Communities in the Federal Armed Forces: ComBw

Eric v. Hippel and others have shown that in many cases the user or users of a product represent the source for the following innovative ideas and radical innovations by companies. In addition, it is not only recognized since the contributions of Etienne Wenger that this is often the result of an intensive exchange of experience and the creative development of existing expertise in communities. The reason for this is the desire of the members of such communities to help each other and develop or improve existing solutions. They use a set of shared norms and values, which regulate the interactions within the community in parts and creates a deep sense of connection on the part of members.

In the project “ComBw – Communities in the Federal Armed Forces” we investigate the conditions for the existence of communities in the armed forces on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Defence. We also want to show how the potential of communities can be used for the Federal Armed Forces through the formulation of recommended actions. We are guided by the belief that the requirements for the formation of communities in the Federal Armed Forces are unique. The common values, the multilateral trust in superiors, subordinates, and in the entire institution and the perceived camaraderie among soldiers and employees of the Armed Forces form the breeding ground for the emergence of communities. These communities often connect various functionaries of the Federal Armed Forces, who exchange knowledge about their particular functional areas among themselves and partly try to improve individual items of equipment or training content.

In order to acquire input about existing communities, an inventory is initially performed. Subsequently, this information is studied using methods of qualitative and quantitative social research regarding the cause-effect relationships of the internal aspects of the community (role models, organization, social capital, etc.) and external factors (use of resources, interfaces to the “System Bundeswehr”, IT infrastructure etc.) with the purpose of deriving recommendations for the sponsor of the study.

More information can be found in our flyer (only available in German):

Flyer ComBw German


Funding authority:




andresenDipl. -Volksw. Florian Andresen






Dipl.-Volksw. André Kreutzmann

(Former Employee)





Benjamin Schulte, M.Sc.


Letzte Änderung: 15. April 2018