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International Business Seminar Series

The “International Business Seminar Series” is a series of events organized by the Department of International Business of the ZHAW School of Management and Law, focusing on cutting edge research in international business, economics, management, finance, and strategy.

These events, featuring both established scholars and up and coming researchers, are designed to “road test” new research or to bring together various pieces of established research to suggest new avenues to explore. We invite speakers from around the world to join us in Winterthur to present their findings to an academic audience. While the series is targeted for our internal audience, they are also open to the general public and interested scholars in the greater Zurich area. If you are interested in presenting, please contact us.

Previous Events

Prof. Dr. Marco Clemente: “Fan or watchdog? Newspapers coverage of referees decisions in the Italian football”

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Marco Clemente
Theme: “Fan or watchdog? Newspapers coverage of referees decisions in the Italian football”
Date: Wednesday 26 April 2023
Time: 12.00 pm - 01.00 pm
Location: Building SI O4.16 or online

The media face the tension of satisfying the conflicting demands from multiple audiences: on the one hand, they want to meet the expectations of specific target groups, and act as partisan with the inevitable effect of being perceived as biased; on the other, given societal and professional expectations of impartial reporting, our they want to be credible, that is, to be perceived as impartial in what they report and how they evaluate it. Our goal is to understand how the media can balance credibility and partisanship, particularly the strategies they use to do so.

To this end, we examine how three daily sports newspapers cover referee decisions in the Italian football (soccer) major league. Our data and research design allow us to precisely estimate the different types of media bias and examine the effectiveness of three strategies that the media can adopt to balance partisanship and credibility: adjusting the level of attention (strategic silence and strategic overreporting), and leveraging ambiguity (about the rule of the games and of language). Specifically, we find that newspapers balance partisanship and credibility by reporting events that are in line with their partisanship orientation (referee decisions that favor the local team), which other newspapers do not report; by being less biased when rules are less ambiguous and by using a more ambiguous language when reporting events that are against their partisanship (e.g., referee decisions that harm the local teams). We do not find evidence that newspapers are strategically silent on events that are against their partisanship. By probing the strategies that the media use to resolve the tension between credibility and partisanship, our paper contributes to the literature on media studies, the strategic behavior of market intermediaries, and social evaluations in a multiple audience context.


Prof. Dr. Claudia Gabbioneta: “Intra- and Inter-Group Dynamics and the Market for Quality: Examining Mobility of Elite Professionals”

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Claudia Gabbioneta
Theme: “Intra- and Inter-Group Dynamics and the Market for Quality: Examining Mobility of Elite Professionals”
Date: Wednesday 05 April 2023
Time: 03.00 pm - 04.00 pm
Location: Building SI O4.06 or online

Claudia Gabbioneta is Chair in Accounting and Management at University of York (UK). Her research interests include professions, organizational wrongdoing, and professional misconduct. Her work has been published in prestigious international journals, such as Accounting, Organizations and Society, Human Relations, Work, Employment and Society, and Research in the Sociology of Organizations. She is Senior Editor of Organization Studies and sits in the Editorial Board of the Journal of Management Studies and the Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation.

Knowledge-based organizations rely on the knowledge, skills, and relationships of their talented workers to build their competitive advantage. This creates incentives to recruit “the best and the brightest” professionals in their respective fields, with the expectation of improved performance. Prior research, however, challenges the assumption that recruiting talented workers necessarily improves group and firm performance, and has explored several key contingencies affecting this relationship. In this study, we investigate how intra- and inter-group factors moderate the relationship between recruiting a talented individual into a group and that group’s quality-performance. Using a longitudinal panel dataset of the largest UK corporate law firms between 2000 and 2017, we show that while recruiting an elite professional into a group (legal practice) generally reduces the quality of services provided to buyers, this negative effect is weaker when the average quality of the incumbent professionals in the group is higher, and stronger when the organization comprises a higher number of other high-quality groups. Our study contributes to the strategic human capital, employee mobility, and group dynamics literatures and has practical implications for managers.

Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Massa: “Sustainable Business Model Design”

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Massa
Theme: “Sustainable Business Model Design”
Date: Thursday 30 März 2023
Time: 12.00 pm - 01.00 pm
Location: Building SI O4.06 or online

Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Massa is member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network for Innovation and Adjunct Professor for executive education at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS), Frankfurt School of Finance and Management as well as Bologna Business School (BBS).  His research has been published in publications such as the Academy of Management Annals, the Journal of Management, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Business and Management, among others. Lorenzo sits on the advisory board of different for-profit and nonprofit organizations and is a trusted strategy, innovation, and sustainability advisor to executives in companies across many industries.  Lorenzo holds graduate degrees in mechanical engineering from the Dublin Institute of Technology (B. Eng.) and the University of Genoa (M.Sc. Eng.) and a Master’s and a PhD in Management from IESE Business School.

More information: Sustainable Business Model Design

Business – from entrepreneurial startups to large multinational corporations – has a vital contribution to make to sustainable development. Companies are not only largely responsible for some of the non-sustainable conditions we are now facing, but they also have the knowledge, skills, and resources to creatively solve sustainability challenges and foster a more sustainable future. Business is a formidable engine of innovation. 

But as long as we are confined by traditional ways of thinking about business models – often rooted in industrial age ideas about mass production and consumption – it will be impossible to fully unlock the potential of innovation to create sustainable value. Creating greater sustainable value requires us to rethink and redesign our way of doing business. In short, it requires us to develop sustainable business models.

Many entrepreneurs and corporate managers are well aware of this and have already started experimenting with new business models to boost sustainability. In some cases, these experiments had led to innovative business models that support the creation of sustainable value. 

  • What types of sustainable business models do we already have?
  • What solutions do they offer to recurring environmental, social, and economic challenges?
  • How can we turn these solutions into templates for action?

In this Keynote, Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Massa will progressively walk the audience to appreciate the role of business and business model design in relationship to sustainability and provide an answer to the offered questions.

Prof. Taran Patel: “Toward a generic framework of perceived negative manager/leader behavior: A comparative study across nations and private sector industries”

Lecturer: Prof. Taran Patel
Theme: “Toward a generic framework of perceived negative manager/leader behavior: A comparative study across nations and private sector industries”
Date: Wednesday 08 February 2023
Time: 12.00 pm - 01.00 pm
Location: Building SI O4.04 or online

Taran Patel is Full Professor in the People, Organization, and Society Department of Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM). She earned her PhD in International Business from the Open University at Milton Keynes (UK) in 2006, and her Habilitation à Diriger des Recherche (HDR) from University of Rouen (France) in 2022.
Prof. Patel's teaching interests include: Cultural Issues in International Business, International Human Resources Management, Ethical and Cultural Issues in International Business, Organizational Behavior, Critical Perspectives in Leadership and Followership, and Qualitative Research Methods. At GEM, she teaches mostly at the post-graduate and doctoral levels. She also leads a certification program in 'Responsible Leadership and Followership in a Digital Era'.
Professor Patel has published academic articles in many internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals such as Organization, Management Decisions, European Management Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Organizational Change Management, and Business and Society. She has also published two books and edited a volume dedicated to the topic of cultural dynamics in international business.

Reviewing three relevant streams of extant literature reveals a marked absence of a generic framework composed of a full range of negative manager/leader behaviors (from moderate to extreme) across sectors and countries, a void particularly detrimental to the effectiveness of management and leadership development (MLD) programs. To address this concern, we conduct a multiple cross-case/ cross-nation comparative analysis (MCCA) of data collected from our own 13 previous empirical replication studies (using the critical incident technique) of effective/ineffective managerial/leader behavior across nine culturally diverse countries and varied private sector industries, resulting in a comprehensive framework of perceived negative manager/leader behavior. Our generic framework is composed of five behavioral dimensions: inadequate functional behavior, unethical behavior, impersonal domineering behavior, depriving behavior, and closed/negative minded behavior, and lends support to the universal school of culture in business literature by showing that neither national culture nor sectorial specificities influence people’s perceptions of negative manager/leader behavior. It also stresses the importance of the mundane (as opposed to the glorious) in managerial/leadership work by revealing that employees’ perceptions of negative manager/leader behavior include not only conspicuously “bad” behaviors but also less conspicuous “poor” behaviors.

Ramona Demasi: “When the Private and the Public Self Don’t Align”

Lecturer: Ramona Demasi
Theme: “When the Private and the Public Self Don’t Align: The Role of Discrepant Moral Identity Dimensions in Processing Inconsistent CSR Information”
Date: Thursday, 08 December 2022
Time: 12.00 pm - 01.00 pm
Location: SI O4.04

Ramona Demasi is deputy head of the Institute for Strategic Management (Stakeholder View) at HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich and has worked as a research associate in research and consulting projects at the interface between business and society. Furthermore, she has recently finished her PhD studies at the University of Zurich. In her dissertation, she built the bridge between corporate social responsibility and individual well- and ill-being from a micro-level perspective.

Ramona`s talk is based on her joint publication with our colleague Prof. Dr. Christian Vögtlin (Co-Head Center for Corporate Responsibility) in the Journal of Business Ethics, which is among the top 50 journals listed in FT 50 Journal list.

Inconsistent information between an organization’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments and perceived CSR (in-)action is a big challenge for organizations because this is typically associated with perceptions of corporate hypocrisy and related negative stakeholder reactions. In this regard, Ramona will present a recently published Journal of Business Ethics publication, co-authored with Christian Voegtlin. In contrast to the prevailing corporate hypocrisy literature the article argues that inconsistent CSR information does not always correspond to perceptions of corporate hypocrisy; rather, responses depend on individual predispositions in processing CSR-related information. The results of the three studies show that individuals who symbolize - i.e., display - their moral identity to the public more than they internalize moral values react less negatively to inconsistent CSR information. Furthermore, this effect is amplified for extraverted but weakened for neurotic individuals. The article’s main contribution is to the corporate hypocrisy literature by providing insight into how individual predispositions matter in hypocrisy perceptions and the related individual-level positive or negative reactions to organizations.

Dr. Christian Stutz: “History as a methodology for business studies: A brief introduction and a Swiss case example”

Lecturer: Dr. Christian Stutz
Theme: “History as a methodology for business studies: A brief introduction and a Swiss case example”
Date: Thursday, 01 December 2022
Time: 12.00 pm - 01.00 pm
Location: SI O4.04

In recent years, "history" has been established as a new approach and methodology in Organization Studies and has slowly gained a foothold in other disciplines, such as Business Ethics (Stutz & Sachs, 2018; Stutz, 2021; Phillips, Schrempf-Stirling, & Stutz, 2020; 2022). The increasing relevance attributed to questions of history is also shown by recent calls for papers for special issues in the International Business discipline, including for the Journal of International Business Studies and Journal of Management Studies.

Christian will briefly introduce the potential of historical research for Business Studies, and then present a recent paper (under review) as a case example.

The paper draws from a large-scale research project on economiesuisse (the Swiss peak business interest association) and Swiss migration history. It investigates the business association’s attempts to influence and change public views on work migration from the End of WWII to the Oil Crisis. In particular, the paper reveals how business actors use nationalism and national identity constructions to promote specific interests in institutional processes.

Dr. Christian Stutz is an Academy of Finland Postdoc Fellow, embedded at the Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics (Finland), and holds a Visiting Researcher position at the Copenhagen Business School (Denmark). He acts as an Associate Editor for Management & Organizational History, and is the co-founder of the webinar series HiMOS (History in Management and Organization Studies). In addition to his academic research, Christian is also passionate about engaging with business practitioners, as evidenced by his prior leadership of an Innosuisse project.

“How to measure competitiveness?”

Lecturers: Dr. Siyana Gurova and Dr. Benedikt Zoller-Rydzek
Theme: “How to measure competitiveness?”
Date: Wednesday, 26 October 2022
Time: 12.00 pm - 01.00 pm
Location: SI O4.16

Mats Alvesson: “Doing interesting research. Producing novel research questions.”

19 September 2022

The presentation addresses how to do more imaginative and creative research. The focus on how to not be stuck in and simply reduce dominant assumptions, ideas and vocabulary, but challenge (well-picked parts of) these and come up with novel starting points for doing research. One aspect here is the re-consideration of images of various elements in the research process. The seminar is based on Alvesson & Sandberg: Constructing Research Questions (Sage 2013) and Re-imagining the Research Process (Sage 2021).

Mats Alvesson is one of the most distinguished social scientists in Europe and the world, globally recognised for his thought leadership. His work has been cited over 100’000 times on google scholar. His originality and influence are closely related to his innovative embrace and practice of multidisciplinarity, which has made him a leading scholar at the crossroads of leadership studies, organisation communication, knowledge work studies, organisation culture and identity and gender. He is most known from being an originator of Critical Management Studies, and his work on research methodology and theory building.

Dan Laufer: “Should CEOs of multinationals be spokespersons during an overseas product harm crisis?”

07 September 2022

Deciding whether to use the CEO as a spokesperson during an overseas product harm crisis is a very complex issue. However, multinationals can benefit from systematically analyzing factors related to the characteristics of the CEO, the nature of the crisis, and characteristics of consumers in overseas markets before arriving at a decision. I will discuss a framework incorporating these factors. The framework is useful to both companies in assessing whether to use the CEO during an overseas product harm crisis, as well as researchers in identifying areas for future research.

Daniel Laufer (PhD, MBA) is an Associate Professor of Marketing, and a former head of the school and member of the faculty management team (2014-2017) at Victoria University of Wellington, one of the leading universities in New Zealand. His primary area of expertise is Crisis Management, and his research focuses on crisis communications, and gaining a better understanding of how stakeholders react to crises. Dan was a faculty member at leading universities in the USA, and he also taught at highly ranked business schools in Germany, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Israel and Austria. Dan currently serves as an Associate Editor for both the European Journal of Marketing and Business Horizons and is also on a number of editorial boards including Public Relations Review and Corporate Reputation Review.

Should CEOs of multinationals be spokespersons during an overseas product harm crisis?(PDF 80,9 KB)
Guilty by association: The risk of crisis contagion(PDF 223,5 KB)

Anastassia Obydenkova: “Sustainable Development Agendas of Regional Development Banks: The EBRD and the EDB”

12 August 2022

Anastassia Obydenkova analyzes how the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) approach sustainable development in their legal documents and social media. Unlike democracies, autocracies are driven by concerns of regime survival, but they often seek legitimacy through expressed commitments to global norms. While the EBRD has a clear and detailed environmental agenda, this is not so for the EDB, which appears unconcerned about legitimizing itself on this issue. Anastassia Obydenkova`s study advances our understanding of the likely role of these organizations in sustainable development, identifying areas for further research on global environmental challenges.

Sustainable Development Agendas of Regional International Organizations: The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the Eurasian Development Bank
More information (PDF 140,5 KB)(PDF 140,5 KB)