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Chair ofBusiness Ethics and Management Control

Prof. Dr. Rolf Brühl, Chair Owner of  Business Ethics and Management Control, Berlin campus, ESCP EuropeBusiness Ethics and Management Control are two essential functions in a company. While Business Ethics, in particular Corporate Social Responsibility, embeds social, moral or sustainability goals within the company, Management Control has been established as one of the central functions across several departments in management which has mainly to ensure the orientation for economic success of all company employees.

We relate our research and teaching to academics and practitioners. Therefore, our research on Corporate Social Responsibility is part of the SustBusy Research Center of ESCP Europe. Additionally, one link to practice is our collaboration with the standing working group of Shared Services in the Schmalenbach Association. We prefer methodology pluralism in research that adopts flexibly to different questions; here we also consider the intersection between Controlling and CSR. We apply diverse teaching methods in our courses. Regular lectures and case studies presented by professionals illustrate the practical relevance of both areas to our students.

- Prof. Dr. Rolf Brühl

The team

From left to right: Dr. Michael Hanzlick (alumnus), Prof. Dr. Rolf Brühl, Johannes Jahn, Melanie Eichhorn, Philipp Richter, Tobias Lewerenz (former student assistant)

SustBusy Research Center

Business and Society - Towards a Sustainable World (SustBusy)

In cooperation with 15 other ESCP Europe members from France, Italy and Berlin, a new research center on issues of sustainability in business and society arises under the scientific direction of Prof. Dr. Sylvie Geisendorf.

ESCP Europe has a considerable number of professors who are involved in research on and teaching of sustainability issues. The new research center "Business and Society - Towards a Sustainable World" (SustBusy), whose office is located at the Chair of Environment and Economics in Berlin provides a common roof for these related activities. The individual and group-related research projects cover a wide area of research issues. Company-specific issues, development of a sustainability culture, implementation of a sustainability strategy or sustainable supply chains are covered as well as CSR reporting, socially responsible investment, social issues of an anti-consumption lifestyle and economic analysis of environmental policy instrument effects, accounting for behavioral economic findings. The special feature of the research center is thus the broadly-based position of its members and its high potential for synergies. There are two main links between our approaches where the the projects might benefit from each other. First there are several projects on the company and reporting level which could exchange information on sustainability culture or strategy as well as CSR reporting. Second, the projects on company, consumer and financial market level would benefit from a link to the political/regulation side as well as this research could profit from empirical results on the behavior of the respective agents.

We are excited that SustBusy allows even closer cooperation and coordination of our activities. In this sense: Sustainable success!

Schmalenbach Association

Forum of Dialogue Between Science and Business

The "Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft für Betriebswirtschaft e.V." in its present structure was founded in 1978 with the amalgamation of two long-standing business economics societies - the "Schmalenbach Society for the Advancement of Research in Business Economics and Business Practice", Cologne, and the "German Society for Business Economics", Berlin. 1 schmalenbach-gesellschaft_1a

The activities of both societies date back to the beginning of the twentieth century, notably to the efforts of Prof. Eugen Schmalenbach, one of the most distinguished German business economists. His main goal was to develop business economics into an applied science by creating a close link between economic theory and practice.


The SG is the oldest association concerned with business administration in Germany. It is a registered institution and as such non-profit oriented and moreover politically independent. The SG counts both business economists and executive personnel among its members. They have joined the society in order to promote Schmalenbach's idea of bridging the gap between research institutions and enterprises.


The dialogue between science and business is at the centre of the society's work. Its goal is to provide businessmen with facts and information on the latest scientific findings as promptly as possible. Business economists in turn are encouraged to examine urgent practical problems which require scientific investigation.

We offer the following courses:

Bachelor in
Management (BSc)

  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics
Go to the programme

Master in

  • Management Control
  • International Management Control
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
Go to the programme

Master in
International Sustainability Management

  • Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
Go to the programme

Doctoral Programme in
International Business Administration

  • Philosophy of Science
See more


Research approach

The three dimensions of the research cube show the research profile of the chair. The first dimension illustrates the basic characteristic of the research at the chair: Business administration is understood as social and behavioral science.

Research cube by Chair Chair of Business Ethics and Management Controll

Research topics

Responsibility and Accountability

Responsibility and accountability are like Siamese twins. If one is responsible, we expect him to account for his actions. Accountability therefore also considers questions about who is ascribed responsibility. We build on a model which illustrates how responsibility is assigned and how this process relates to the account giving of actors. This model allows for statements about characteristic account patterns. We tested this model by examining the communication of banks after the financial market crisis. Several other projects are dedicated to the question of how organizations answer to negative events. Accountability is a central concept consulted in these projects.

Organizational Legitimacy

In recent years many corporations report about their social activities. In our research we assume that this communication is intended to influence the attitude of the companies’ important stakeholders. Currently, the focus of our research is on the judgment of organizational legitimacy. For many years institutional scholars have focused on organizational legitimacy as core of their research. However, investigations about the how individual judgements of stakeholders are formed are missing.

In a first study we applied an experimental design. In a between subject design participants were asked to judge different corporate social activities (with and without additional benefits for the corporation). Our results show how the motives that are attributed to company are related to corporate credibility and legitimacy.

Management Control Systems

In an international project management control systems within a variety of countries (e.g. Europe, Australia and Canada) are investigated. Crucial components of management control systems are described and explained within their respective context. In this project several research questions are addressed. In a sub-project we investigate whether cultural values, e.g. according to Hofstede or GLOBE, have impact on the design of management control systems. Belgium, Germany, Canada and Poland are involved as subjects of the study. In a further subproject, we investigate how such values affect the design of performance management systems.

Shared Service Center

In recent years large corporations have begun to form new organizational entities: shared service center. Shared service center assume tasks from other decentralized organizational departments. Most prominent are shared service center that are focused on Finance, HR, accounting and IT. The accompanying consequences of these massive organizational changes are currently underexplored.

The current status of the shared service center research is shown in a first publication. Current projects focus on the success factors and the implementation of shared service center.

Focus on:
Last Publications


Rolf Brühl: Controlling. Grundlagen der erfolgsorientierten Unternehmenssteuerung. 4. überarbeitete und aktualisierte Auflage, Verlag Franz Vahlen, München, 2016.


Controlling (fonts series). Jointly edited by Prof. Dr. Volker Lingnau, Kaiserslautern, Prof. Dr. Albrecht Becker, Innsbruck.


Jahn, Johannes/Brühl, Rolf: How Friedman's view on individual freedom relates to takeholder theory and social contract theory, in: Journal of Business Ethics, 2016, Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3353-x.

Posts in Lexika

Brühl, Rolf: Sensitivitätsanalyse, in: Lexikon des Rechnungswesens. Handbuch der Bilanzierung und Prüfung, der Erlös-, Finanz-, Investitions- und Kostenrech-nung, hrsg. v. Walther Busse von Colbe, Nils Crasselt, Bernhard Pellens, 5. Auflage, Oldenbourg, München, 2011, S. 704-707.


Hirsch, Bernhard: Controlling und Entscheidungen. Zur verhaltenswissenschaftlichen Fundierung des Controllings, in: Zeitschrift für Controlling und Management, 52. Jg., Heft 5, S. 350-351.

Working Papers

Basel, Jörn/Brühl, Rolf: Concepts of Rationality in Management Research - From Unbounded Rationality to Ecological Rationality, ESCP Europe Working Paper, Nr. 57, Berlin, 2011.

Find an overview

Team and contact

Prof. Dr. Rolf Brühl, Chair of Business Ethics and Management Control, Berlin Campus, ESCP Europe

Prof. Dr. Rolf Brühl

Chair Owner
Dipl. Psych. Melanie Eichhorn, PhD student, Chair of Business Ethics and Management Control, Berlin Campus, ESCP Europe

Dipl. Psych. Melanie Eichhorn

PhD student
Philip Richter, M.Sc., Research Assistant, Chair of Business Ethics and Management Control, Berlin Campus, ESCP Europe

Philip Richter, M.Sc.

Research assistant / PhD student
Christina Novak Hansen, Research assistant / PhD student, Chair of Business Ethics and Management Control, Berlin Campus, ESCP Europe

Christina Novak Hansen

Research assistant / PhD student
Benedikt Kapteina, Research assistant / PhD student, Chair of Business Ethics and Management Control, Berlin Campus, ESCP Europe

Benedikt Kapteina

Research assistant / PhD student