The focus of the junior professorship of Dr. Matthias Niedenführ (Vice Director, China Centre Tübingen) established in 2014 focuses on questions of sustainability and values in contemporary Chinese society with particular emphasis on ethics in business.
The teaching courses cover topics of contemporary economy (economic culture, innovation, regional integration, institutional economics), society (sustainability, environmental protection and civil society) and politics (political economy of the media, politicization of national history, value debates).
The current core project examines efforts of Chinese companies to promote ethically-oriented right decisions in management and among company employees. The rapid pace of development in the People's Republic of China poses significant challenges to the country's environment and society, with companies playing a crucial role in their solution. This project examines the indigenous approach of the "Confucian entrepreneur" - also called "New Chinese Style Management" – that attempts to implement sustainable corporate governance on an individual and institutional level in practice and seeks to integrate traditional thinking and economic rationality. In addition to concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), emphasis is placed on humanistic education, the involvement of the families of the employees and confidence building. This empirical study is based on dozens of qualitative interviews with company leaders, managers and employees in selected domestic companies to critically analyse the implementation of this management style and its acceptance and to generate a theory of Confucian entrepreneurs. The phenomenon is located in the context of contemporary social and political developments in China.