Many of you write a thesis in collaboration with a company. I also wrote my master’s thesis
agile in the Waterfallworld
with a company. Here, the topic is often said to be very practical and a problem of the company, but at the same time also very academic. However, solving a company-specific problem, such as the introduction of an SAP in a medium-sized SME, is not a sufficient bachelor’s thesis in a strictly academic sense. If, by the way, you don’t have a topic at all, please read on to my topic finding article.

Reading tip: Find topic

“The subject is too practical or too theoretical!”

So you are faced with the dilemma that the chair rejects the topic as too fuzzy and the practical partner rejects the topic as too theoretical? Expect a voting effort of 3 months for something like this. But it is worth it, because afterwards you are often employed directly and get good money during the thesis. In addition to my starting salary, my time as a junior consultant was significantly shortened.

The best way to do this is to see what the company wants first. In 99% of cases you get a practical problem. Great examples are: How do we establish System XY, how do we get more professionals or how do we increase agility. If you have this, then see if you can either design a reference model from the topic or examine the practical problem with a theory.

Tip: An example of a literature analysis with many thematic suggestions for a thesis can be found in my study of 2019 (online from March 2019).

Lindner, D., & Leyh, C.. (2019). Digitization of SMEs – questions, recommendations for action as well as implications for IT organization and IT service management. HMD – Practice of Business Informatics, 4, 21.

Roughly collect some literature and use this information to reach out to the supervisor at the chair. Further below, I will explain how you can implement the intermediate step (reference model and theory). It is clear, of course, that you certainly need to spin more loops and play a little ping pong between the practice partner and the supervisor. It took me 3 months. Surely you have already tried a lot, otherwise you would not read this article. Also, many of you do not find any literature. I wrote a separate article about this.

Reading tip: Help I can’t find literature!

Practice partner thesis
Procedure of the coordination of a topic with the chair and practice partner

Variant 1: Reference Modeling

Reference modeling techniques are used to create simplified images of reality. Based on observations (inductive) or derived from theories (deductive), these models are designed to represent a planned or optimized system environment.” (Bodendorf et al. 2012)

So in this case, take that the company’s practical problem and build a model or framework out of it. For example, I did. For me, it was a model for combining agile and waterfall-like methods.

A possible title for a work with a reference model would then be: a success factor model for the introduction of SAP systems or another example: conception of an organizational framework for the establishment of scrum in an SCRum in an SME. The problem is that not every maintainer likes the concept of a framework, and it can be argued about how academic it is. But a trial is worth it and it usually uses the practice partner a bit.

Reading Tip: Reference Modeling

Variant 2: Observation of the problem with theory

If the reference model doesn’t work, take a practical problem with the company and examine it with a theory such as game theory, agility, Porter’s Five Forces or similar. So you are investigating a problem of the company on the basis of a scientific theory. This is the perfect bridge between theory and practice. You have to look here yourself and individually, which theory can fit here. The following is a list of well-known theories that make sense in the course of our topic:

Special case: Investigate certain context!

You only find general literature and nothing for your context, e.g. agility in clubs or agility in production? Then read my article that specifically helps you with this problem:

Reading tip: Finding literature for practice partners

Conclusion: Stay tuned and follow tips!

Many of you would like to write a thesis with a practice partner. This often makes sense, as it is easier to get started. However, this is also associated with 50% more effort than a classical work at the chair. Therefore, try to convince the chair with a theory or reference modelling.

Gibt es noch Fragen?

Falls es noch Fragen gibt, habe ich zwei Tipps. Ich habe meine Erfahrung aus 5 Jahren in der Betreuung von Abschlussarbeiten im Buch: "Empfehlungen für die Bachelor- und Masterarbeit" zusammengefasst. Dieses gibt es bei Springer und Amazon seit August 2020. Das Buch ist ein offzielles Fachbuch in kann damit zitiert werden. Weiterhin können Sie mich gerne mal anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um Studenten zu helfen.

Mein Tipp vor der Abgabe Ihrer Abschlussarbeit

Es lohnt sich immer eine Abschlussarbeit professionell Korrekturlesen oder auf Plagiat prüfen zu lassen. Der Vorteil ist, dass Sie dabei auch Feedback erhalten und den akademischen Sprachstil verbessern. Anbieter wie bspw. Scribbr helfen mit guten Preisen bei der Abschlussarbeit.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

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Bodendorf, F., Löffler, C., & Hofmann, J. (2010). Research methods in business informatics. Business Informatics, (1), 1-44.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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