Global Networks

Research Cluster

Competition and cooperation in transnational networks are central drivers of global governance. Global networks initiate innovation processes in business, politics and law, which increasingly influence the creation, implementation and development of international rules, norms and standards. 

With the growing influence of global networks, questions of their regulation, legitimacy and integration into democratic processes arise. 

The Research Cluster "Global Networks" investigates the functioning, influence and normative configuration of such networks based on five guiding questions:


Image: Andy Lamb (CC BY 2.0)

  • How do the working methods and influence of different types of transnational networks (epistemic networks, professional networks, advocacy networks, etc.) vary in global politics?

  • Under which conditions can transnational networks influence policy change in their interaction with intergovernmental organisations?

  • How exclusive/inclusive are transnational networks?

  • What role do transnational networks play in a globalised economy as drivers of innovation?

  • How do transnational networks create and develop formal and informal legal instruments?

The research cluster pursues an interdisciplinary approach combining economics, (organisational) sociology and political science (International Relations). 

Currently, four chairs of Zeppelin University are involved in the research cluster: The Chair of Global Governance, the Chair of Institutional Economics, the Chair of International Security Policy and the Chair of Public Administration & Public Policy. The research cluster aims to bundle expertise on transnational networks in global cooperation in the region.


April, 11 2024 | InnoLok Workshop

Innovations in crisis management: The moderating effect of administrative action on social cohesion after the Corona pandemic

The workshop deals with crisis management during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Together with experts from science and practice, opportunities and challenges for society and administrations will be highlighted and lessons learnt for future crises will be discussed.

The workshop is organised as part of the "InnoLoK" research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The InnoLoK project is a joint project between Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, the Fraunhofer ISI in Karlsruhe and Kehl University of Applied Sciences.

October, 13-15 2023 | ZU-SCRIPTS Retreat

This retreat for doctoral researchers of Zeppelin University and the BGTS and the encompassed workshop on “Life in Academia” is jointly organized by the Research Cluster “Global Networks” and the Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies.
The aim of the retreat and the workshop is to provide a platform for doctoral researchers to exchange on life as aspiring academics and engage in discussions with peers and senior scholars on topics related to the academic landscape.
All workshops will consist of an impulse by a senior scholar followed by a Q&A session and a group discussion.

Research Areas

How exclusive/inclusive are transnational networks?

Transnational networks tackling global policy challenges can either be very inclusive, in which case they are open to a large range of actors being affected by the respective challenge or problem. But then transnational networks can also be exclusive, only taking into account a small number of powerful actors and their preferences. At the Chair of Global Governance we are interested in knowing how inclusive or exclusive transnational networks are, which actors and ideas/preferences are represented therein and which are absent. In order to tackle this question, we investigate transnational networks in different policy fields and regarding different policy challenges. The inclusive or exclusive character of transnational networks does not only affect the way in which problems are treated, but also the democratic legitimacy of Global Governance.


Governance in Global Value Chains

The bulk of international trade takes place in global value chains, which are networked by the close inter- and intra-firm transactions of different actors. On the one hand, formal governance mechanisms often reach their limits if they cannot be fully enforced in different legal frameworks. On the other hand, formal governance is often not optimal in terms of transaction costs. The Chair of Institutional Economics investigates how transnational networks influence standard setting, learning processes and implementation in global value chains. Particularly in the case of intersectoral cooperation, which is often indispensable in global value chains, different decision-making logics of different actors must be taken into account. A relational approach is central here. The relationship between business, politics and society needs to be rethought and appropriate management systems applied.

In the context of this project, Prof. Joseph Wieland is the co-leader of the working group "Sustainability in Global Value Chains" in the Think20 process, which accompanies international cooperation in the G20 format at think tank level.

Further Information

Recent Publications


Wieland, Josef Prof Dr
Chair of Instituational Economics

Belser, Lukas

Research Fellow | Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin

Geraldo Schwengber, Jessica Dr rer pol

Research Fellow | Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin

Niederführ, Matthias Dr

Research Fellow | Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin

Emotional Communities

This research project investigates a particular type of emotional community in world politics: a security community. It is argued that emotion norms – the expression of appropriate emotions in a given situation – stabilize a security community during inter-allied conflict. Building on Social Identity Theory and Intergroup Emotion Theory, it is argued here that political leaders use emotional language and expressions to communicate their intentions vis-à-vis insiders and outsiders. In this sense, state representatives employ a vocabulary of emotional discourse accompanied by symbolic interaction to frame regional peace and to stabilize this peace system during times of internal conflict.


Koschut, Simon | Prof Dr

Chair of International Security Policy

Harbke, Jonas

Research Fellow

Mehlmann, Julia

Research Fellow

Wegener, Max

Research Fellow

The Evolution of UN Security Council Debates

The research project created a dataset of 80,000 speeches from UN Security Council meetings taking place between 1995-2020. The team extracted the speech data from 6,000 meeting transcripts. The project further combines natural language processing and network analysis to analyze the data and study the role of UN-bureaucracy in the security council.


Baumann, Daniel

Research Fellow

Hoffmann, Pauline

Research Fellow

Korb, Sebastian

Research Fellow

Research Cooperations

Cooperation with the Excellence Cluster "Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)"

The research cluster is intensifying its academic collaboration in the area of promoting young academics through a cooperation agreement with the Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)" at Freie Universität Berlin. The object of the cooperation is the mutual exchange of doctoral students between the Cluster of Excellence and the research cluster.

To kick off event, the first doctoral student retreat and associated workshop on the topic of "Life in Academia", took place at Zeppelin University. The retreat and the workshops offered doctoral students from Zeppelin University and the Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies a platform to exchange ideas about life as prospective academics and to discuss topics from the academic landscape with like-minded and experienced researchers.

ZU-SCRIPTS Retreat | Workshop on "Publication Strategies" with Dr Thomas Malang, University of Konstanz


Professorial Members

Debre, Maria Prof Dr | Chair of International Relations

Eckhard, Steffen | Prof Dr

Steffen Eckhard is Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy at Zeppelin University . He is also affiliated with the Center of Excellence “The Politics of Inequality” at the University of Konstanz and a Fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin.

In his research and teaching, he focuses on the management of public organizations and how they make an impact on politics and society – within the nation state but also internationally. His research projects cover a variety of topics, including public service encounters at the street-level, hybrid organizations at the boundary of the public and non-profit sector, and international public administrations in global policy-making. In support of his research, Steffen has received external funding by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Germany Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Canadian Research Foundation (SSHRC), among others.

Steffen Eckhard studied political and administrative science in Konstanz, Grenoble and Stockholm. Between 2011 and 2014, he worked as a research associate at the Berlin-based think tank Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) for clients such as the German Foreign Office, United Nations and the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF). In 2013, he received a PhD from the University of Konstanz. Between 2014 and 2018, Steffen was scientific coordinator of the research unit International Public Administration at the Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science (GSI) at the University of Munich (LMU), where he also completed his Habilitation in 2020. Between 2018 and 2022, Steffen was Junior Professor of Public Administration and Organization Theory at the University of Konstanz .

Koschut, Simon | Prof Dr | Speaker of the Research Cluster

Koschut, Simon
Koschut, Simon Prof Dr
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1421
Room:Semi 0.07L

Simon Koschut is Professor of International Security Policy. He is also a member of the Heisenberg Programme of the German Research Foundation and Principal Investigator in the interdisciplinary collaborative research project "Social Cohesion and Civil Society: Interaction Dynamics in Times of Disruption", funded by the Berlin University Alliance. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of international relations, security policy and peace and conflict studies, in particular regional security governance, norms and emotions in global politics. Since 2021, he has been spokesperson for the International Relations Section of the German Political Science Association. Previously, he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University and San Francisco State University. In 2018, he received the Ernst Otto Czempiel Prize of the Leibniz Institute Hessian Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research for the best postdoctoral monograph in peace and conflict research for his habilitation thesis.

Wieland, Josef | Prof Dr

Wieland, Josef
Wieland, Josef Prof Dr
Vice President Teaching and Learning |
Director Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ
Phone:+49 7541 6009-2261
Room:FAB 3 | 1.55

Josef Wieland is holder of the Endowed Chair of Institutional Economics – Organisational Governance, Integrity Management & Transcultural Leadership. In his research, teaching and consulting, Prof Wieland focuses on his governance economical approach, supported by his team of research assistants and fellows.

Prof Wieland was the founder and chairman of the Center for Business Ethics (ZfW) as well as the Forum Compliance & Integrity (FCI). Since 2012, Josef Wieland has been Chairman of the German Business Ethics Network (DNWE) as well as a member of the CSR Forum of the Federal Ministry for Labor and Social Services. The CSR Consensus has been sucessfully set up on June 25, 2018. In the context of the German G20 presidency 2016/2017, Prof Wieland has been part of the Think20 process, co-leading the Working Group „Sustainability in Global Value Chains“.

Further Members

Baumann, Daniel | Research Fellow

Belser, Lukas | Research Fellow

Frank, Marieluna | Research Fellow and Coordinator of the Research Cluster

Harbke, Jonas | Research Fellow

Hoffmann, Pauline | Research Fellow

Korb, Sebastian | Research Fellow

Mehlmann, Julia | Research Fellow

Niedenführ, Matthias Dr | Research Fellow

Wegener, Max | Research Fellow

Former Members

Schneiker, Andrea Prof Dr | Chair of Global Governance

Zimmermann, Lisbeth Prof Dr | Chair of International Relations

Time to decide

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