Research at Webster Vienna
This month, Dr. Eva Zedlacher, Assistant Professor, along with recent MBA graduate student Allison Snowden, will be awarded the “Best New Directions Paper” honor by the Conflict Management Division of this year’s annual meeting of the renowned Academy of Management.
The Academy of Management Annual Meeting is the largest and most prestigious management conference worldwide. The award is given for their paper “Practitioners' blame patterns and intervention measures for workplace bullying complaints.". The official award ceremony is at the end of the month. We spoke with both award recipients to get their reaction and to find out a little bit more about their study and the conference.
WVPU: Congratulations on your recent award, this is a indeed a great achievement. Can you tell us a little bit more about the award and the Academy of Management for those who are not familiar?
Dr. Zedlacher: Thanks a lot for the congratulations. I am very happy about this award. The Academy of Management hosts their annual Meeting where management scholars from around the world can submit and present their latest study findings. The Best New Directions Paper award from the Conflict Management division acknowledges studies that make a significant contribution to conflict literature through innovation involving but not limited to the innovative use of new methods or a new approach/venue for the study of conflict and negotiation in organizations and broader society.
So, when I got this mail with the information about the award by the program chair, it really took me by surprise!
WVPU: And Ms. Snowden, what was your reaction to the news?
Ms. Snowden: This was an amazing surprise. I was thrilled to have a paper accepted by the Academy of Management in the first place; to have it receive an award as well was astounding! This is certainly the first honor of the type I have received.
WVPU: Could you tell us about your submission paper “Practitioners' blame patterns and intervention measures for workplace bullying complaints" and what “new direction” it takes?
Dr. Zedlacher: The paper stems from my first project supported by the Projektfonds 4.0 of the Lower Austria Chamber of Labor, which also served as the basis for Allison Snowden’s graduate thesis project, which she finished earlier this year. I have done research on the challenge to define and intervene adequately in workplace bullying incidences before.
The goal of this very qualitative study was to explore employee representatives’ and HR professionals’ interpretations and organizational responses to a fictional workplace bullying complaint, when the alleged target has either received high or low performance ratings in the past. While I do not want to discuss all results now, one of our major findings was that third parties often do not blame only one actor or factor for workplace bullying, but engage in so-called “conjunctive” blaming (e.g. blaming the relationship between the actors predominantly for the bullying, but also holding the alleged target culpable to some extent).
However, a rejection to label the case as “workplace bullying” mostly came with blaming only the victim’s deficiencies and personality. These research findings are relevant for improved intervention and for how to avoid immediate victim-blaming in organizational practice.
WVPU: Ms. Snowden, this could certainly indicate a promising career in research. Now that you’ve had a taste of success as a researcher, is this an area you are considering to pursue further?
Ms. Snowden: Finishing my MBA thesis was a bit of a struggle. While completing my
thesis I was working, had two toddlers to care for, and there was the pandemic. Given
that, at the moment I am enjoying a break from any new research.
That being said, I am a life-long learner. My MBA was my 4th academic program - I can’t seem to stay out of classrooms - so it's likely I will eventually enroll in a PhD program or will otherwise pursue research.
WVPU: You are quite accomplished! What is the secret to your success?
Ms. Snowden: The close cooperation and mentorship offered at WVPU made this possible. Dr. Zedlacher, my thesis supervisor, offered me the unique opportunity to collaborate on a funded research project, which served both as the basis for my MBA thesis and for this paper. Dr. Zedlacher was a dedicated thesis supervisor who spent an extraordinary amount of time working with me and taught me so much.
Following the successful defense of my thesis, she also gave me the chance to collaborate on two conference papers and one article we submitted for publication. This level of support and collaboration from faculty is one of WVPU’s greatest strengths, and I am grateful for the opportunities it afforded me.
WVPU: Dr. Zedlacher, this sounds like you should do another study together. So, what is next?
Dr. Zedlacher: That is true, I really enjoyed working with Allison, since she was genuinely interested in the topic and showed great potential for a research career! Right now, a revised version of our conference article is under review in a journal; we hope to publish it soon! Other than that, I am continuing to work on the projects funded by the Lower Austria Chamber of Labor. I am currently in the process of editing an interactive training movie on workplace bullying for one of those projects.
At this point, I would also like to say my thanks to Silvia Feuchtl and her colleagues from Chamber of Labour and all other professionals, who have given us such great support so far in data collection. Doing research on conflicts and workplace bullying is often challenging, since access to organizations and to anonymous data from victims, bystanders and perpetrators often proves difficult given the delicate matter.
Hence, if an organization desires support for improved intervention and/or anonymous scientific evaluation and consultation, please do not hesitate to contact me! Early prevention is the best measure in order to fight bullying at its roots and to eventually avoid high productivity losses for everyone involved.
WVPU: That is very exciting indeed. Please keep us posted. We will definitely inform managers and organizations about your offer regarding scientific consultation for such important and timely topics such as workplace bullying and harassment. Thank you both for your time. Congratulations once again!
Dr. Zedlacher: Thank you.
Ms. Snowden: Thank you.
Dr. Zedlacher has also recently given a radio interview for the Viennese Radio Orange about her research and what constitutes workplace bullying (19th June, 2021). You can listen to the talk here.
Learn more about the Academy of Management.
Faculty - Business and Management
Active in 2020-2021
Dr. Florin Abazi
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
Dr. Paul Fischer, LLM
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
Dr. Roman G. Seligo
Mr. Robert Senz
Dr. A. Nicholas Simon
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
“Vienna dialogue on the future of Europe”
At the "Wiener Dialog zur Zukunft Europas“ (Vienna dialogue on the future of Europe), organized by the University of Passau and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on May 10, 2021, Dr. Franco Algieri was part of an expert group discussing the future of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
In the framework of the Vienna dialogue scholars and practitioners from both countries analyze the potential of German-Austrian cooperation within the EU.
Research discussion: Interstitial organizations and the transformation of the liberal international order
Webster World Report has released a new podcast remixing some of the most popular interviews and discussions on the program in the past 14+ months. Prof. Jozef Bátora was on the program discussing his research on the ongoing transformation of the liberal international order in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Putting an emphasis on the role of private military companies as interstitial organizations bringing about transformation of warfare in conflicts worldwide, he discussed the systemic implications for the liberal international order.
Faculty - International Relations
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
Univ.-Ass. Mag. Dr. Marcel Fink
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.
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
Dr. Bradley Wiggins, associate professor and head of the Media Communications Department, was recently invited to give a talk for the Centre for Data Culture & Society at the University of Edinburgh. Hosted by the Meme Studies Research Network, the talk is scheduled to take place via Zoom at 4:00pm (CET) on Thursday, July 29. Information about signing up to attend the talk is available here.
The topic of the talk relates to Dr. Wiggins' book, The Discursive Power of Memes in Digital Culture, but will also include current reflections on this increasingly important and relevant part of digital culture.
"Internet memes often address a real-world event, and this means that memes often also convey a certain media narrative. Also, I claim that memes are perhaps best understood as a new form of art, and one that is conceptually linked to Dadaism, Surrealism, and related forms of art. I will discuss these and related subjects in the talk, but I will also include as current examples as possible".
In addition, Dr. Wiggins was interviewed recently by Doha News, for an article called "Are we meme-ing too much? How images became a key communication tool".
Here is a brief excerpt from the article: "In his research, Dr. Wiggins came across a Facebook group called 'Zoom memes for self Quaranteens', in which people shared content to cope with the sudden need for all college students to begin remote learning. During the time of panic and spread of news denying the presence of the pandemic, the students were able to continue to share memes about the outbreak. “I’ve never seen so far in the sample [any actual] questioning of science. So maybe we can view memes as educational. It seems that it is developing in that direction,” said Dr. Wiggins. In some cases, memes can even deliver major global news events to the masses, helping disseminate important information to educate and raise awareness. Dr. Wiggins believes that the use of memes to address global issues also can turn them into a measure of “micro-activism”.
Here is the link to that interview.
Faculty - Strategic Communication
Using facial behavior to predict psychological maladjustment
Previous research suggests the existence of connections between nonverbal behavior and emotional processes. Given the association between emotion and psychological disorders, nonverbal behavior may be relevant cues of the processes underlying psychopathology. In an attempt to corroborate this idea, we investigated the relationships between facial behavior and psychological maladjustment.
Dyadic interviews were conducted in the CanBeLab in which participants discussed a series of events in relation to fundamental life situations. These interviews were recorded with cameras and microphones and the video recordings were used in automatic facial behavior analyses. Scores obtained on the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) were taken as measures of an individual’s maladjustment. Correlation analyses revealed a number of moderate negative associations between facial behavior and self-reported depression and stress, suggesting that individuals who scored high on the depression subscale of the DASS tended to be less expressive facially.
The variability of facial behavior over time was also negatively correlated with scores
on the stress subscale. People displaying low variation in facial behavior reported
feeling more stressed. All in all, the idea that facial behavior can be used as an
indicator of maladjustment processes is supported by our data and further research
will examine whether these associations hold for other expressive modalities such
as vocal and bodily cues. This research suggest that systematic measurements of nonverbal
behavior appear to be valuable in the assessment of psychopathology, which makes it
particularly relevant for the practice of counseling and psychotherapy.
This study was part of Ielyzaveta Golovina's Senior Thesis research, supervised by Dr. Marc Méhu. The data used in this research was partly collected by students of the MA in Psychology with an emphasis in Counseling Psychology within the remit of the course Applied Statistics and Research Methods in Spring 2019.
Faculty - Psychology
Active in 2020 - 2021
Aisha Bajwa, PharmD
Dr. Christine Butterfield
Psychiatry & Psychotherapy
Dr. Helga Felsberger
Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis
Dr. Kathleen Hodkinson
Dr. Jessica Howells
Dr. Maria Lolich
Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Science
Dr. Isabella Sarto-Jackson
Dr. Gregory Bartel
Business, Marketing, Cognitive Science
Dr. Dezsoe Birkas-Kovats
Psychiatry & Psychotherapy
Dr. Ricardo Draghi-Lorenz
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Dr. Romualdo Fernandes Ramos
Social Psychology & Occupational Health
Heather Moon-Vogels, MA
Mag. Cornelia Kastner
Clinical Psychology, Organizational Psychology
Mag. Krista Rothschild
Clinical & Health Psychology
Mag. Sandra Velásquez
Clinical & Health Psychology
Antonija Pacek, M. Phil
Psychology of Education
Founded in 1915, Webster University is committed to ensuring high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Prepare for your next step and explore our community resources.