Strategy Forum / Panelist

Monika Schnitzer

Department of Economics

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich


Monika Schnitzer is a professor in economics and holds the chair for comparative economics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Professor Schnitzer’s main research interests are innovation, competition policy, and multinational firms. She is a member of the German Council of Economic Experts.

Voting History

Statement Response
BP’s decision to dial back plans for cutting oil and gas production shows that short-term financial performance pressure will make it difficult for many firms to transition their strategies toward more sustainable business models. Neither agree nor disagree “The short-term financial performance depends on market expectations shaped by the regulatory framework. Thus, it is not the market pressure per se that makes it difficult for firms to choose sustainable business models; it is the regulatory framework that affects market pressure.”
Digital platform companies like Uber and Netflix have lost their first-mover advantage. Neither agree nor disagree “For me, the question is not so much whether they have lost their first-mover advantage but rather whether they had a first-mover advantage in the first place. They do in terms of brand recognition but not so much in terms of building up assets that allow them to outcompete newcomers. In particular with Uber, its asset is its software, which can be readily imitated by newcomers. This is very different from Amazon, for instance, which, by building up logistics capacities, has gained a real cost advantage over newcomers.”
The use of generative AI will restore competition in search. Agree “This is more a hope than a strong conviction, but it seems like AI could provide the disrupting technology that is needed to challenge existing search engines. Let’s hope for the best.”
New salary transparency laws will cause companies to increase bonus pay and other nonreportable perks as a share of total compensation. Neither agree nor disagree “The effect could go either way. The report gives a signal not just to investors but also to future managers. Increasing nonreportable bonuses while lowering reportable salaries may not go down well with potential future employees.”
Artificial intelligence is reducing wasteful holiday giving (i.e., deadweight loss) by helping online retailers to better match people to presents. Disagree “AI may help me find the right presents for myself but not necessarily the right presents for the people I want to give presents to. For this, I would have to give the AI the relevant information about the people I need to find presents for. If all I enter is “nephew, male, 13 years old,” I doubt that AI can make much of a recommendation.”
Charging for user verification will lead to increased user engagement and trust on Twitter. Strongly disagree “Consumer trust is gained by proper verification, not by charging a fee without actually verifying the credentials, as just happened.”
Corporate investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion should be expected to generate a monetary return on investment. Disagree “While I do expect such investments to generate a monetary return in the long run, I do not think that one should expect and require them to generate a measurable monetary return in the short run. Some of these investments will pay off only with some delay. Also, shareholders, and for that matter stakeholders, are not interested in monetary returns alone but may have preferences on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Corporate investments should take these preferences into account.”
The era of dominance for Tesla in the EV market is coming to an end. Disagree “While traditional car manufacturers are catching up in the EV market, they are not on the same level yet when it comes to producing their own battery cells, providing their own charging infrastructure, and developing their own software.”
Online education and specialized degrees will supplant the traditional two-year full-time MBA.  Disagree “Building networks by meeting in person is one of the big pluses of the traditional two-year full-time MBA. Also, interactions inside and outside the classroom are an important source of creating new ideas and stimulating new ways of thinking. While online courses can complement in-person teaching, they cannot fully replace meeting and interacting in person.”
Starbucks’s plans to increase wages for nonunionized workers is a shortsighted strategy. Disagree “Increasing wages, whether for unionized or non-unionized workers, can be the right strategy to attract new employees or retain old ones. It also boosts their commitment to their job.”
Sanctions against Russia will cause multinational companies to consider human rights protections in supply chains more broadly. Neither agree nor disagree “Profit-maximizing multinationals will consider human rights protection in their supply chains either because they are forced to by regulation (like, for example, the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act that was passed in 2021) or because they fear reputational damage if they work with suppliers that do not respect human rights. While the current sanctions against Russia may momentarily have raised awareness of human rights issues in supply chains, based on past experience, I do not expect this effect to be long-lasting for supply chains in general.”
The field of strategic management has overlooked the role of corporate purpose in driving business performance. Neither agree nor disagree “While this may be true for individual firms, it is not for others and not for the field of strategic management as a whole.”
Socially responsible mutual funds are more of a marketing tool than a solution to environmental and social problems. Agree “Unless investors take an active role in influencing the companies’ investments — something mutual funds are not doing — they don’t make companies adhere more to ESG criteria. Mutual funds might help companies certified as ESG but only if there is an oversupply of ESG funds such that financing for ESG investment is cheaper than for non-ESG investment without arbitrage kicking in.”
When hackers take data hostage, companies should pay the ransom. Strongly disagree “As a general rule, companies should not pay ransom as this encourages hackers to go on hacking and asking for ransom. As an individual company that is attacked, it seems sensible to pay ransom and then make sure to improve your IT security so that it never happens again. The question thus is how to coordinate and credibly commit that no company will ever pay ransom in order to discourage hackers. Pass a law that forbids paying ransom? Companies will then do it secretly. More promising: Condition the penalty on the amount of ransom asked and collected, and make sure the hackers are caught.”
Relaxing the rules around physical presence in the office will improve employee productivity and firm performance. Agree “Working from home saves long hours spent on commuting and reduces wasteful signaling by staying inefficiently long overtime hours in the office, as is the rule in some jobs. More flexibility allows employees to choose their working hours schedule according to what works best for them. All of this should improve their motivation and productivity.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how companies should think about business strategy. Agree “In light of supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, I expect companies to update their supply chains and sourcing strategies, putting more emphasis on multisourcing and regional diversification.”