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Research focuses

Corporate leadership and public management

The research focus corporate leadership and public management is on the strategic corporate leadership, control and planning in the private as well as public sector. In this context, the book series “Styrian Spirits of Management and Entrepreneurship“ considers alternating topics. The first book of this series deals with management control in the higher education sector. Further publications were conducted regarding the acceptance of new control mechanisms, leadership instruments at universities, leadership in expert organizations, and gender budgeting. The current research projects are:

  • Cooperation: Different kinds of cooperation gain in importance. This trend is also noticeable at universities. The current research project examines which risks occur during cooperation between different cooperation partners in the higher education sector and how they can be overwhelmed.
  • Gender wage gap: This research project is aiming at the examination of the gender wage gap. For example, the gender-specific influence of qualifications on salary demands of professors is being investigated.

Entrepreneurship and startups
Self-employment means i.a. being able to motivate oneself and others to perform extraordinary, to believe in the idea, and to carry on after setbacks. Entrepreneurial thinking and acting is also an attitude towards life. In research and teaching we cooperate with nationally and internationally renowned researchers, practitioners and experts to live up to this credo. We deal with questions like “What is the reason for the success of a startup?” and “Is a person born to be an entrepreneur or is one able to learn how to be one?“. The current research projects are:

  • Startup Barometer: The Startup Barometer of Graz gives an atmospheric picture of the startup scene in Graz. This annual questionnaire is conducted in cooperation with the Science Park Graz and the IdeenTriebwerk Graz and should track the development of the startup scene. Answers to questions like “Which improvements should be made in Graz?“ or “What is missing at the startup location Graz?“ give important indications for further development through external stakeholders like educational institutions, universities, industry and politics.
  • Startup test: The startup test is a project for determining and elaborating startup competences. Currently, a questionnaire is conducted which helps people interested in founding a company to analyze their own competences and development potential. The questionnaire assumes that the success of entrepreneurs depends on three aspects: 1. the person of the founder, 2. the startup idea, and 3. the situational parameters which exist during the startup phase. This study shows how to be successful in founding a company, which types of people are flirting with the idea of founding, and how people interested in founding can be recognized.

Leadership, employee management and behaviour

The difference between management and leadership can be clarified through the following phrase: “To manage, the executive carries out the classic functions (planning, organizing, controlling); to lead, the executive behaves in a way that inspires and influences the behavior of others (Bass, 1990, p. 383). So, management assures the functioning of an (existing) system while leadership describes the interpersonal contact during leadership. Therefore, the research focus leadership, employee management and behaviour deals with interpersonal aspects of corporate leadership. The focus lies on the following questions: 1. How is successful leadership characterized? and 2. How does personal leadership or leadership behaviour influence corporate performance? The current research projects are:

  • Neuroleadership: The current research project deals with the connection between leadership and neurophysiology. Magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) helps to find out in how far transformational leadership impacts an empoyee's brain activity. For this, study participants are put in the role of employees of two teams whereas one team is led by a transformational leader and the other one by a leader with a laissez-faire attitude. In the magnetic resonance tomography the so-called employees have to imagine how it would be to work in a team with a transformational leader.
  • The dark side of power: Narcissistic department managers with a slight tendency toward megalomania are often perceived as inspiring, optimistic and confident. In cooperation with the Ashridge Business School two questions are being examined: 1. How much narcissism can be supporting for a manager’s career? And 2. When does narcissism have a negative influence on leadership quality? For this purpose hundreds of managers are tested regarding their narcissistic tendencies and their professional success.


Secretary's Office
Elisabethstraße 50b, 2nd floor 8010 Graz
Mag. Caroline Zmölnig Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - 7351


Office hours:
Monday to Friday
9.00-12.00 a.m.
2.00-4.30 p.m.

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