Imke Schmidt, Universität Essen

    About Imke

    Currently, Imke works as a Junior Fellow and PhD student on the project “Consumer Responsibility” at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, Centre for Responsibility Research, in Essen. 
    Before, she studied International Cultural and Business Studies (Diploma) in Passau. During this time, she completed several internships   with Siemens Financial Services in Madrid and London in marketing and credit department.   After her studies, Imke spent half a year in Argentina where she worked as a volunteer with a Fair Trade project.
    Imke’s main research areas are consumer and corporate responsibility and cross-cultural business communication.



    PhD project


    Integration of customers into Sustainable Supply Chain Management (working title)



    Social and ecological damages such as child work or global warming as a result of today’s mass markets have provoked a demand for significant changes of market structure. According to critics of the conventional “cradle-to-point-of-sale” strategy that has dominated business thinking so far a shift towards a “cradle-to-grave” strategy is necessary. “Cradle-to-grave” means a supply chain management that considers the whole lifecycle of a product from the procurement of resources to the removal at the end of the use phase. It also means that consumers and producers share responsibility which has led to the role of the customer to be rethought. Having been considered a passive and innocent part of the buying masses for many decades, we now seem to witness the emergence of the active and well informed consumer whose purchasing power equals a political vote.

    As a consequence, management has to face crucial challenges. The conventional supply chain has to be transformed into a sustainable one whereas the end-consumer has to get the information and empowerment that enable but also commit him to make responsible choices. Taken together, the challenge is to integrate the customer into a sustainable supply chain management.

    How do companies manage this process if they do at all? What does this mean to their organizational strategy in the long run? 


    The study assumes that a trustful, fair and transparent stakeholder dialogue is core element of this management task and may lead to essential changes of producer-customer interaction. 





    Prof. Dr. Ludger Heidbrink


    Publikations and conferences



    Schmidt, Imke: Auslands-Check für Mitarbeiter. Zur Diagnostik interkultureller Kompetenz. Passau 2008. 


    Grenzen der Konsumentenverantwortung. Wie moralisch ist der Verbraucher? Ein Expertengespräch des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen, Essen 12.2008.



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