Webster Vienna Private University is delivering new opportunities through globally significant research and innovation excellence based on its Strategic Plan. We are committed to high-quality academic research combining theory and practice, an international perspective, as well as a strong integration of teaching and research.
Webster Vienna Private University is delivering new opportunities through globally significant research and innovation excellence based on its Strategic Plan. We are committed to high-quality academic research combining theory and practice, an international perspective, as well as a strong integration of teaching and research.

Research at Webster Vienna

Due to her outstanding contribution to the field, Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Maria Teresa Punzi was invited by the Asian Development Bank to contribute to their upcoming book titled Debt Sustainability in Asia. In late November, she had the opportunity to present her chapter on household debt during the Bank’s international conference, held virtually this year. Dr. Punzi shared her experience with us:

WVPU: Earlier this year you were handpicked to contribute to the Asian Development Bank’s book on debt sustainability. Can you tell us a little about how that came to pass and the topic(s) you were asked to cover?

Dr. Punzi: In March of this year, the Asian Development Bank approached me about writing a chapter on household debt in Asia for a book they plan to publish in 2021. I have published extensively on this topic in the past and was asked to contribute based on my expertise on the subject. I started setting my idea on how to organize the study for my chapter in April and met several times with staff from the Asian Development Bank to help organize and shape the book. The book itself, titled "Debt Sustainability in Asia", will consist of 19 chapters with contributors from around the world.

WVPU: What were some of the key findings that emerged as you studied household debt in Asia?

Dr. Punzi: The project was aimed at studying and assessing the household debt in Asia during the last decade. Many Asian economies show a large increase in their household debt-to-GDP ratio, similar to the United States just before the global financial crisis in 2007. For example, South Korea reached the household debt-to-GDP ratio around 98% by the end of 2019 (the U.S. household debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 99% by the end of 2007). 

Household leverage has also been high or rising in the People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, and Thailand, posing high risk in terms of financial stability. The study finds that the Asian region shows that an increase in household debt initially increases real GDP, but such a rise is very short-lived as real GDP begins to decline after 1 year. This phenomenon indicates that elevated household debt is a precursor of economic recessions.

WVPU: How serious do you think these current shifts in the household debt-to-GDP could be?

Dr. Punzi: The topic is very important. An excessive level of indebtedness in a country could pose a risk of default as the debt becomes unsustainable and households stop servicing their debt. When that happens, banks will face serious problems due to balance sheet distress. More seriously, high level of household debt-to-GDP ratio could even lead to a deep recession.

The problem of high household debt level can be aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many households have suffered from a sudden decrease in income due to seized working hours, furloughs and outright unemployment, making their ability to repay the debt difficult.

WVPU: Can you share some final thoughts on this topic and any potential future implications your study may have?

Dr. Punzi: Since the global financial crisis, policy-makers have worked diligently to develop instruments to avoid excessive indebtedness and consequential recession. However, many countries in Asia have been accumulating large levels of debt, posing questions as to the effectiveness of the latest instruments proposed by policy-makers. I would suggest that more research should be done to lean against the credit cycle if we are to avoid future recessions.

Faculty - Business and Management

Dr. Nikolaos Antonakakis
Head of Department and Associate Professor and Area Coordinator for Economics

Dr. Pernille Eskerod
Full Professor and Area Coordinator for Management and Organizational Behavior

Dr. Maria Madlberger
Full Professor and Area Coordinator for Marketing

Dr. Menbere Workie Tiruneh
Associate Professor
Finance and Economics

Dr. Ronald Hochreiter
Associate Professor

Dr. Maria-Teresa Punzi
Assistant Professor

Dr. Eva Zedlacher
Assistant Professor

Mr. Adam Louis Troldahl, MA
Department Coordinator

Ms. Dorothy Kishbaugh, LMSW
Department Coordinator

Active in 2020-2021

Dr. Florin Abazi
Computer Science

Dr. Mehdi Ali

Dr. Maximilian Benner, M.Sc.

Mr. Alfred Dolecek, MSc.
Accounting and Marketing

Univ.-Doz. Dr. Claus Ebster
Marketing & Management

Mag. Alexandra Federer, MBA

Mr. Massimiliano Falcinelli, MS
Computer Science

Dr. Paul Fischer, LLM
Business Law

Dr. Andrea Gaal

Dr. Hossein Hassani

Ms. Casandra Hutchinson, MSc
Math & Statistics

Prof. Mag. Dr. Dr. Petra Inwinkl

Mr. Michael Kapfer, MBA
Marketing & Public Relations

Dr. Christian Kreuzer

Dr. Christopher Kronenberg
Management & Entrepreneurship

Mr. Charles La Fond, MBA

Dr. Xavier Matteucci

Mr. Alan Noble, MA

Dr. Heinz Palasser, MBA, MSc

Mag. Svetla Pehlivanova-Porenta

Dr. Hanno Poeschl, MSc, MBA
Finance & Management

Dr. Rudolf Rössel, MBA
Computer Science

Dr. Roman G. Seligo
Sales Management

Mr. Robert Senz

Dr. A. Nicholas Simon
Business Law

Dr. Christian Steineder

Mr. Miguel Suarez Vasquez, PhD, MSc, MBA
Business & Accounting

Dr. Owat Sunanta
Math & Statistics

Mr. William Tippin, DM, CMC
Management [Fall 2020 Visiting Sverdrup Fellow]

Mr. Emil Tsenov, MA

Dipl.Kfm. Norbert Wetzel, MBA
Finance & Human Resources Management

Mag. Christian Wozabal, MBA


Anatoly Reshetnikov, Assistant Professor at WVPU’s International Relations Department, has contributed an article to a yearly forum that facilitates scholarly exchange between Russian and Western research institutions and is published by a SAGE journal New Perspectives. Every year, the journal invites several leading academics from outside Russia to respond to the yearly forecast “Russia and the World” prepared by a collective of authors from the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO).

This year’s pool of contributors to the forum include Richard Sakwa (University of Kent), Ruth Deyermond (King’s College London), Elizaveta Gaufman (University of Groningen), and other notable scholars. In his contribution titled “A country for old men: The pitfalls of conservative political analysis during crises”, Reshetnikov is pondering on several surprising parallels and contrasts between IMEMO’s forecast within the context of the current global crisis and W.B Yeats’ poetry within the context of its time.

To read the full issue of the journal, please, click here.

Faculty - International Relations

Dr. Franco Algieri
Associate Professor and Head of Department

Dr. Jozef Batora

Joachim Honeck, MA

Katharina Neumann, BA
Department Coordinator

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johannes Pollak
Professor of Political Science and Director of WVPU

Dr. Anatoly Reshetnikov
Assistant Professor

Mag. Ralph Schöllhammer, MA

Dr. Samuel R. Schubert
Assistant Professor and Associate Director of WVPU

Active in 2020 - 2021

Aner Barzilay, PhD
Topics in Modern European History

Dr. Elina Brutschin
Methods of Political Inquiry
Advanced Research Methods

Dr. J. Werner Druml
International Affair

Univ.-Ass. Mag. Dr. Marcel Fink
Comparative Politics

Dr. Eric Frey
International Political Economy

Mag. Gerlad Garber
Introduction to Political Argumentation and Debate

Dr. Sandra Goldstein
Middle East Area Studies

MMag. Dr. iur. Ralph Janik, LL.M.
International Law

Dr. Monika Mokre
Politics of Development
Refugee and Migration Movements

Prof. Iver B. Neumann, PhD
War and Diplomacy

Mag. Dr Dieter Reinisch MRes
The Age of Total War: Europe 1890-1945
Contemporary Europe: 1945-Present

Dr. Astrid Reisinger Coracini
International Law

Recently, associate professor Dr. Bradley Wiggins was featured as the main guest on an episode of the new podcast series out of the United Kingdom entitled Highbrow Drivel hosted by comedian Anthony Jeannot. The episode focuses on Dr. Wiggins' perspectives on internet culture, including deep discussion dives into memes, fake news, conspiracy theories, and how far-right movements find fecund ground in various online spaces.

The episode will be released on Jan 24, 2021, and this post will be updated accordingly. Here is the homepage of the Highbrow Drivel podcast.

Bradley E Wiggins, PhD has been associate professor and department head of Media Communications at Webster Vienna Private University since July 2015. His research interests include digital culture, new media, games and simulations, and intercultural communication. His scholarship has been published in competitive journals, such as Simulation & Gaming, New Media & Society, International Journal of Communication, and International Journal of Game-Based Learning. He has presented his scholarship at the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, Popular Culture Association, and at conferences in Switzerland, Germany, and Turkey. 

Faculty - Media Communications

Bradley E. Wiggins, Ph.D
Associate Professor and Head of Department

Meng Chen, Ph.D
Assistant Professor

Anthony Löwstedt, Ph.D
Assistant Professor

Mag. Daniela Machian
Department Coordinator

Phil Moran, PhD
Media Production

Rafal Morusiewicz, PhD
Film studies

Seth Weiner, BFA, M.Arch
Digital production tools


The Role of Mental Toughness, Competitive Anxiety, and Team Cohesion in Athletic Performance among Women’s Competitive Rugby

Among competitive sports, psychological and team-related factors play an important role in achieving successful outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of mental toughness (MT), competitive anxiety (CA), team cohesion (TC), in rugby performance. Participants were 39 female athletes competing at the 2019 Austrian Women’s 7s Series Championship Tournament. The participants completed questionnaires aimed at measuring perceived mental toughness, anxiety towards sport, team cohesion. In addition, different measures of competitive performance were recorded based on the team’s ranking at the end of the tournament and based on the individual player’s performance during the tournament (frequency of tackles, passes, catches, tries, and kicks).

Bivariate Pearson correlation and multiple linear regression analyses revealed interesting findings about individual performance. Players who invested a lot of energy during the game (as measured by the number of actions such as tackling, passing, etc.) also appeared to report a higher attraction to the team and to the task at hand. These players were also well aware of their own performance during the game. Interestingly, among the players who invested a lot of energy during the game, those who reported higher levels of mental toughness were also those who scored the most points for their team. Although competitive anxiety negatively correlated with mental toughness, it was not significantly related to individual performance. These results suggest that overall rugby performance and decisive actions depend on different psychological processes. While the overall physical involvement in the game depends on an individual’s attraction to the group, the ability to score points depends on confidence and constancy (two sub-components of mental toughness). This research has implications for the development of training strategies in team sports, as it suggests that a healthy mixture of social and individual skills likely impacts individual performance, with overall positive consequences for the team.

This study was conducted at WVPU Psychology Department by MA student Andrée-Claude Larocque, who was supervised by Dr. Marc Mehu.

Faculty - Psychology

Marc Mehu, PhD Associate

Professor / Interim Head of the Psychology Department



Ms. Chryssi Tsounta, MSc

Psychology Department Coordinator


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