1.5 million EU Funding: Cluster Member Matthias Heinz receives ERC Starting Grant


Matthias Heinz, professor at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne and spokesperson of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy, receives the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for his project “Managing People – How Employees’ Social Preferences Shape the Returns to Management Practices”. With the Starting Grant, the European Research Council (ERC) supports excellent young scientists with up to 1.5 million euros for a period of five years.

The aim of the “Managing People” project is to analyze how employees’ social preferences shape the returns of considered management practices.

Social preferences – such as fairness concerns – describe how humans care not only about their own material payoff, but also about the well-being of others. Over the past decades, researchers in social sciences, as well as psychology and economics, have intensively studied how social preferences develop and how they play out in everyday life. Heinz’s project combines literature and methods from business administration and economics and analyses the causal effects of management practices in actual companies and to what extent their returns depend on employees’ social preferences.

At a bakery chain, grocery stores and a kitchen manufacturer, Heinz is conducting a practical investigation of how management practices shape employee performance in the context of social preferences. The project’s findings will provide information, for example, on how effective it is to control employees or to reward them for good performance.

For the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute, the funding is a great success, being the fifth ERC Grant within one and a half years. “The ERC Starting Grant enables me to further expand the interdisciplinary research approach of our Cluster of Excellence,” says Heinz.

Matthias Heinz is a Professor for Strategy at the University of Cologne. He received his doctorate in business administration from Goethe University in Frankfurt in 2014. He has already received several awards for his teaching and research, including the University of Cologne’s Quality of Teaching Award 2019, the Joachim Herz Prize for Economics 2016 and the Roman Herzog Research Prize 2015.


Prof. Dr. Matthias Heinz

ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy

M heinz@wiso.uni-koeln.de