Project team

Manfred Auer                                                                           auer

Univ. Prof. Dr. Manfred Auer: My research concentrates on employer branding, work-family interface and equal opportunity policies. My focus on employer branding includes practices of creating, implementing and communicating employer brands as well as understanding employer branding as a communicative interface that influences employer-(potential)employee relationships.

Most of the empirical work I do is qualitative including a mixture of different methods. Theoretically I mainly worked with structuration theory referring to Anthony Giddens original version but also to the idea of “strong structuration” (Rob Stones). Recently I develop a strong interest in practice-based studies and related theoretical and methodological discussions.



Edlinger, G. & Auer, M. (2015). Veränderungen geplanter Veränderungsprozesse in Organisationen: eine kritische Betrachtung. profile - Internationale Zeitschrift für Lernen, Veränderung, Dialog, 24, S.42-52. 

Auer, M./Edlinger, G./Mölk, A. (2014). Interpretationen und Rekonstruktionen einer Arbeitgebermarke durch unternehmensexterne Stakeholder: eine explorative Studie. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management (Zeitschrift für Personalforschung), 28(3). S.346-366.

Auer, M./Welte, H. (2013). The impact of single agents on gender equity in organizations – the case of Austrian equal opportunity active works councillors. In: Industrielle Beziehungen (German Journal of Industrial Relations), 3, S.179-198.

Auer, M./Welte, H. (2009): Work-family reconciliation policies without equal opportunities? The case of Austria. In: Community, Work and Family, 4, S.389-407.

Gabriela Edlingeredlinger

My research is devoted to issues concerning the informal encounter of employees and employers in everyday (working) life and particularly in organizational stakeholder interaction. I aim for my research as well as other professional activities to contribute to the development of processes that support a joint movement of employees and employers towards the creation and maintenance of workplaces that foster social equality as well as individual wellbeing as key aspects of sustainable success. One example for an integrated, sustainable economic model is the Economy for the common good (, where I work in a voluntary capacity as editor in charge of the topic “workplace quality and affirmative action”.

So far, my research approach was mostly qualitative and conceptual, yet rooted in a deep interest in empirical findings. My ontological and epistemological views are strongly influenced by Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of immanence. The theoretical concepts that I engage with are secondary to the empirical phenomena at hand; currently the following topics are of particular significance in my research: irony in relation to anti-essentialist hermeneutics (Richard Rorty), a three-dimensional theory of justice (Nancy Fraser) and (cultural) boundary work (Thomas Gieryn).

Recent Publications 

Edlinger, G. (2015). Employer brand management as boundary-work: a grounded theory analysis of employer brand managers' narrative accounts. Human Resource Management Journal. 25(4),  443–457.

Edlinger, G. & Auer, M. (2015). Veränderungen geplanter Veränderungsprozesse in Organisationen: eine kritische Betrachtung. profile - Internationale Zeitschrift für Lernen, Veränderung, Dialog, profile 24. S.42-52. 

  Auer, M., Edlinger, G. & Mölk, A. (2014). Interpretationen und Rekonstruktionen einer Arbeitgebermarke durch unternehmensexterne Stakeholder: eine explorative Studie. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management (Zeitschrift für Personalforschung), 28(3). S.346-366.  

Edlinger, G. (2011). Leaving Academia: Offering Resources for Academic Leavers and Accounting for the Phenomenon of Brain Drain in Academia. - Review of LATISS - Learning and Teaching. The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences Vol. 4, Issue 3/2011

Andrea Hemetsberger

information here!

Maria Kreuzerkreuzer

Maria Kreuzer works as brand consultant for the Institut für Marketing - Strategieberatung in Innsbruck. Major projects focus around brand strategy, brand and market research for national and international companies. Additionally Maria lectures at the Leopold-Franzens-University of Innsbruck brand monitoring, marketing distribution, and qualitative research and works on several research projects around brands, consumption, consumer identity, and advancing qualitative research methods. In her dissertation Maria approached brands from a neuroscientific perspective and worked on the retrieval and understanding of embodied brand knowledge. Together with her research partner Sylvia von Wallpach, Maria has developed Multi-Sensory Sculpting®, a qualitative research method, which allows eliciting multi-sensory and non-conscious brand knowledge. Multi-Sensory Sculpting® has won several awards like the “Preis der Deutschen Marktforschung 2012“ or the “Wissenschaftspreis des Markenverbandes & GEM, 2. Platz, 2014“. Maria and Sylvia have published their academic research in journals like the Journal of Business Research or Psychology & Marketing.

Selected publications:

von Wallpach, Sylvia; Kreuzer, Maria (2013). Multi-sensory sculpting (MSS): Eliciting embodied brand knowledge via multi-sensory metaphors. Journal of Business Research, Special Issue on Advancing Research Methods in Marketing. Volume 66, Issue 9, pp. 1325-1331.

Koll, Oliver, von Wallpach, Sylvia & Kreuzer, Maria (2010). Multi-Method Research on Consumer-Brand Associations: Comparing Free Associations, Storytelling, and Collages. Psychology & Marketing, 27 (6), 584-602.

Kreuzer, Maria, Sylvia von Wallpach & Martina Bauer (2013). Employee during the day, consumer at night: How multiple stakeholder roles impact brand meaning. Proceedings of the 42nd EMAC 2013, Istanbul.

Andreas Mölkmoelk

Mag. Dr. Andreas Mölk, M.A. is management consultant as well as lector and member of the EBKOM research project at the University of Innsbruck. He wrote his dissertation on the role of corporate cultures in the process of creating and implementing employer brands. His particular research interests are in the fields of Human Resource Management and Organization Studies, especially Employer Branding, Organizational Image and Projects. His teaching experience covers HR topics such as International Human Resource Management, Leadership and Motivation as well as Recruitment, Selection and Employer Branding. Furthermore he is member of following research projects: „Die Herstellung von Arbeitgebermarken als sozialer Prozess – eine empirische Untersuchung“ (Aktion Swarovski); „Employer Branding in der Tiroler Hotellerie“.

Selected Publications

Auer, M., Edlinger, G. & Mölk, A. (2014). Interpretationen und Rekonstruktionen einer Arbeitgebermarke durch unternehmensexterne Stakeholder: eine explorative Studie. Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, 28(3) (on-line first).

Mölk, A. (2011). Die Rolle der Unternehmenskultur bei Konzeptionalisierung und Implementierung von Employer Brands. Dissertation. Innsbruck. 

Mike Peterspeters

Dr. Mike Peters is Associate Professor of Management at the University of Innsbruck and Senior Lecturer at the Management Center Innsbruck, MCI Tourism. After finalizing his apprenticeship he was working for several years in the hotel industry in Germany before he was studying social sciences at the Universities of Regensburg (Germany) and Innsbruck (Austria). He holds a doctoral degree and a professorship in the field of business management.

Mike Peters gained experience in international management projects dealing with international cooperative product development initiatives. He was involved in EU Alpine Space programme projects (e.g. ALPSHEALTHCOMP, CLIMALPTOUR) which were mainly focusing on the development of interregional product and service development (best) practices. His research often addressed small business’ growth problems which also include human resource management issues, such as recruiting or career development. His teaching experience covers various topics such as innovation management and product development, entrepreneurship and small business management (incl. business model development). Mike Peters published in well-known international journals (e.g. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Annals of Tourism Research) and edited several books (dealing with innovation management and entrepreneurship in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry). Recent applied research projects dealt with destination governance, the evaluation of the first youth Olympic Winter Games (for the International Olympic Committee), with growth hurdles of small and medium-sized. He is president of the ICRET (International Center of Research and Education in Tourism) and board member of the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Europe.

Selected Publications

MacKenzie, M., Peters, M. (2014). Hospitality Managers‘ Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility: An Explorative Study. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 19(3), 257-272.

Geiß, T., Raich, M., Peters, M. (2013). Motivation und Einflussfaktoren auf unternehmerisches Handeln. Beispiel der Pfleger und Therapeuten. HeilberufeSCIENCE, 4(2), 63-72. 

Brustbauer, J.K., Peters, M. (2013). Risk perception of family and non-family firm managers. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 20(1), 96-116.

Strobl, A., Peters, M. (2013). Entrepreneurial reputation in destination networks. Annals of Tourism Research, 40(1), 59-82. 

Peters, M., Frehse, J. (2011). Small and family businesses as service brands: an empirical analysis in the hotel industry. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 12(1), 28-43.

Peters, M., Raich, M., Märk, S., Pichler, S. (2012). The role of commitment in the succession of hospitality businesses. Tourism Review, 67(2), 45-60. 

Kronenberg, Ch., Peters, M., Stemper, B. (2008). Retention Management in small Hotels: Entrepreneurial Perceptions. World Journal of Tourism Small Business Management, 1(2), 47-56.

Tanja PetryTanja


Since September 2015 Tanja Petry works as a research assistant in the EBKOM project and in undergraduate teaching at the University of Innsbruck. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim and a Master’s degree in Organization Studies from the University of Innsbruck. In her master thesis she explored “Employer Branding as Practice” and continues to focus on Employer Branding in her further research.

Judith PfliegensdörferJudith


Judith Pfliegensdörfer works as a research assistant at the EBKOM project and the University of Innsbruck. She completed her Master of Science in Organization Studies at the University of Innsbruck with her thesis on “Talent Management as Boundary Work – The Social Construction of New Organizational Roles“.  Before, she successfully finished her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Augsburg. Her research interest focuses on Talent Management and Employer Brand Management.

Christine VallasterVallaster

Dr. Christine Vallaster received her habilitation in 2009 from the University of Innsbruck by evaluating the research question on how to align enterprises to their corporate brand. The focus of this cumulative work was on corporate structures as well as the role of top management, two main factors that facilitate brand supportive employer behaviour in an intercultural context.

Currently, Christine Vallaster works as a senior lecturer for marketing at the University of Liechtenstein.

Over the past years, her research in the fields of Corporate Brand Management, Strategy development and CSR was funded  by the Liechtenstein research community (FFF), the Marketing Science Institute (MSI, USA), the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation as well as by the German Research Community (DFG). Christine Vallaster’s competence is particularly the qualitative research approach.

In 2008, Christine Vallaster took over the scientific responsibility of the Internal Brand Academy (IBA), organised by Symbiosis (Austria).

Christine Vallaster has published articles in the field of “Employer Branding” and supervised numerous Bachelor-, Master thesis as well as co-supervised the PhD. by Mr Mölk.

Selected Publications

Vallaster, C. and Lindgreen, A. (2013). The Role of Social Interactions in Building Internal Corporate Brands: Implications for Sustainability. Journal of World Business, 48 (3), 297-310.

Vallaster, C., & Maon, F. (2012). Strategically Leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility to the Benefit of Company and Society: A Corporate Branding Perspective. California Management Review, 53 (3), 34-60.

 Vallaster, C. (2010), “Corporate Branding von Start-Ups - der erfolgreiche Aufbau der Unternehmensmarke ZfKE - Zeitschrift für KMU und Entrepreneurship, 58 (4), 329 – 335. 

Abimbola, T., & Vallaster, C. (2007). Brand, organisational identity and reputation in SMEs: an overview. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 10(4), 341 - 348.

Vallaster, C. (2007), “Markenbildung nach innen: Der Beitrag von Mitarbeiterauswahlprozessen beim Aufbau einer Unternehmensmarkenidentität – eine strukturationstheoretische Analyse”, Marketing ZfP, 29 (4), 263–276. 

Sylvia von Wallpachwallpach

Dr. Sylvia von Wallpach is Associate Professor of Branding at the Department of Marketing of Copenhagen Business School. Dr. von Wallpach achieved her doctoral degree at the University of Innsbruck (Austria), where she also worked as an Associate Lecturer and Research Assistant (2006 to 2009) and as an Assistant Professor of Marketing (2009 to 2014). She gained international experience as visiting scholar at Boston College (MA, USA) and as Erwin Schrödinger Post-Doctoral Fellow at Copenhagen Business School (Denmark).

Dr. von Wallpach’s main research interests are in the fields of internal and external branding as well as in qualitative method development. In her habiliation, Dr. von Wallpach studies brands as social and cognitive phenomena from the perspective of different stakeholders (e.g., customers and employees). Her research is strongly inspired by organizational theories. In the research project “Brands as action nets” Dr. von Wallpach builds, for instance, on organizational “Action net theory” in order to understand brand identity co-creation processes. In another project, Dr. von Wallpach engages in the development of qualitative methods that allow retrieving brand meaning and related brand experiences.

Dr. von Wallpach’s research has been published in renowned academic journals (e.g., Journal of Business Research, Psychology and Marketing) and has been awarded several international prices (e.g., Young Researcher Award 2013 of the "Wissenschaftliche Kommission Marketing im Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft e. V.", German Market Research Award 2012).

Selected project-relevant publications:

von Wallpach, Sylvia & Kreuzer, Maria (2013). Multi-sensory sculpting (MSS): Eliciting embodied brand knowledge via multi-sensory metaphors. Journal of Business Research, Special Issue on Advancing Research Methods in Marketing. Volume 66, Issue 9, pp. 1325-1331.

Vallaster, Christine & von Wallpach, Sylvia (2013). An online discursive inquiry into the social dynamics of multi-stakeholder brand meaning co-creation. Journal of Business Research, Special Issue on Virtual Dialogue. Volume 66, Issue 9, pp. 1505-1515.

Hemetsberger, Andrea & von Wallpach, Sylvia (2013). Brands as Action Nets. Full paper. Proceedings of the 42nd European Marketing Academy Conference, Istanbul.

von Wallpach, Sylvia (2013). Organizational brand identity co-creation: An action net approach. Extended abstract. Proceedings of the 8th Global Brand Conference of the AM’s Brand, Corporate Identity and Reputation Special Interest Group, Porto.

von Wallpach, Sylvia & Woodside, Arch (2009). Organizational Science Theory of Realized Internal Branding. Full paper. Proceedings of the 38th European Marketing Academy Conference, Nantes, France.

Mühlbacher, Hans & von Wallpach, Sylvia (2007). Wenn Markenwerte das Organisationsgeschehen leiten. In: Böhnisch, Wolf. R., Reber, Gerhard, Leichtfried, Gerlinde & Hechenberger, Doris (Hrsg.) Werteorientierte Unternehmensführung in Theorie und Praxis II. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, 175-204.