Some 1,600 academic staff members are currently doing research at WU, including teaching and research associates, post-doctoral researchers, assistant and associate professors, and full professors. Their combined academic output amounts to over 1,100 academic publications per year, from book chapters to journal articles. See our FIDES research database for an overview of all WU researchers and their publications.
In March 2016, WU introduced the Researcher of the Month series. Below you can find an overview of our recent Researchers of the Month:
How the Next Generation Internet will help you stay in control of your data
Researcher of the Month
Data misuse and misinformation are key problems associated with the use of the internet today. As part of a large-scale international initiative, WU researcher Sabrina Kirrane is working to help fix these issues. Her vision: a new, decentralized internet that is more transparent and makes it easier for users to keep control of their data, providing more security and better online services.
Social media: Critical global discussions or corporate censorship?
In our digital age, the web seems to provide a boundless forum for exchanging ideas on a global scale. However, not all of them are equally well suited as arenas of critical discourse. Content policies, which determine what may be posted, play a crucial role in this context.
The media reports almost daily on tax scandals involving multinational corporations. A current study by WU Professor Eva Eberhartinger shows that not even government-owned companies are always model taxpayers. The study’s results show that these companies also need incentives to prevent tax avoidance.
Arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, or asthma – chronic illnesses are among the most widespread and most economically significant health problems wealthy countries face. Many of the medications used for treating chronic illnesses are intended as long-term treatments and do not show immediate effects. For this reason, many patients have a tendency to let their illness go untreated – often with severe consequences. In a recent study, Marcel Bilger, health economist at WU, shows that small financial incentives can provide an inexpensive but nonetheless effective way of improving patients’ long-term health.
Data science: New models for faster and more accurate forecasts
Whether during a global pandemic, in retail, or in financial markets: In most cases, the more data you have to work with, the better. Processing large amounts of data can be challenging, however, because as data increases in complexity and volume, it becomes more and more complicated and time-consuming to process. Researcher Gregor Kastner is currently working on a project funded by the FWF Austrian Science Fund with the goal of allowing large amounts of data to be analyzed faster and more easily.
Making mistakes at work, like failing to complete an assigned task to supervisors’ satisfaction, can create conflict. In a recent study, Nadine Thielemann and her colleagues have investigated cultural differences in dealing with internal conflicts and expressing criticism in the workplace in different countries/cultures.
In the fall of 2019, the public debate about whether large cruise liners should be banned from Venice boiled up again, following some problematic incidents. Countermeasures were considered, but despite massive criticism from politicians, NGOs, and citizens, there are still cruise ships in the Venetian Lagoon today.
After much back and forth, Brexit is now finally done. Many expats living in the UK are facing great uncertainty because it is still unclear what Brexit will mean for them. Alexander Mohr has investigated how expats working for various organizations are dealing with this uncertainty and what makes them want to return to their home countries or stay in the UK.
A study conducted by Alyssa Schneebaum has shown that global firms hire a greater share of women for their full-time, permanent positions than domestic non-exporting companies. The gender of a firm’s top manager, however, remains unaffected by the gender norms in commercial partner countries.
Kurt Hornik investigates how several different ratings can be combined to obtain a single result – a consensus rating. This research resulted in the development of a model that has been used as a basis for one of the central monetary policy mechanisms of the Eurosystem.
How wording used by the ECB affects financial markets
Eight times a year, the European Central Bank sets key interest rates, which are announced in a press release and subsequent press conference. A study by WU Professor Christian Wagner shows that not only the key rate itself but also the way the ECB communicates it has an impact on financial markets.
The global financial crisis in the 1920s and 1930s was the most far-reaching economic event of the 20th century. Great Britain played a central role in the trade networks of the time and in their collapse. In a recent study, Markus Lampe examined the consequences of a protectionist trade policy favoring the British Empire.
Agreements like CETA or TTIP are intended to regulate some classic aspects of international trade. In addition, these agreements also include trade rules for sensitive services and regulations regarding investments, intellectual property protection, and food and drug safety. Erich Vranes has investigated the effects and mechanisms of CETA in his latest research.
WU Professor Isabella Grabner from the Institute for Strategy and Managerial Accounting is investigating the mechanisms of employee performance assessments and how supervisors can be motivated to review fairly and accurately. The answer: Through the prospect of career advancement.
Increased protection for shareholders when companies relocate
Freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services are important principles of the European Union. Companies have the option of relocating their businesses’ registered office after a majority vote of the shareholders. However, discrepancies in national corporate law may result in disadvantages for minority shareholders and others affected by the changes. Martin Winner examines how to create corporate legislation that provides adequate protection to shareholders affected by this type of change.
Women continue to be under-represented in upper-level management. IThe reasons for this are a topic of heated debate among researchers – as are possible ways to combat the problem and bring more women into top management and supervisory board positions. “We need clear goals and increased public visibility of success in reaching these goals,” says WU researcher Heike Mensi-Klarbach.
Natural disasters often result in massive humanitarian crises, requiring immediate relief from aid agencies. Private donors play a very important role, and respond especially well to fundraising campaigns for specific emergencies. Incident-specific, earmarked donations are not always the best way to help, however, according to studies conducted by Tina Wakolbinger.
How the tone from the top influences internal auditors
In a recent project, Anne d’Arcy investigated how internal auditors’ judgements change when they have to report to both the management and the supervisory board and when they are told to aim for different goals.
We develop our sense of ownership very early in our lives, when we are still toddlers. Bernadette Kamleitner investigates how and why we develop a sense of ownership, and draws interesting conclusions for better product design, better data security, and stronger involvement in environmental protection measures.
Speeding, rushing through intersections when the traffic lights change to yellow – all of these behaviors harbor risks that are of special interest to insurance companies. Alexander Mürmann has investigated the effects of people’s driving behavior on their risk of having an accident and on their choice of insurance policies.
Commuters willing to pay more for shorter travel times when driving
On average, Austrians spend over an hour a day commuting. In her current research, WU transport economist Stefanie Peer investigates how commuters make mobility-related decisions, especially with regard to choice of transport mode and arrival time.
In 2017 alone, the EU spent around € 53.5 billion on funding for European regions. These funds are intended to strengthen the regions’ economies and create jobs. A current study conducted by Harald Oberhofer has shown that EU funding has an influence on inhabitants’ voting behavior.
“Sharing economy” refers to the increasing trend towards “sharing rather than owning”. A study by Markus Höllerer demonstrates that city administrations worldwide are confronted with various opportunities and challenges, and that cities show considerable variation both in their interpretations of the sharing economy and in corresponding governance responses.
Not all customers are equally valuable to an organization. In his research, Thomas Reutterer is looking at how we can measure and predict the imaginary long-term value of customers, a concept called customer lifetime value. Professor Reutterer’s work shows that the regularity of customer interaction is a crucial factor.
Facebook, Google, and Amazon pay on average less than 10% corporate tax in the EU, in spite of enormous revenues.The EU wants to change this, and has put the taxation of digital companies on the politcal agenda. Alexander Rust is critical of these plans, however, and warns of far-reaching consequences.
In freight logistics, delayed and diverted flights can result in massive additional costs and organizational hassles for transport companies. The environment pays a price, as well. Claudio Di Ciccio has developed an early alert system to help inform logistics providers ahead of time about changes in flight plans.
As businesses in German-speaking countries become increasingly international, the topic of English as a lingua franca is also attracting ever more attention. Changing the corporate language is more complex, than it might seem. Miya Komori-Glatz studies English as a lingua franca in multicultural teamwork and the implications of introducing a foreign language in the workplace.
Sustainability is regarded as a key to the future of our planet, but the concept often tends to be oversimplified. Sigrid Stagl is working on methods that make it possible to measure the true costs of services, products, and economic policy decisions.
In 2006, new legislation entered into force in Austria that made it possible to hold corporations liable for criminal acts. Before that, criminal liability had been limited to natural persons only. In his research, Robert Kert looks at how corporations can actually be punished and which consequences they face if sentenced.
Taken together, the annual reports published by 100 large enterprises fill a total of 25,000 pages every year. Stéphanie Mittelbach-Hörmanseder investigates the reasons why there is so much variance in how different firms report their CSR activities.
Hardly anyone books a hotel without first scrolling through all the feedback posted by previous guests. In his research Ben Greiner investigates the factors that cause distortions in online feedback systems.
In 2016 alone, the three largest Spanish soccer clubs had a turnover of more than € 1.5 billion. Clubs generate substantial amounts of their revenue outside their home countries. Jonas Puck has been investigating how soccer clubs can best develop and implement successful internationalization strategies.
Kathrin Figl from WU’s Institute for Information Systems and New Media has investigated the potential of visual representations of business processes and looked at how process models need to be designed to be easily understood.
Why CO2 emissions aren’t sinking, in spite of governments’ best efforts
Global CO2 emissions are rising, although governments around the world are attempting to slow them. Klaus Gugler’s research focuses on current energy policies and their effects on competition. He attributes the problems mainly to misguided subsidization policies and too-low prices for CO2 certificates.
Among law scholars, the opinion has prevailed for many years that it was acceptable to fire employees for going on strike. In her research, Elisabeth Brameshuber shows clearly that while this in not, in fact, the case, not every type of strike is permissible.
In a large-scale research project at WU, Stefan Giljum is investigating the amount of natural resources required for the production and consumption of goods and services and the effects of globalization on our use of raw materials.
A recent study by WU Professor Michael Müller-Camen shows that there are considerable differences in how companies around the world define their priorities in sustainable HR management. These international differences are particularly striking when it comes to measures for supporting women.
It is rare, but not unheard of for municipalities or even provinces of federal republics like Austria to file for bankruptcy. Only very recently, for example, the Austrian province of Carinthia came to the brink of bankruptcy. At WU, Georg Kodek investigates the potential consequences of such bankruptcies from a legal perspective.
Improving energy storage efficiency for cheaper renewable energy
Due to the increased use of renewable energy sources, the generation of electricity is becoming increasingly dependent on weather conditions. Energy storage plants can benefit from this development by storing power when it’s plentiful and selling it when supply is limited and the price goes up. Uncertain weather conditions create a dilemma for storage plants, as they are in danger of missing just the right moment. Nils Löhndorf has spent years developing a decision-making model to help solve this problem.
Many urban planners are pinning high hopes on the freight bicycle as one of the key means of urban transportation in the future. Up to now, however, it has been unclear which logistics solutions are best suited to individual cities and which role freight bicycles play in these approaches. Together with her colleagues, Vera Hemmelmayr has developed an algorithm designed to tackle these challenges.
The problems with debt-based financing – personnel costs as a key factor
Many countries, Austria included, offer tax breaks that indirectly subsidize corporate borrowing, because interests paid to creditors count as deductibles and reduce a company’s tax burden. A recent study by Josef Zechner shows how the government’s indirect subsidization of corporate debt leads to higher risks for employees.
How the USA has racked up the world’s largest foreign debt
Starting from the late 1980s, the USA has moved from being a net creditor to having the world’s highest foreign debt. A study conducted by Katrin Rabitsch poses the question of whether this makes the US inherently dangerous. Her results show that part of the USA’s foreign debt can be explained by structural differences.
What kind of protection does the new EU Data Protection Regulation provide?
In 2016, the European Union adopted the new General Data Protection Regulation, designed to provide the European and national judiciaries with a completely new basis for data protection and privacy law. At WU, Harald Eberhard, professor of public law investigates various issues raised by data protection law. His current work focuses on the effects of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation on Austrian data protection law. Read more