Student Theses and Projects: Emergent Leadership in Knowledge Work


Thesis: (BA/MA); Reference-number:2017-183

Advisor(s): Leonard Przybilla, Dr. Manuel Wiesche


With the increasing use of technology–from the steam engine to intelligent data processing–work has shifted more and more from physical activities to administrative, creative, and development activities. Such knowledge work is oftentimes conducted in teams, which are known to foster creativity and productivity yet also raise challenges. Modern teams are meant to jointly self-organize their work in a democratic manner by e.g. deciding on task assignments and planning deadlines. This setting gives rise to members automatically emerging as leaders and decision makers as part of the teamwork. Emergent leadership and its effects are hardly researched in knowledge work such as engineering or agile development teams.

The first aim of the bachelor’s or master’s thesis is to survey the state of research on emergent leadership in general and in knowledge work. This provides the basis to deduct a theoretical model of emergent leadership and its effects in knowledge work. The resulting framework is then to be tested and analyzed empirically.

Possible questions within this field of research may include:

  • What is the state of knowledge on emergent leadership
  • What are work characteristics affecting emergent leadership
  • How is knowledge work affected by emergent leadership?


  • Literature research
  • Development of a theoretical model
  • Empirical test of model


This topic is meant to be investigated as a bachelor’s or master’s thesis. The project report can be written in either English or German. Candidates should have interest and/or knowledge in work teams, literature research, and analytical thinking. This study suits candidates studying Informatics, Information Systems, or Management Technology.

Further Information

Please send your application including our application form, Transcript of Records from TUMonline, and cv to Please note that we can only consider applications with complete documents.