International investments and the organization of multinational companies are the focus of Thomas Lindner’s research. The new and first Professor of International Management at the University of Innsbruck conducts research at the interface between finance, business administration and management.
Thomas Lindner not only represents the first ever professorship in the field of International Management at the University of Innsbruck, but also brings a fresh perspective to his research area, which is still considered a unique selling point in International Management. “Among other things, I am investigating how the use of digitalization methods affects companies. Because, most theories in business administration are based on the fact that people are not good at making difficult decisions under incomplete information. Therefore, solution approaches have evolved that greatly simplify complex issues. Through modern data analysis techniques and also through artificial intelligence, the conditions are changing – heuristics no longer need to be so simplified”, Lindner explains. As a result, many theoretical assumptions that are currently status quo in business administration may continue to develop. The fact that he is thus at the beginning of a broad field of research is very convenient for the new professor: “I like to deal with complex issues and try to solve them. That’s what drives me in my work.”
Improving economic forecasts
In addition to researching the impact that data science methods have on businesses, Thomas Lindner also uses them to improve research methods. Currently, for example, he is working on a project with the Austrian National Bank (ÖNB) to improve forecasts of Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP). In particular, this should make it possible to better predict the foreign profits of Austrian companies in the future. “Although around 50 percent of value added in Austria depends on economic activities abroad, there have been no possibilities to make forecasts at the company level – and certainly not for Austrian subsidiaries abroad -until now due to a lack of software and hardware”, says Lindner, describing the initial situation. To change this in the future, he is therefore focusing on two points: First, he is revising the granularity of the data and the data analysis, and second, he is incorporating current literature on understanding international business activities into his calculation models. The fact that reliable predictions have hardly been possible in this area to date also has an impact on media coverage of business relocations and investments abroad. Lindner therefore also sees it as his task to communicate the results of his research: “As part of my professorship at the University of Innsbruck, I would like to inform both companies and the public about the state of knowledge in science, and contribute to the public debate.”