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Graduate Institute

PhD students of the Department of Management Sciences

"Applied Research is worth every cent." (Lena Recki, PhD student Department of Management Sciences)

Applied research in economics is extremely diverse. In the following, we provide a small insight into the variety of research topics and list who supervises our doctoral students at H-BRS. Further links lead to research institutes, cooperation partners, publications, etc. (Selection, January 2021).

Joline Baumbach
Positive psychology focuses on people's strengths, resources, and potentials and examines how to support psychological well-being and positive development. PhD student Joline Baumbach is particularly interested in Positive Psychology in the work context, focusing on the recovery from work-related stress and the experience of flow. These two psychological constructs are related to health and performance-related variables, making them desirable states for employees as well as organizations. Through intervention and longitudinal studies, underlying mechanisms of action and influencing factors will be identified and analyzed. Based on this, differentiated measures for the promotion of recovery and flow will be derived in order to positively influence the long-term health and motivation of employees.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christine Syrek


Lukas Böhm
Shared mobility can become a driving force behind the urgently needed mobility turnaround. While offerings such as car, bike or scooter sharing are experiencing rapid growth in cities, where they complement public transport, most people in rural areas are dependent on a private car. As part of his doctorate, Lukas Böhm is working on lowering the technical, financial and organizational hurdles for potential providers. Central to this is the development of a decentralized mobility platform that will enable shared mobility in rural areas as well, based on a bottom-up approach.Further information to the project.
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens


Andrew Boogaards, IZNE
Indigenous Peoples from around the world have been observing a continuous state of rural economic transformation. At a fundamental level, the integration of market-based economic activities into traditional lifestyles has had a profound impact on their culture, environment, and livelihoods. Ph.D. student Andrew Boogaards has been working with Indigenous communities in southern Guyana to study the diverse livelihood strategies that local Indigenous Peoples utilise in order to balance their traditional practices with market-based activities, particularly during a global pandemic. In his study, he will examine how protective measures that were designed to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 to the region have impacted economic relationships between local residents and gold miners, and if a disruption in this relationship has led residents to transition away from market-based activities and towards traditional subsistence activities.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katja Bender


Paul Bossauer
At 45 %, motorized individual transport is still the most frequently chosen means of transport in Germany. At the same time, private vehicles stand unused in public spaces for an average of 23 hours a day. Especially in rural areas, people are dependent on private vehicles because of a lack of mobility alternatives such as sharing services. Missing mobility services is often due to the lack of economic benefits for mobility providers. In his doctoral thesis, doctoral student Paul Bossauer is investigating how new technologies, e.g. the blockchain technology, can be usefully applied to improve the mobility offer in rural areas and especially to promote the sharing of vehicles by municipalities, associations, companies with their own fleets and private individuals. Paul Bossauer is doing his research at the Projekt maas4 at Forschungsgruppe Verbraucherinformatik
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dirk Schreiber/ Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens


Lena Recki, née Cassens
Dynamic price models are no longer uncommon in some sectors, especially for travel and flight bookings. Due to changing market conditions, prices for identical products are adjusted dynamically over time and now in real time. In her research, Lena Recki  deals with the effects of this pricing policy on consumer behaviour. With her findings she wants to show how customers perceive and accept dynamic prices and what potential the model offers in industries such as food retailing. Since 2019, Lena Recki holds a scholarship of the Graduate Institute (Reiner Clement-scholarship).
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens


Erik Dethier, IVI

Due to the steady advance of digitalisation, it can be commonly observed that all products are increasingly developing into services in runtime contracts (subscriptions). In this context, the term "Everything-as-a-Service" (XaaS) is usually used. As a result, consumers are entering into more and more (term) contracts over which they need to keep an overview (e.g. compare, monitor terms, etc.) and interact with providers (e.g. cancel). To support this, there are already many apps, service providers and emerging start-ups. PhD student Erik Dethier is looking at how information technology can help consumers manage their contracts, finances and thus their providers. Together with his colleagues from the research group Consumer Informatics, he is conducting research on consumers and their acceptance and integration of such IT into their everyday practices, as well as on developers of such IT/apps.
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens/ Prof. Dr. Alexander Boden



Jéssica Francine Felappi, IZNE
Urban green spaces are associated with manifold benefits to human health and well-being, as well as biodiversity conservation. Less is known about the role of green space quality on the provision of these services and which conflicts may arise when combining in the same place multiple functions. In her research, PhD student Jessica Felappi investigates which park characteristics affect mental health outcomes and biodiversity support in a megacity of the Global South (Sao Paulo, Brazil). The aim is to identify synergies and trade-offs between requirements for human use and biodiversity conservation so that recommendations can be developed to improve the planning and management of multifunctional urban parks.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wiltrud Terlau


Silvia Berenice Fischer, IZNE
Cities are highly prone to the impacts of extreme weather events; impacts such as: rise in extreme temperatures, increase in extreme rainfalls and floods, heat-island aggravation, yield decrease and urban food insecurity are expected to increase the vulnerability of urban agricultural systems. In this sense, vulnerability and risk assessments are essential to enable practitioners and decision-makers to identify who are the vulnerable social groups and why, to establish effective adaptation action. Taking the case of Sao Paulo city, from a socio-ecological perspective, PhD student Silvia Berenice Fischer aims to assess the extreme weather events vulnerability of urban and peri-urban agriculture and the current adaptation strategies. Through a mixed-methods approach, she characterizes vulnerability and analyzes the urban farmer´s adaptation strategies. Her study will contribute to the development of policy options to enhance resilience and reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wiltrud Terlau


Alina Gerke
Compared to men, women are much less likely to decide to start their own business. Although both sexes face a number of hurdles in the start-up process, female entrepreneurs in particular are still too often afraid that they will not be able to reconcile starting up a business with having a family. However, the key factor for entrepreneurial success, especially in such an initial phase, is the individual ability to deal with stress effectively and in the long term. Because the issue of health is also becoming increasingly important, healthy (self-) leadership is not only significant for the performance of female founders. As leaders, they also serve as role models. With the aim of increasing women's motivation to start a business and their success in doing so, doctoral student Alina Gerke is developing a gender- and phase-specific support concept based on empirical research that focuses in particular on strengthening the work-life balance and building up health-related resources. 

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Patrizia Ianiro-Dahm


Pascal Görres
Family businesses can be found all over the world in the most diverse forms. Everything is represented, from the smallest company to the internationally operating large enterprise. As different as family businesses are, they all face the great challenge of company succession at some point in time. How can the success of such a business succession be ensured? This is where controlling comes into play. Doctoral student Pascal Görres examines the extent to which controlling can act as an enabler for a successful succession process and what influence it can thus have on a sustainable company survival. In doing so, the special characteristics of the different types of family-owned companies and their individual forms of controlling should also be taken into account.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Wiesehahn


Andreas Hahn
What will mobility look like in the future? In view of climate change, high levels of particulate matter and congested inner cities, this question is currently the subject of social negotiation, and it is a very emotional one. For doctoral student Andreas Hahn, the human being with his or her individual needs is the focus of mobility. One focus of his transport research is on the role of local public transport (ÖPNV) in the context of a necessary shift from motorised private transport, which is still dominant throughout Germany (IV). In this context, he is particularly concerned with the impact of technological developments such as Smart City on future mobility.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dirk Schreiber, Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens


Christine Kawa
Christine Kawa
investigates how students at the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences can be persuaded to lead healthier lives. The students spend a large part of their everyday life on campus and often even a little "nudge" in the right direction helps to induce health-promoting behaviour. Doctoral student Christine Kawa uses experimental psychological methods, among other things, to investigate how only small changes in everyday decision-making situations as interventions can bring about a positive change in the health behaviour of the target group. In the future, successful interventions will be integrated at the university in order to promote the health behaviour of the students in a sustainable way. Christina Kawa is doing her research within the project Gesunde Hochschule
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Patrizia Ianiro-Dahm


Rebecca Komp
Are short absences inevitably an indication of healthy employees? Doctoral student Rebecca Komp pursues this question and examines the phenomenon of so-called "presenteism" in her dissertation. Presenteism refers to the behaviour to appear at the workplace, although the state of health is so impaired that the corresponding employee should actually recover at home. Through qualitative and quantitative studies, reasons for presenteeism should be identified, the negative effects should be highlighted and measures to reduce presenteeism should be developed. In the further course of the promotion also presenteism will be examined with students. Rebecca Komp is doing her research within the project  Gesunde Hochschule.
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Patrizia Ianiro-Dahm


Veronika Krauß
Advanced technology makes it possible to display digital information distributed in space and even to create artificial, purely virtual realities. These kinds of augmented and virtual reality user interfaces pose new challenges to designers and users from design to use, as they differ fundamentally from conventional applications in many ways. In the context of her dissertation, doctoral student Veronika Krauß is researching the requirements that designers and users place on design tools and processes and how the design of such systems can be made more accessible. Her special focus is on the investigation of prototypes.

Member of the Institute for Digital Consumption

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens, Prof. Dr. Alexander Boden


Ben Lenk-Ostendorf
Climate change is one of the biggest global threats and challenges. In the coming years, there must be massive social and economic change to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. To bring about this major transformation, there needs to be broad support from the population. Doctoral student Ben Lenk-Ostendorf is conducting research with the aim of guaranteeing this support and giving the change a positive connotation. To this end, he is dealing with knowledge transfer, calls to action and attitudes towards climate protection and is trying to find out how gamification can help to improve these processes. He tries to spread climate activism in a playful way and develops interdisciplinary software for this purpose. Want to join in? Visit for more information on the current project.

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Christine Syrek


Klaudia Michalek-Kursawe, IZNE
Over the past few years, developing and emerging countries have increasingly tried out new concepts for extending social health insurance to the informal sector. A nationwide insurance of the entire population in the form of universal health insurance is one of them. However, entitlement to insurance benefits can also create incentives to change behaviour. For this reason, Klaudia Michalek-Kursawe's research examines the effects of universal health insurance on labour market variables and human capital in the informal sector. The focus is particularly on workers with a low level of human capital, who are mostly in unskilled work in the agricultural sector. It also examines which policy instruments can promote a transition to formal employment.
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Katja Bender


Aleksandra Paluch
Personalities found companies. Aleksandra Paluch develops a modular coaching concept based on a questionnaire for the acquisition of personality traits of successful company founders, which can be individually adapted to the personality trait of the company founder. In addition to the evaluation of the concept, it also clarifies the question of changing the specific personality traits for successful or unsuccessful company founders and examines whether the well-being of the coached company founders differs from that of the non-coached founders. Other relevant constructs, such as the individual's ability to deal with change, to communicate or to network, should expand the research question in the course of the doctorate.
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Peter Muck


Ana Maria Perez Arredondo, IZNE
Doctoral student Ana Maria Perez Arredondo researches the interconnections of humans and animals with their environment, better known as the "One-Health" approach, and its integration into Ghana's country policy. Her interest lies in the capital of Ghana, Accra, and the inter-sectoral cooperation there, which has enabled various actors to pursue comprehensive health outcomes for all. As the inclusion of the "One-Health" approach in Ghana's political agenda is relatively new, PhD student Ana Maria Perez Arredondo evaluates the processes of policy development and implementation and examines the relationship between different environments (e.g. social, political, economic, built, natural), and their impact on health and poverty.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katja Bender


Dina Ramien
In today's society, the striving for better performance is a phenomenon that has long since ceased to be associated solely with sport. The attempt to increase the cognitive performance of healthy persons by taking psychoactive substances is called neuroenhancement. In her research, Doctoral student Dina Ramien investigates the following question: Are there clear causes and influencing factors that trigger the intake of neuroenhancement substances? Empirical studies are intended to identify the reasons for neuroenhancement and, based on this, to develop differentiated preventive measures to reduce neuroenhancement.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christine Syrek


Anna Röltgen
Digital media are changing the way we communicate and thus also the way we work together within teams and between managers and employees. Doctoral student Anna Röltgen investigates which leadership behaviors have a motivating effect in digital collaboration, which skills are a prerequisite for good digital collaboration and how this can be improved.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christine Syrek


Usha Singh
"War for Talent" is the battle for qualified employees in times of a shortage of skilled workers. Due to globalization and demographic change, German companies are also in the midst of this battle for the best brains. PhD student Usha Singh investigates how areas of personnel planning in companies can be optimized: To what extent can visible features such as facial expressions or generational affiliation be used in application procedures? Do younger generations, in particular Generation Y, have different job ideas than people belonging to older generations? Different older employees may also have different health needs. For this reason, Usha Singh also questions trends in sustainable company health management, especially with regard to the design of breaks. Since 2017, Usha Singh is scholarshipholder of the Graduate Institute (Reiner Clement-Stipendium).
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Theo Peters