Master and MBA Theses
Student research activities are primarily expressed by the thesis, which is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree. Ideally, a master thesis establishes a link between theory and practice.
The theses published here have reached grades 90% or higher. By special requests of some students, their theses will be withheld for a certain time period (5 years max.) and will be published after that.
Defining and assessing environmentally friendly hotel concepts and their effects on destinations - Apostolos Tsiantis (full text)
The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Brand Loyalty Towards Luxury Cosmetics Brands: comparison of Generation Z and Millenial - Karina Dogra (full text)
Nomads Experience and Overall Well-Being: the role of co-living spaces - Jennifer Sin Hung von Zumbusch (abstract)
Finding the Airline's Sweet Spot: matching travelers' expectations and experiences - Rick Boender (abstract)
Perceived Livability of Expatriates: The case of barcelona - Gabriela Basovska (abstract)
Chalets resorts in the Alps: curse or blessing for the local communities - Michael Winkler (abstract) (full text)
The development of cultural tourism in Europe focused on the economic value of the Salzburg festival - Christina Norman Audenhove (abstract) (full text)
Residents' Attitudes towards Tourism and the Intentions to support/reject Tourism - Peter Johann Gatterer (full text)
A sectoral Input/Output Analyses of the Economies of the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America - Waleed Shahzad (full text)
Career Expectations of Hospitality Students: A Swiss Context and Generational Effects - Tunde Bausz (full text)
Powerful synergies: Gender equality, sustainable development and peace - Annelisa Miglietti (full text)
Influence of Online Marketing Strategies on the Sales Success of B2B Companies - Urska Binter (full text)
You are cordially invited to attend our theses defenses here online via MS Teams.
Student: Natalia Ferraz de Almeida
Supervisor: Astrid Dickinger
Title: Beauty Brands’ Social Media Communication Strategies on Instagram: An Online Brand-consumer Relationship Analysis.
The fast pace of changes in the maturing digital world reinvented relationships between consumers and brands. Understanding this new form of interaction and its rules and tendencies was recognized as a challenge for academic research, especially when it comes to customer engagement practices, its evaluation and categorization, and the motivations behind it. This research aims at analysing not only the trends in online marketing behavior, but also the challenges and risks of this close relationship between consumers and brands. This will be done by analysing the beauty industry niche and the behavior patterns of four main-stream beauty brands on Instagram: Mac, Benefit, Maybelline and L’oreal, respectively. Throughout the study will be conducted two main researches: netnography, where the author will analyse firstly two months of posts and engagements for each of the four main-stream beauty brands, in order to categorize this communication into the five behavioural styles, according to the literature; and secondly a one year of postings for each of the four brands in order to categorise their brand personality according to the literature. The second main research is a text analysis conducted on the second part of the netnography, in order to better understand the trends and tendencies of the online consumer behaviour and the developments in consumer-brand relationships.
Student: Yannick Herzberg
Supervisor: Gunther Maier
Title: Sustainability certificates of hotel properties
Sustainability certificates are currently getting more and more popular in the asset class of hotel properties, a niche of the commercial real estate industry. These certificates evaluate the level of properties in a sustainable matter, but does this documentation really have an influence on the long-term effect on the property in terms of sustainability?
More specifically, does a property with a sustainability certificate consume fewer resources than a property without the certificate? Research has shown that the certificates will influence a property on different levels, influence significant changes to the facilities and construction of the property. Hence, this study aims to determine how the certificate will impact the sustainability of hotel properties and it will be questions, why a stakeholder is commissioning the certificate. Major decision makers were asked to contribute their professional opinions on sustain- ability certificates and how they impact their decision-making.
The results indicate that the certificate and the correlated adaptions to the prop- erty does have a significant impact on the property, its resource consumption, which results in an overall more sustainable property. The effect is not only caused by the certificate itself, but by the adjustments, which are made by the owner and developers in order to achieve a certain level of certification. Hence, the background and reason for the certificate play a large role in this context, which influence the impact on the real estate. Bottomline, this topic of sustainable properties and its certificates will ensure that hotel properties are ready for the future.
Student: Kathrin Hanzl
Supervisor: Lyndon Nixon
Title: The Relationship of Lifestyle Journalists and Public Relations Managers: Who Sets the Media Agenda?
This study focuses on the relationship between journalists and PR managers and illustrates the interdependence of both professions. Journalism was said to be assigned the fourth estate in democracy and thus, argued as a watchdog over politics, economy and society (Rühl, 2015). However, there are increasing numbers of studies that can prove a strikingly high number of PR reports in a wide variety of media (Cameron et al., 1997; Hanusch et al., 2015; Lewis et al., 2008; Sallot & Johnson, 2006). Lifestyle departments seem to be particularly susceptible to information produced by PR. That is why exactly this genre is the focus of this study and examines the influence of PR on lifestyle journalists in Austria. For this purpose, 12 Austrian lifestyle journalists who work in the areas of print, online and broadcasting were selected for semi-structured interviews. In the personal interviews, the cooperation with PR managers was examined in more detail and the influences of PR in everyday journalism were discussed. In addition, journalists reviewed the past few years and talked about the changes brought about by digitalization. Results indicate that more than 90% of lifestyle journalist have taken over entire PR stories in their reporting previously and 67% of the respondents admit their own work to be influenced by PR. However, only 42% think that journalistic norms and standards be endangered by external influences, such as PR. Moreover, the digitalization has brought new opportunities to interact with journalists via social media platforms and innovative ways to gather latest trends. Especially influencer and content on social media channels inspire the majority of Austrian lifestyle journalists. However, these platforms do not substitute PR, as algorithms, filter bubbles and fake news distort the picture, while PR delivers trustworthy and true data to journalists. Although with a certain “spin” to gain favorable coverage for a particular company.
Supervisor: Lyndon Nixon
Knowledge Management and Knowledge Sharing
The intention of this master thesis was to explore the relevance of Knowledge Management and Knowledge Sharing with special focus on the institutional area. The central interest was put on the topic of Knowledge Management and on the question, if there was an actual need for it in a corporation and if so, why? Furthermore, since the author of this thesis has been employed for many years in Erste Group Bank AG, a decision has been made to explore and analyze the situation in this organization asking the questions: whether knowledge is being managed in this organization and if yes, in which ways? Whether and how is the knowledge being shared between and among the employees? Furthermore, an important research objective was to find out the opinions, reflections and insights of the employees of Erste Group Bank AG in regard to their familiarity with the topic of Knowledge Management, their awareness of the existence and the importance of the phenomenon of Knowledge Sharing and their perceptions of the organization's approach to these initiatives. Eventually, it was planned to research the employees` opinions on the possible improvement potential in the area of Knowledge Management and Knowledge Sharing in Erste Group Bank AG. The evaluation of the entire research showed that there is indeed a need and necessity for Knowledge Management in the corporation and this is not only the outcome of the analysis of the expert view on this topic. The respondents of the survey carried out for this thesis share the same opinion. It turns out a uniform and systematic approach to Knowledge Management and Knowledge Sharing is wished for by the employees, as well as the integration of these initiatives into the very Corporate Strategy, as well as into the Corporate Culture of the organization with significant support and promotion from the management level.
Supervisor: Dimitris Christopoulos
Factors Affecting Success and Failures of Entrepreneurship in Afghanistan
The purpose of this thesis has been to analyze the factors of success and failure of entrepreneur-ship in Afghanistan. The research has reviewed and analyzed Afghanistan’s economy, focusing on exports and imports, foreign direct investment inward and outward Afghanistan’s ecosystem, entrepreneurship ecosystem, barriers, business reforms, the interrelationship of the entrepreneur-ship ecosystem with key economic indicators, and drivers for good entrepreneurial activities and performance. Through empirical research, using a mixed method and mixed research design in particular explanatory sequential mixed method, a quantitative survey of 161 companies and qualitative bilateral interviews with 22 companies was conducted. It has been found that Afghanistan is not different than other countries in the world. Using a simple linear regression model, the re-search has analyzed and identified that entrepreneurship performance depends on a good entrepreneurial ecosystem including access to finance, good market conditions and business environment, good infrastructure, transport, access to skills, access to innovative assets, and a good institutional and regulatory framework.
The inferential analyses suggest that the entrepreneurial ecosystem does not function well given that entrepreneurship needs a good business enabling environment in which companies can com-pete, produce competitive and innovative goods and services, and contribute to the economy and overall welfare of the people. Meanwhile, access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem is limited to companies that have political affiliations with senior politicians or government officials. The affiliation was described as a code for a good entrepreneurial performance. Companies without political favouritism and nepotism are challenged by a series of factors, including a poor enabling environment, massive corruption in customs offices, lack of compliance and quality control enforcement, an irrational taxation system for tax base, paper-based accounting, political instability, unfair com-petition, suppliers’ fraud in Central Asia (counterparty risk), United States sanctions on Iran, etc. In addition, drug smugglers are additional contributing factors through predatory pricing, as they need to convert their goods into cash.
Those companies that manage to survive in a very complex environment succeed because of their flexible business strategy, customer relationships, differentiations, blue ocean strategy, walking along the market demand, and language capabilities.
The statistical regression analyses have proved that there is a statistical dependency between the rate of success and individual variables: access to finance; market conditions and business environ-ment; good infrastructure; access to skills; access to innovative assets; and institutional and regulatory framework. There is a linear relationship between a good entrepreneurial ecosystem and entrepreneurial performance.
To summarize, the performance of entrepreneurship depends on both the microeconomic environment and macroeconomic issues. Both are related to each other, without which there is an imbalance of performance.
Supervisor: Christian Kerschner
A Sustainable Earned Value Management Framework: Development and Application in the Oil and Gas Sector
Sustainability is becoming the most significant challenge for humanity in this era. Projects play a substantial role in sustainability from different perspectives. Not only do these projects contribute a considerable share to the world economy, but they also construct plants and infrastructures. Moreover, projects are influential to sustainability in many other ways, such as creating products for consumers and using a notable amount of resources. Projects are also tools for solving sustainability issues and implementing required changes. Using unsustainable tools for solving sustainability issues, or expecting sustainable results from an unsustainable process (project), cannot be rational.
Applying the concept of value from purely economic terms to sustainability terms changes the required competencies and processes of project management. Research on different subjects of sustainable project management (SPM) is trending. However, little attention is paid to project sustainability performance management.
Earned value management (EVM) is a convenient and effective tool in project management to measure and forecast project performance based on value, which in traditional project management means cost. It is discussed in the literature that substituting the concept of value with sustainability makes EVM a useful tool for SPM. However, unlike with cost, sustainable value consists of several parameters with different characteristics and behaviors. The literature survey concluded that there are no publications on a holistic earned value methodology for SPM to date.
This research is an attempt to develop sustainable earned value management framework (SEVM). The requirements of SPM and SEVM are explored using SLR (systematic literature review) concentrating on SPM impetuses, principles of SPM, and different views on SPM. The collected information enlightens the scope and goals of the SEVM. Furthermore, it reveals which elements of the SEVM are missing in the existing literature. The origins of sustainability requirements (OSR) are essential for selecting parameters and developing related baselines. Assigning a measurable “value” for the SEVM encompassing the selected parameters is another challenge in developing the framework.
The framework has been developed in 36 guidelines, considering the elicited requirements (e.g., the risk associated, multivariant, predictable, integrated into existing project schedule instead of being parallel, and responding to different SPM perspectives and driving forces). Finally, the framework has been tested in six sample oil and gas projects. The oil and gas industry is selected as the target industry due to existing a wide variety of sustainability issues, existing potentials for applying SPM tools such as SEVM.