Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility (STaR)

WU Research for Everyone

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Bundling and sharing knowledge across different disciplines and making academic research accessible to a broader public are central to our mission. This site provides descriptions of selected research studies on STaR-related topics carried out by our team, faculty members, and intellectual community.

A detailed list of open access publications by STaR faculty members is available via WU Vienna's ePubWU repository:


Responsible Global Leadership Dilemmas, Paradoxes, and Opportunities

Ensuring principle-driven, legally sound, and ethically acceptable behavior in the global context is not an easy task for leaders. They face the requirement of meeting the needs and expectations of a diverse set of stakeholders. They are increasingly called on to protect, preserve, and restore the resources of the environment. They are expected to improve human well-being and social equity and recognize and effectively address economic and social issues concerning equality, social justice, and human-rights protection, and they have to navigate their organizations through periods of radical change, turbulence and crisis. How should leaders in global organizations go about meeting the multiple demands of a complex global stakeholder environment? This recent book publication, co-edited by Günter K. Stahl, co-director at STaR and professor at Institute for International Business, and Milda Zilinskaite, senior scientist at STaR, together with Mark E. Mendenahll at theUniversity of Tennessee, Chattanoogaand Rachel Clapp-Smith at Purdue University Northwest, explores the dilemmas, paradoxes, and opportunities that leaders in global organizations of all types encounter daily and addresses how managers can and should think about and approach these complex issues in responsible and productive ways. We hope it to be of interest to students and scholars across business, management, and the social sciences more broadly. A copy can be ordered here.

Non-financial reporting in Austria

Non-financial reporting is a special form of sustainability reporting that requires an integrated view of a company’s economic, ecological and social performance. It should include information on environmental, social and employee concerns, respect for human rights and the fight against corruption. The EU Directive on non-financial reporting was implemented in Austria in December 2016, following the Sustainability and Diversity Improvement Act (“Nachhaltigkeits- und Diversitätsverbesserungsgesetz,” NaDiVeG). This primarily targeted companies of public interest, such as large corporations that employ more than 500 employees. However, the Act has also become important for numerous other companies, including SMEs. STaR Intellectual Community fellow Josef Baumüller from the Institute of International Accounting has published a book – the first one in Austria on the subject – using the legal framework to show how appropriate reporting can be carried out. The book also deals with problem areas and open questions of the law, and provides solutions based on real-life examples from corporate practice. In addition, it clarifies conceptual principles, e.g. the distinction between sustainability reporting and non-financial reporting, detailed questions on auditing and enforcement, as well as the benefits and limitations of relevant pronouncements by standard setters such as AFRAC or KSW. A copy can be ordered here [in German].


Improving governance is key for countries’ abilities to respond to grand challenges

A research publication on projections of governance in climate vulnerable countries co-authored by STaR WU Faculty Member Jesus Crespo Cuaresma from the Institute for Macroeconomicshas featured in a press release by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The research study (published in Nature Sustainability) takes a quantitative approach to different future governance scenarios, using the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) framework. The findings show that, even under the most optimistic development scenarios, it will take decades to overcome weak governance at the global level, which has negative implications for countries’ adaptive capacity to cope with climate change. On the upside, however, the results also point to potential “window of opportunity to eradicate the lowest levels of governance in the near term and get the world on a pathway towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals” (JC Cuaresma). To learn more about these surprising findings, read the IIASA release here …   

Veganism, feminism and protein transformation

STaR would like to draw your attention to the workshop “Veganism, feminism and protein transformation” organized by STaR WU Faculty Members Regine Bendl from the Institute for Gender and Diversity in Organizations and Giuseppe Delmestri from Change Management and Management Development,with the participation of animal activist and author Marin Balluch and Danube Soya General Secretary Ursula Bittner. The event focused on the stigmatization of citizens endorsing a vegan belief and those promoting feminism, and how the two are intertwined. The panelists also discussed how the promotion of plant-based proteins in diets could contribute to solving pressing social, environmental and ethical challenges like the climate crisis. The video of the event is now available online [in German].

WU Privacy & Sustainable Computing Lab

WU Privacy & Sustainable Computing Lab was founded by STaR WU Faculty Member Sarah Spiekermann-Hoff and Axel Polleres from the Institute for Information Business. It is currently run by Ben Wagner from the Institute for Information Systems and Society. The key activities at the Lab tackle ethical issues in computing, including but not limited to privacy, open data, hate speech, and AI regulation. Visit the Lab’s website to find out more.

Comparative Green HRM

STaR WU Faculty Member Michael Müller-Carmen from Human Resource Management Institute, together with Marcus Wagner at the University of Augsburg, are currently leading a cross-institutional research project on Comparative Green HRM. Green HRM studies the many different aspects of HRM that concern long-term environmental sustainability. For more information about other research projects on sustainability at the WU Vienna Institute for Human Resource Management, please click here (in German).