Crises – come to stay ?

Letter from the Editors

Bernd Winters, Janine Heck

Crises have kept the world in turmoil since the beginning of 2020. Currently, there is no end in sight and the chemical industry is in crisis mode. Very high energy and raw-material costs slowed down global industrial production or significantly reduced it. In some cases, the high energy costs even made production unprofitable. The topic of supply security has moved to the forefront in the past months, especially in Germany which was highly dependent on Russian energy imports. But how can we best reach it? Delaying the coal phase-out, extending the operating times of nuclear power plants, importing LNG, accelerating the expansion of renewable energies – opinions differ widely. Likewise, there is the question of how the interplay between sustainability and crisis will develop – two key topics that are also reflected in the articles in this issue, albeit separately from each other.

The research paper “Improvising in a crisis: an empirical study of NPD teams in the field of chemistry and chemical engineering“ deals with organizational crises which have the potential to threaten a company ́s survival. While the focus in current crises is usually on communication with external stakeholders, Yassir M. Samra ́s, Gary S. Lynn ́s, and Richard R. Reilly ́s research takes a different perspective. They investigate the role of new product development (NPD) teams in delivering a firm from an organizational crisis. The authors deal with the question of whether a perceived crisis by the NPD teams fosters successful new product development. The results, based on data from 55 firms in the chemical industry, indicate that a perceived crisis by the NPD team is positively correlated with project outcomes of speed and success, bringing about improvisation, but does not moderate the relationship between improvisation and NPD project outcomes.

The commentary “How chemicals can serve people sustainably without polluting the planet: through common objectives, integration, and more effective cooperation” written by Hans-Christian Stolzenberg, Christopher Blum and Anja Klauk points out the problem of global chemical pollution that is currently not yet sufficiently addressed. A brief overview of previous efforts to advance chemical management is given and the great importance of dialogue and collaborative efforts among all stakeholders and affected industries is emphasized.

Timo Flessner ́s and Daniel Götz ́s commentary “Current trends and challenges in the pharmaceutical industry – we are here to make a difference” gives an insight into current developments in the pharmaceutical industry. At first, the authors elaborate on megatrends and challenges e.g., the growing and aging population, increase of “prosperity” diseases or supply chain disruptions as the impact of the pandemic. Afterwards, they explain which opportunities arise and what needs to be taken into account.

Nora S. Griefahn ́s commentary “Cradle to Cradle: Why we need to rethink the way we produce” presents an impulse to rethink how products are designed. “Cradle to cradle” is based on the concept of circular economy and places particular emphasis on the selection of suitable materials as all resources circulate either in a biological or technical cycle. Additionally, a short outlook on how “Cradle to Cradle” could be implemented in the chemical industry is given.

Please enjoy reading the third issue of the nineteenth volume of the Journal of Business Chemistry. We are grateful for the support of all authors and reviewers for this new issue. If you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us at For more updates and insights on management issues in the chemical industry, follow us on LinkedIn:


Janine Heck (Executive Editor)

Bernd Winters (Executive Editor)


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