Doctoral Dissertation Projects

 Active research constitutes a centerpiece of MODUL University Vienna’s activities. As a research oriented institution, MU Vienna gives great importance to delivering high quality and innovative research to the industry and society at large. The methodological competence of its faculty is hereby considered the main driver for success and thus continuously fostered by MU Vienna. As part of the University’s ongoing educational philosophy, a number of MU Vienna faculty members are currently supported in undertaking their doctoral studies.

MU Vienna has recently established its own PhD program, which commenced in late 2013. Should you be interested in pursuing a PhD at MODUL University Vienna, you can register with our Academic Office, and the appropriate staff member will be happy to provide you with more information.

Current MU PhD Students

Completed her PhD in Winter 2015.

Profile


Former Dissertation Projects (in cooperation with partner universities)

Aubke, Florian
Department: Tourism and Hospitality Management
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Karl Wöber
University: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Starting Date: Fall 2007

 

Abstract
Florian’s dissertation revolves around the question of what constitutes effective teams. Parting with a traditionally strong reliance on attribution-based performance models in the literature, the current study takes a structuralist approach instead. As such, the team is regarded as a composite of actors who are held together by their respective non-random communication network. It is exactly this non-randomness that forms the basis of this thesis and drives the methodology accordingly. After a qualitative pre-study, a purposive sampling returned network data and performance measurements from 33 international hotel revenue management teams. By using an exponential random graph modeling approach, it is expected to find support for the assumption that network characteristics are stronger drivers of team performance than individual actor attributes.

Related Publications
Aubke, F. (2009), On Experts, Teams and Team Performance – An application to hotel revenue management teams, Poster presented at the XXX Sunbelt Conference, Riva del Garda, Italy, June 29 to July 4
Aubke, F. and Wöber, K. (2010), No Revenue Manager is an Island- A Study on the Use of Shared Mental Models, EuroChrie Conference, Amsterdam, October 2010

Gindl, Stefan
Department: New Media Technology
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Arno Scharl
University: Vienna University of Technology
Starting Date: Spring 2008

 

Abstract
Stefan's dissertation covers sentiment detection, a subarea of artificial intelligence. Sentiment detection investigates methods for the computerized analysis of written text regarding its sentiment charge. In other words, sentiment detection tries to find out if an author wants to express positive or negative emotion. This technology gained strong interest in recent years with the growing availability of opinions on the Web. Web sites, blog posts or forums as invaluable resources wait to be exploited by opinion research. Yet, manual methods for an analysis of these resources are not feasible due to the sheer amount of available data. Current computer-assisted methods overcome the problem of time exposure, but they are still unreliable. The ambiguity of human language is still a problem of common approaches. Stefan investigates methods for their improvement, which cover an in-depth analysis of the connections between terms expressing sentiment and the influence of their surrounding. The overall goal is the development of a software agent capable of a flexible adaptation to the characteristics of the processed language. The system will be self-learning, so it can also be applied to languages different from English.

Glaser, Karin
Department: Public Governance and Management
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Eva Kreisky
University: University of Vienna
Starting Date: Fall 2007

 

Abstract
The causes and consequences of terrorism are Karin’s research focus. In her dissertation she is pursuing the question of which conditions create an environment where terrorism is likely to emerge and which policy measures and reforms are effective in countering terrorism threats. For this purpose, she is empirically assessing the geographic roots of terrorism and factors that contribute to an environment creating political violence. Based on an extended version of the Global Terrorism Database she is also tracing the development of different ideological forms of terrorism, illustrating the rise of religious terrorism and assessing which role religious terrorism plays compared to other ideological forms. The second part of the dissertation discusses impacts of terrorism with a strong focus on the economy. A section about the impacts of terrorism on tourism links her research to the tourism focus of MODUL University Vienna.

Hergesell, Anja
Department: Tourism and Hospitality Management
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Zins
University: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Starting Date: Fall 2008

 

 Abstract
Anja’s dissertation contributes to the discussions on climate change mitigation in the tourism context by examining the effectiveness of current policies striving to encourage environmentally and specifically climate-friendly behaviors among consumers. Based on a review of the literature on the determinants of environmental behavior and behavior change, Anja investigates the necessity for behavior-specific interventions in regards to holiday travel by exploring the influence of values on environmental behavior as well as the relationships between environmental behaviors. Moreover, she estimates the effects of currently discussed transport-related policies (carbon tax, emissions trading) which imply an increase in prices for holiday travel. Hypothesizing differences in the valuation of individual holiday travels, substitution effects are estimated and the extent of potential CO2 savings is assessed. Based on consumers’ valuation of holiday travels further opportunities for behavior change will also be identified.

Related Publications
Hergesell, A. & Zins, A.H. (2011), Low- and high-level environmental behavior: exploring structural relationships in the tourism domain. In: Guntoro, G., Huan, T.-C., Lee, S., Mena, M., Thongma, W. & Zins, A.H. (eds.), Sustainability and quality of life in tourism: Tasks for consumer, industry, policy and academia, Chiangmai, Thailand: School of Tourism Development, Maejo University.
Hergesell, A. (2011), Encouraging pro-environmental tourist behavior. 1st ToSEE Conference, 4-6 May, Opatija, Croatia.


Költringer, Clemens
Department: Tourism and Hospitality Management
Supervisor: PD Dr. Astrid Dickinger
University: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Starting Date: Fall 2007

 

Abstract
With the wide availability of online communities, blogs and reviews, marketers are facing the challenge of extracting relevant knowledge from these sources as they contain insights which can be used for marketing intelligence. Researchers often refer to a destination’s online representation as its image. However, it is uncertain if the topics and the language used in blogs reflect what researchers traditionally investigate in conventional image studies.
Clemens’s dissertation aims to transfer conventional destination image measurement techniques to an online setting. Furthermore, the focus lies on the development and evaluation of an adequate methodology to measure and analyze a destination’s online representation within the wealth of data available on the Web and draw meaningful conclusions in a city tourism context.
The thesis introduces an innovative approach to the field of online destination representation measurement. The information gained can be used by destinations to learn about their online image representation per se, the role of different information sources on the internet, as well as the competitive position within Europe.

Related Publications
Dickinger, A., C. Költringer and Körbitz (2011). Comparing Online Destination Image with Conventional Image Measurement – The Case of Tallinn. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2011, Innsbruck, Austria, Springer: Wien.
Költringer, C. and A. Dickinger (2011). Analyzing Online Destination Representation: A City Tourism Benchmarking Exercise. 40th European Marketing Academy Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, European Marketing Academy | Faculty of Economics, Ljubliana, Slovenia

Tiller, Tina
Department: Tourism and Hospitality Management
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Zins
University: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Starting Date: Fall 2010

 

Abstract
Tina’s topic area is low carbon tourism; a relatively new field within the academic sphere of tourism. Other terms used alongside ‘low carbon tourism’ include ‘slow tourism’ and ‘slow travel;’ terms which are often used in the literature. The underlying concepts to low carbon tourism are the increasing knowledge of the current contribution of tourism to anthropogenic climate change and the projected growth in tourism as outlined by WTO, coupled with a wish to escape from the fast pace of life in society today where it is normal to fly long distances for short holiday breaks. Also, the concept emphasizes a use of time and space in leisure which is more sustainable; where the tourist is immersed in the experience which is the trip as a whole. This holistic image emphasizes that the transport mode used also becomes part of the total tourist experience, where the tourist engages with the mode of transport in a different manner than traditional forms of tourism where the transport mode is only seen as a means of getting from the origin to the destination. Transport modes that are embraced by slow travelers include walking, cycling, sailing, train travel and coach travel. Plane and car travel is excluded from the concept. What Tina is aiming to do through her research is to further the understanding of this relatively new concept.

Matteucci, Xavier
Department: Tourism and Hospitality Management
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Zins & Prof. Dr. Ronald Kurt
University: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Starting Date: Fall 2007



Abstract
Xavier’s dissertation is primarily concerned with how foreign visitors experience intangible heritage, in the form of flamenco music and dance courses, and attempts to discern the role that the body and senses play in that experience. The inquiry is well embedded within the contemporary trends identified in the cultural tourism literature whereby concepts of intangibility, subjectivity and co-creation of tourist experiences have emerged. Besides, this inquiry stems from the dearth of studies into the internal factors, as those related to the psyche and bodily feelings, that contribute to the tourist experience whereas external factors, such as the physical environment, personnel or other tourists, have received more attention. Data were collected with 11 French and 8 English native speakers in two phases in the Andalusian city of Seville, Spain. Following Westwood (2007)’s argument which recognises the need to employ research approaches that facilitate participants’ engagement and openness as to flesh out the more intimate aspects of tourism experiences, an exploratory qualitative design was used in which photo elicitation complemented semi-structured in-depth interviews and participant observation.

 

Related Publications
Matteucci, X. (2013) Photo elicitation: exploring tourist experiences with researcher-found images, Tourism Management 35, 190-197.

Matteucci, X. (accepted) Experiencing flamenco: An examination of a spiritual journey, in Filep, S. & Pearce, P. (eds) Tourist Experience and Fulfilment: Insights from Positive Psychology, New York: Routledge.

Matteucci, X. (2011) A lasting impression: the importance of global travel for young people, The Power of Youth Travel, Volume 2: UNWTO - WYSE, p. 19.

Zekan, Bozana
Department: Tourism and Hospitality Management
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Karl Wöber
University: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Starting Date: Fall 2008



Abstract
Bozana’s dissertation builds upon scarce destination benchmarking literature and looks into identification of the optimal benchmarking variables and efficient tourist destinations. First part of her dissertation is a macro overview and revolves around identification of such variables in benchmarking assessment of the countries in a longitudinal study. Second part narrows down to the variables used among the sample of CTOs of the European Cities Marketing network and benchmarking assessment of the same in yet another longitudinal, empirical study. Not only that the stakeholders are involved into decision on variables, but line is also drawn between countries and cities benchmarking assessment. Further, Bozana’s dissertation both addresses the limitations of past destination benchmarking studies and sheds a new light into destination benchmarking by contributing with a large scale studies (multi-country and multi-city) – scope which was so far neglected in this research area.