their understanding of the learning material.

Evaluation of interactive tasks and assignments is ongoing throughout the semester, emphasizing continuous engagement rather than relying solely on a final exam in the end of the semester. To earn 6 ECTS, timely submission of obligatory interactive tasks and assignments in each of the five modules is required. Students accumulate points with each task, assignment, and lecture attendance etc. To receive a grade of "4.0," a minimum of 50 points is required. The point system will be thoroughly explained in module 1.

Any changes to the course will be communicated via email.

Course Material 

General course materials will be available on ILIAS

Tentative Course Overview (subject to change)

Module Time   Lecture  Room
Feb 21 (16:15)


Mar 06 (16:15)


Feb 28, 16:15 - 18:00


Overview of the problem-solving process

Overview of data collection methods

2 Mar 06 (16:15)


 Mar 20 (16:15)


Mar 13, 16:15 - 18:00

Step 1: Frame the problem


Credibility of information

Data collection method: Customer interviews

Mar 20 (16:15)

(Easter break: Mar 29 - Apr 07)

Apr 10 (16:15)


Mar 27, 16:15 - 18:00

Step 2: Diagnose the problem

Inductive and deductive argumentation

Data collection method: Focus groups

Apr 10 (16:15)


Apr 24 (16:15)


Apr 17, 16:15 - 18:00

Step 3: Find solutions

Data collection method: Surveys

Apr 24 (16:15)


May 08 (16:15)


May 01, 16:15 - 18:00

Step 4: Implement solution

Data collection method: Experiments


May 15 Final exam (optional)