Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Müller

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Firms
Phone +49 (0) 7131 645636-860

Research Interests

Entrepreneurship and innovation management, especially: organization of research in new ventures, digital innovation, development of new venture teams, innovation in China, management of intellectual property

Curriculum Vitae/Professional Experience

  • Since 09/2015: German Graduate School of Management and Law, Heilbronn, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Firms
    Chair of the Institute of Entrepreneurship at GGS
    Head of the specialization innovation and technology management within the part-time MSc in Management
  • Since 01/2015: Adjunct Professor, Centre for Transformative Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
  • Since 01/2015: Research Associate, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim
  • 09/2010-08/2015: Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt/Main, Professor of Innovation Management
  • 01/2004-08/2010: Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, Senior Researcher at the department of industrial economics and international management


  • 09/2000-11/2004: PhD student, London School of Economics and Political Science, London
  • 09/1999-06/2000: Master in Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, London
  • 10/1993-02/1999: Diplom in Economics, University of Mannheim and University of California, Berkeley


Publications in refereed journals

  • Boeing, P., & Mueller, E. (Forthcoming). Measuring China's patent quality: Development and validation of ISR indices. China Economic Review, 57.
  • Mueller, E., Syme, L., & Haeussler, C. (Forthcoming). Absorbing partner knowledge in R&D collaborations – The influence of founders on potential and realized absorptive capacity. R&D Management. (VHB-JOURQUAL 3 RATING: B).
  • Häussler, C., M. Hennicke, und E. Müller (2019), Founder-inventors and their Investors: Implications for Firm Survival and Growth, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 13: 288-325. (VHB-JOURQUAL 3 Rating: A).
  • Boeing, P., & Mueller, E. (2016). Measuring Patent Quality in Cross-country Comparison. Economics Letters, DOI 10.1016/j.econlet.2016.10.039. (VHB-JOURQUAL 3 Rating: B).
  • Boeing, P., Mueller, E. (2016). China’s R&D Explosion – Analyzing Productivity Effects Across Ownership Types and Over Time. Research Policy45(1), 159-176.
  • Haeussler, C., Harhoff, D., Mueller, E. (2014). How Patenting Informs VC Investors  – the Case of Biotechnology. Research Policy, 43(8), 1286-1298.
  • Harhoff, D., Mueller, E., Van Reenen, J. (2014). What are the Channels for Technology Sourcing? – Panel Data Evidence from German Companies. Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 23(1), 204-224.
  • Mueller, E. (2014). Entrepreneurs from Low-Skilled Immigrant Groups in Knowledge-intensive Industries – Company Characteristics, Survival and Innovative Performance. Small Business Economics, 42(4), 871-889.
  • Mueller, E., Reize, F. (2013). Loan Availability and Investment – Can Innovative Companies Better Cope with Loan Denials?. Applied Economics, 45(36), 5001-5011.
  • Mueller, E., Cockburn, I., MacGarvie, M. (2013). Access to Intellectual Property for Innovation: Evidence on Problems and Coping Strategies from German Firms. Research Policy, 42(2), 529-541.
  • Mueller, E. (2011). Returns to Private Equity – Idiosyncratic Risk Does Matter!. Review of Finance, 15(3), 545-574.
  • Cockburn, I., MacGarvie, M., Mueller, E. (2010). Patent Thickets, Licensing, and Innovative Performance. Industrial and Corporate Change, 19(3), 899-925.
  • Mueller, E., Zimmermann, V. (2009). The Importance of Equity Finance for R&D Activity – Are There Differences Between Young and Old Companies?. Small Business Economics, 33(3), 303-318.
  • Blind, K., Cremers, K., Mueller, E. (2009). The Influence of Strategic Patenting on Companies’ Patent Portfolios. Research Policy, 38(2), 428-436.
  • Mueller, E. (2008). Benefits of Control, Capital Structure and Company Growth. Applied Economics, 40(21), 2721-2734.
  • Mueller, E. (2008). How Does Owners’ Exposure to Idiosyncratic Risk Influence the Capital Structure of Private Companies?. Journal of Empirical Finance, 15(2), 185-198.
  • Mueller, E., Spitz-Oener, A. (2006) Managerial Ownership and Company Performance in German Small and Medium-Sized Private Enterprises. German Economic Review, 7(2), 233-247.

Current research projects

Structure of the entrepreneurial team and innovation performance of new ventures

Our knowledge about the implications of founder involvement in research and development (R&D) for firms’ innovativeness and performance is still limited. My prior research shows that founders have an idiosyncratic effect on the R&D activities of their firms. This project sheds light on the mechanisms of founders’ idiosyncratic influence by investigating how the individual situation of founders – founders’ ownership share, their managerial responsibility, and their technological and entrepreneurial expertise – influences innovation activities. Furthermore, the project also analyzes how the interactions between founder-specific and structural aspects of the entrepreneurial team – such as the distribution of ownership and managerial responsibility, as well as changes in the composition of the entrepreneurial team – impact the ability to innovate. This project is funded by the German Research Foundation DFG). (Project description DFG [ ])

Digital innovation in new ventures

Digital technology is a general purpose technology that holds great promise for firms. Entrepreneurs have a special ability to discover economic opportunities and to run their firms in a way that allows seizing these opportunities. Capturing value from digital innovation is a big opportunity for new ventures. This project considers differences between digital and non-digital innovations as well as performance implications of digital innovations for new ventures. In addition, the project analyzes how the team constellation of the top management team influences the ability to capture digital opportunities. The analysis takes technological experience of founders as well as differences in firm characteristics into account. The project improves our understanding of which top management team constellations in new ventures support opportunity recognition.

Changes in the composition of the entrepreneurial teams of new ventures

At the time of starting a new venture, the founding team needs to decide the composition of the team and the distribution of ownership. As the venture matures it is often necessary to change the composition of the founding team to access additional resources or to react to changes in the environment. The project investigates how the initial decision on the ownership distribution influences entry into and exit from the entrepreneurial team. Performance consequences of the initial ownership distribution are considered as well. Founding teams can decide between two general types of ownership distribution: With an unequal distribution teams create unequal roles with more and less powerful team members; with an equal distribution teams highlight that the new venture is a joint undertaking. Initial results show that teams with an unequal distribution are more open to team entry and that entry of additional team members partially explains the better performance of new ventures with unequal ownership distribution. Thus, the project gives guidance to founding teams about consequences of their decisions on ownership distribution and improves our understanding of how the composition of entrepreneurial teams of new ventures changes over time.

Product and factor market competition – Challenges for firms and support for innovation

Competition takes place in product as well as in factor markets. Whereas competition in the product market poses challenges to firms, competition in the factor market can support firms because it spurs the provision of novel input factors possibly at reduced prices. Novel input factors may support innovation activities of firms as the input factors can be used for new products and services. The project uses the increased exposure of German firms to Chinese competition as setting. Initial results show that German firms are trying to escape increased Chinese competition in the product market by strengthening their investment in research and development. As a consequence, they achieve a higher proportion of sales with new products. In addition, Chinese competition in the factor market is related to an increase in sales due to quality-enhancing process innovations. Thus, increased competition is a double-edged sword that challenges firms in the product market but benefits them in the factor market.

Membership in Executive Committees


Scientific Journals

  • Strategic Management Journal
  • Journal of Business Venturing
  • Research Policy
  • Journal of Economics & Management Strategy
  • Journal of Banking and Finance
  • BuR - Business Research
  • Economics Letters
  • Economics of Innovation and New Technology
  • European Financial Management
  • European Management Review
  • Industry and Innovation
  • Journal of Business Research
  • Journal of Empirical Finance
  • Journal of Small Business Management
  • Small Business Economics

Funding Institutions

  • European Science Foundation
  • Research Foundation Flanders

Awards and Honors

  • Nomination for the Best Paper Award, 6th Annual Conference for the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (AIE), Oxford, UK, 2013
  • Nomination for the Best Conference Paper Award, Annual Meeting of the German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB), Kaiserslautern, 2011
  • Support program for female researchers, Robert Bosch Foundation (“Fast Track”), 2009-2011
  • Stipend of the London School of Economics and the Financial Markets Group for PhD studies, 2001-2003
  • Stipend of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to study at the University of California, Berkeley, 1996-1997
  • Young Economist Award of the European Association for Research in Industrial Economics (EARIE), 2005