Doctorate in Business and Socioeconomic Sciences

Research Profile Josef A. Mazanec

Josef A. Mazanec
Full Professor, Department of Tourism and Service Management

Description of Research Profile
This is an attempt of squeezing 40 years of scholarly development into a nutshell. The research threads pursued over a significant time period are credibly illustrated by referring to the actual output in terms of year of publication (for detailed information see

Philosophy of Science
Active interest in methodology has been a persistent focus. It began during my student’s life when I became impressed by the writings of Hans Albert and experienced a revelation when struggling to digest Karl Popper’s Logic of Scientific Discovery. A first publication discussing philosophy of science issues dates back to [1972]. Trying to respect and translate the commandments of Critical Rationalism into actual research work has become a lasting effort. It found various expressions, particularly in enforcing a rigorous distinction between exploratory and confirmatory analysis (a crucial point in a never-ending task list of journal papers to review), the appropriate use of latent variable models, or in treating unobserved heterogeneity and applications of Inferred Causation Theory [2009, 2007, 2007, 2006, 2001, 2000, 1982].

Analyzing and Modeling Tourist/Consumer Behavior
A substantive field of study has been consumer/tourist behavior where my ambitions regarding model building range from structural models [1978, 1995] to agent-based simulation models operating on artificial markets [2006, 2005]. During 1997-2002 this thread of research was embedded in the Special Research Program (Spezialforschungsbereich 010) on Adaptive Systems and Modeling in Economics and Management Science where I served as Speaker of the first working period (1997-2000). As this responsibility coincided with my function as the WU’s first Vice-Rector for Research (1997-2002) the time constraints lowered the publication output 1997-98. Only later more of the research results found their outlet in journal papers, contributed articles, and books. Among them are new methodology and software for combined brand positioning-market segmentation analysis and experiments with neural network architectures such as multi-layer perceptrons , self-organizing maps and their topology-representing descendants [2007, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999]. The neural network applications I explored in tourism research, an area offering plenty of problems for advanced analytics [2010], actually started much earlier as the first results were already available during my stay at the Sloan School, MIT [1992, 1995].

Adaptive (Self-learning) Travel Counseling and Recommender Systems
Elaborating further spin-offs from agent-based modeling and neurocomputing methods I sought to contribute to the new field of e-tourism by exploring adaptive systems suitable for travel counseling and recommender purposes. A taxonomy and inference machine-based prototype of a counseling system, presumably the first of its kind in tourism, was presented to the TTRA conference [1990]. Suggested methods for implementing adaptive mechanisms followed later [2002, 2006].

Strategic Marketing
Other consumer behavior and tourism related research has focused on market segmentation and typology construction [1993, 1990, 1984], image theory and measurement [1979, 1981], conjoint analysis [2007, 2002], portfolio and budget allocation models [1991, 1986], and decision-support for city tourism marketing [2010, 1996]. According to the comprehensive literature review in Thomas Salzberger’s investigation of Measurement in Marketing Research (2009) it seems that I published the first application of a multidimensional Rasch model in marketing science as early as in [1979]. Today, Item Response Theory is experiencing a revival and seriously challenges the classical test theory which still abounds in marketing research studies. Recent applications with some of my international co-authors have focused on Hofstede's cultural value dimensions [2015].

Web Mining and Competitiveness Studies
Designing new measurement methods via automatically tapping Web search engines emerged as a promising and complementary strategy for analyzing ‘projected’ destination images [2010] and customer reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor [2017, 2015]. Finally, a critical assessment of the indicator systems for tourism destination competitiveness recently proposed by the World Travel & Tourism Council and the World Economic Forum demonstrated the need for incorporating formative constructs and comparing covariance-based models with partial least-squares path models [2011, 2007].

To summarize, the account given above appears to prove competences in the research areas of
• Explanatory Models of Consumer/Tourist Behavior
• Advanced Analytical Methods in Business and Marketing
• Management and Marketing Science Applications in Tourism and Hospitality

Selected Theses Supervised
Supervisions before 2005 not listed
1. Ulrike Schuster, Bayesianischer Vergleich der Qualität endlicher Mischungsmodelle mit bzw. ohne Zufallseffekte anhand künstlicher Daten, 2005

2. Christina Holweg, Consumer Value im ECR-Category-Management-Modell. Kritische Diskussion und empirische Evaluierung, 2006

3. Astrid Dickinger, Mobile Service Usage: Antecedents and Behavioral Consequences of Perceived Service Quality in User Segments , 2006

4. Andreas Baumgartner, Explaining participation in Communities of Regional Leisure Blogs, 2009

5. Christian Weismayer, Statistische und longitudinale Zufriedensheitsmessung, 2010

6. Brigitte Stangl, User-based website design in tourism with a special focus on web 2.0 websites, 2010

7. Amata Ring, Destination competitiveness and perceived competition: A two perspective examination of the destination’s competitive situation, 2011

8. Margit Kastner, e-ducation, examination & Learn@WU, 2011

9. Felix Badura, Increasing the efficiency of multi-hub airline networks by means of flexible time-range tickets, 2011

10. Karl Ledermüller, Text Mining supported Skill Monitoring: A Framework for Analyzing Job Announcements with Special Focus on Curriculum Planning and Spatial Applications, 2011

11. Bashar Abu-Ghannam, Mobile Services Adoption Model, 2011

12. Wilhelm Loibl, Semantics in Tourism - A System of Microformats for Semantically Enriching Touristic Websites, In progress

13. Anke Schneider, Emotional Image Retrieval, In progress

14. Kerstin Freudenthaler, Responsible tourism: are values an imperative to action? In progress