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Thesis Supervision

Bachelor and Master Theses


Students have the opportunity to suggest thesis topics they are particularly interested in. However, proposed topics must be research-oriented rather than consulting- or practice-focused and must match one or several of the broadly defined core research areas.  These are currently:

Responsible Global Business

  • System level impacts of responsible global business

  • Multinational enterprises (MNEs) as a force for good

  • Global-local tensions in CSR and sustainability

  • CSR engagement in emerging markets

Macro-Level Drivers of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

  • Grand societal challenges and sustainable innovation

  • Influence of institutional and cultural context on CSR engagement

  • Geopolitics and MNE activity

  • Global terrorism: Implications for international business

Sustainable HRM and Responsible Leadership

  • Sustainable human resource management

  • Purpose-driven leadership

  • Enhancing employee resilience and wellbeing

  • New forms of work organization

Ethical Issues and ESG Risks Facing MNEs

  • International business and human rights

  • Bribery and corruption

  • Diversity, equity & inclusion

  • New forms of global governance

Managing in the Digital Age and in Times of Disruption

  • Impact of Industry 4.0 on global governance and management

  • Creating cultures and managing people for digital transformation

  • Leading and decision-making in a VUCA world

  • Building resilient organizations

NB: These are broadly defined thematic areas and examples of specific research topics. Students are encouraged to focus on aspects they are interested in and to establish the linkages to the core research areas. Proposed topics outside these areas of expertise cannot be supervised and will be rejected, unless they have been agreed by RSGB-I faculty members.

Both bachelor and master students need to possess good academic writing skills as well as the required research abilities matching their intended thesis projects (e.g., sound basics in data collection/multiple regression/multi-level analyses, etc. for quantitative work; sound basics in content analyses/grounded theory/ethnographic methodologies, etc. for qualitative work; etc.).

Thesis Proposal

Students confident about the above prerequisites are invited to submit a thesis proposal that aligns with the RSGB-I research expertise.

Thesis proposals must be submitted via thesis supervision form by the above submission deadlines, be written in good academic English, include supporting in-text references, should be sufficiently specific, well-structured, approximately three to five pages in length, and need to include the following elements:

  • A working title

  • Student name, ID, contact information

  • A brief general description of the proposed topic

  • The research gap to be addressed

  • Research question(s)

  • Research objective(s)

  • Intended method(s)

  • A statement how the proposed topic ties in with the RSGB-I’s core research areas

  • Intended time line of the thesis project

  • Complete reference list

Thesis proposals are evaluated by the end of the month. Students will be informed about acceptance or rejection. Incomplete proposals will not be considered for review and are desk-rejected. Thesis proposals are assessed based on their quality and the extent to which the RSGB-I faculty have the expertise and capacities to supervise the proposed topics.


  • If students feel that they do not possess the necessary skills and competencies for a thesis project, it is highly recommendable that they take courses in foundations of scientific research (e.g., managing and organizing literature, quantitative/qualitative methods, etc.) and academic writing (e.g., paragraphing, meta-communication, etc.) prior to embarking on their thesis projects.

  • We expect students to fully comply with academic standards in regards to citing and referencing relevant literature. Acts of plagiarism are taken very seriously and entail consequences. For additional information, please refer to the  WU Directive on plagiarism.

  • We understand the emergence of AI and ChatGPT within higher education.  However, we request that students follow the WU recommendations and guidance on the use of chat GPT.  There should be clear indication where ChatGPT has been used as part of the assignment process. You also should be aware that plagiarism software detects AI and ChatGPT use, and often what AI or ChatGPT generates is not factually correct. (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien: AI and ChatGPT in teaching - Information for Teachers - Staff (wu.ac.at).

  • We require research underpinned theses, which is why a sufficient review of relevant academic literature is foundational prior to the submission of a thesis proposal. This is the case for both research-oriented and practice-oriented theses. The RSGB-I faculty own research and works provide a starting point for reviewing relevant literature.

  • Bachelor students should complete a first full thesis draft after three months. Master students should complete a first full thesis draft after six months. Students are required to meet these time frames and to plan their workload accordingly. NB: The thesis supervisors may decide to terminate supervisions if students unreasonably exceed these time frames. It is the students’ responsibility to plan ahead and to manage time in order to submit their theses in a timely manner so that additional deadlines (e.g., completion of studies, CEMS Graduation Ceremony) can be met. Therefore, it is important that students consider in their planning the time required for feedback by the thesis supervisors as well as the time needed for the final evaluation. After the final submission of the thesis on learn@WU is completed, the evaluation process can take up to one month for a bachelor and two months for a master thesis.

  • The RSGB-I does not define per se specific formatting requirements in terms of font type or citation style for thesis proposals or theses. However, it is recommended that students choose a commonly applied style guide (e.g., APA7, AOM) and use it consistently throughout their entire works. As for language, it is advisable to have English native speakers and those with a good command of academic English proofread texts prior to final submissions.

Responsibilities of Accepted Students

After a thesis proposal is accepted, it is the students’ responsibility to ensure that all WU requirements regarding proper procedure, formality, and completion related to Bachelor and Master theses are met.

The RSGB-I wishes all students under the supervision of their members the best of luck for a successful completion of their thesis projects, and hope that they will benefit from this experience.

Code of Conduct for RSGB Students

Code of Conduct for Students

At the Institute for Responsibility and Sustainability in Global Business (RSGB-I), we strive to create an inclusive and respectful academic environment where all members, including faculty, staff, and fellow students, can thrive. To ensure a positive and ethical community, we expect all students to adhere to the following code of conduct:

Faculty, Staff, and Fellow Students:

  1. Be friendly and courteous: Foster a culture of respect by engaging in friendly and considerate communication with others.

  2. Respect diverse views: Embrace and value the perspectives of individuals from different cultures and backgrounds, promoting a climate of understanding and inclusivity.

  3. Support the group spirit: Collaborate and contribute positively to group activities, projects, and discussions, fostering a supportive and cohesive academic community.

  4. Demonstrate diligence and cooperation: Approach all aspects of academic life with diligence, putting forth your best effort, and engaging in a cooperative manner with faculty, staff, and peers.

  5. Attendance and punctuality: Attend classes regularly and arrive on time, demonstrating commitment to your education and respecting the time of both your instructors and fellow students.

  6. Timely submission of assignments: Adhere to deadlines and submit assignments on time, demonstrating responsibility and integrity in your academic work.

  7. Fairness in feedback and assessment: Treat others fairly and objectively when providing feedback or evaluating their achievements, ensuring an equitable and supportive learning environment.


Academic Dishonesty:

Academic integrity is a fundamental value at RSGB-I. We expect all students to uphold the highest standards of honesty and ethical conduct. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Cheating: Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, assistance, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.

  2. Fabrication: Intentionally and without authorization, falsifying or inventing information or citations in any academic exercise.

  3. Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly representing the work, words, or ideas of someone else as one's own in any academic exercise. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the guidelines for handling plagiarism provided by WU(DIR Directive on Plagiarism (wu.ac.at)

  4. Lying: Intentionally providing false information or misleading others in connection with any academic matter.

  5. Facilitating academic dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly aiding or attempting to aid others in violating any provision of this code or obstructing an investigation into code violations.


By adhering to these principles of academic conduct, you contribute to an environment of trust, integrity, and excellence at RSGB-I. We expect all students to uphold these standards and play an active role in maintaining the ethical fabric of our academic community.

Failure to comply with the code of conduct may result in disciplinary action. We encourage you to reach out to faculty or staff members if you have any questions or concerns regarding the code of conduct or academic integrity. Together, we can create a learning environment that promotes personal growth, intellectual honesty, and responsible engagement in the pursuit of knowledge.