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Current Publications

Challenges in the management of family businesses
Values – growth – controlling – crisis management

Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler, 2023

Owners and managers of family businesses are currently confronted with a variety of challenges and are asking themselves the following questions, among others: How can family businesses be made more sustainable? How can they be safely passed on to the next generation? How can family businesses be professionalized? How can they survive in crises in the long term?

These and many other current challenges in the management of family businesses are each dealt with in depth and in a scientifically sound manner in a separate article in this specialist book. The authors also address the particular relevance of current trends and global crises.

[Translate to Englisch:] Herausforderungen im Management von Familienunternehmen

Johannes Thaller, Stefan Mayr, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller: Crisis management in family firms: do religion and secularization of family decision-makers’ matter?

In Journal of Family Business Management, 2023

The unique dynamics of family firms (FFs) shape the management of financial crises. Religious and secular reasons, as a defining characteristic of this type of firm, provide a reference system for key management decisions. This paper aims to explore the under-researched topic of differences in FFs' crisis management between religious and secular family decision-makers (FDMs), considering secularization in developed countries.

The paper draws on a qualitative-empirical study of 14 large FFs from the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), through both a media analysis and semi-structured interviews with FDMs who have significant influence on key management decisions.

Despite secularization, religion continues to influence managerial decisions such as crisis management in the DACH region. The findings show that crisis management differs across religious and secular FDMs, demonstrating the substantial impact of religious and secular reasons on operational and financial measures. Thus, religious and secular reasons may partially explain the complex and ambivalent crisis management of FFs. This indicates that religion shapes FF's key management decisions in the increasingly secularized DACH region. Religious FDMs are accountable to both the firm and to God, which fosters their own personal and financial resources during crisis management.

This paper contributes to the existing literature by exploring the impact of religion and secularization within developed countries. Further, it offers deeper insights into FF's crisis management and is one of the first studies to assess the impact of religion and secularization on operational and financial measures. This research derives five propositions for further research and discusses a broad range of original implications for theory and practice.

The paper is available as open access under the following link, opens an external URL in a new window.

[Translate to Englisch:] Journal of Familiy Business Management

Melanie Lubinger: Competency profiles of controllers - An empirical analysis of the social networks Linkedin and Xing.

In Controller Magazin, Nr. 6, 2023

The high importance of online recruiting and the associated required presence of applicants on professional online platforms underlines the importance of presenting one's own skills in social professional networks such as LinkedIn and Xing. The article deals with the question of which competencies controllers indicate on the social networks LinkedIn and Xing in order to present themselves on the job market.


Controller Magazin 6/2023

Stefan Mayr, Alexander Atzmüller, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller: Corporate restructuring from a management control point of view: Analysis based on successful practical cases

In Controlling - Zeitschrift für erfolgsorientierte Unternehmenssteuerung, Vol 35, Nr. 3, 2023

For companies, the challenges of a crisis have become a regular occurrence. Nevertheless, only a few succeed in overcoming the crisis in a sustainable manner. The article addresses two Austrian practical cases with successful restructuring management and restructuring management control. On the one hand, this is a company from the stone construction industry, which was able to be continued from insolvency. On the other hand, it concerns a company from the automotive industry, which was subject to an out-of-court restructuring.

By analyzing practical cases, essential factors for long-term crisis management could be identified. In the event of a company crisis, a closely coordinated cooperation between restructuring management and management control is required. It turns out that addressing the causes of the crisis directly increases the probability of overcoming the crisis in the long term. This also includes reviewing the business model. In addition, an optimized coordination of planning and control as well as a reliable supply of information from management control is fundamental for a successful continuation of the company. Short control cycles and regular information to stakeholders about the progress of the remediation are required throughout the remediation process. From a bundle of extensive measures, the separation of loss-making business areas, the achievement of sustainable cost reductions and a strategic reorientation are to be emphasized. Operational early warning systems such as plan/actual comparisons and reporting help to identify current and future risks.


[Translate to Englisch:] Controlling 2023/3

Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller, Sarah Pieslinger, Franz Gmainer-Pranzl, Julia Feldbauer (Eds.): Companies, organizations and values: A discourse from a business, theological and religious studies perspective

Lausanne: Peter Lang, 2023

The discourse on values and value attitudes is a current, controversial topic both within the economic and corporate context as well as in the church, theological and religious studies area. The aim of the anthology is to build a bridge between science and practice, business administration, religious studies and theology, theory and empiricism, companies and church organizations as well as life and religion. The interdisciplinary approach attempts to perceive the often complex mutual relationships between business, companies, values and religion in a more differentiated manner through an in-depth examination of the subject of values and a multi-perspective view.


[Translate to Englisch:] Cover Unternehmen, Organisationen und Werte

Melanie Lubinger, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller, Christine Duller, Martin Hiebl in Controlling: Values of Management Accountants

In Controlling, Vol. 35., Nr. 1, 2023

The article deals with the question of what values controlling managers are shaped by. To answer them, an electronic value survey based on existing literature (e.g. Rokeach, 1973 and Schwartz, 1992) was carried out. The sample includes 158 participants, all of whom are heads of management accounting in Germany and Austria.

The survey results have shown that efficiency, effectiveness and integrity are values that are given high priority. These values also influence corporate management. In addition, management accountants with a consultative function shape values in the company. In this way, the possibility of co-determining values in the respective corporate culture could be identified as a key success factor.

The study shows that efficient, goal-oriented fulfillment of tasks is particularly relevant for heads of management accounting. On the other hand, values such as connectedness and self-actualization are found in the lower ranks of the relevance rating.

[Translate to Englisch:] Controlling 1/2023

Johannes Thaller, Christine Duller, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller, Bernhard Gärtner: Career development in management accounting: empirical evidence

In Journal of Applied Accounting Research, 2023

Due to globalization and digitalization, the world of work is undergoing comprehensive change.
These trends are challenging management accounting (MA) and pressuring individuals and organizations to
change. The literature postulates a replacement of traditional organizational careers by “new” career models
characterized by dynamism and flexibility. However, the state of the art on careers in MA lacks empirical
evidence and has disparate research interests.

In this study, the authors investigate the status quo of careers in MA, key
influencing factors and assumed change in such careers. To do so, the authors conducted a quantitative
empirical study, based primarily on the careers of 83 graduates of a department offering a MA major at a
German-speaking university. Nine qualitative empirical interviews supplement the quantitative findings.

The authors’ findings indicate that whileMAcareers are changing, the characteristics of the profession
are continuing to concur with the traditional organizational understanding of careers. Accumulated professional
experience is the key factor to achieving a management position although management accountants tend to become
more dynamic in terms of career paths and career understanding. Thus, employment in various functional areas
opens new career paths in MA.

The methodology of analysing quantitative and empirical crosssectional
data and the resulting final sample size is too small to guarantee robust statistical inference.
Moreover, further interviews would lead to greater data saturation.

The study sheds light on the under-researched question of how careers in MA
proceed and develop. This could be of interest for practitioners working with management accountants such as
personnel consultants.

This study contributes to the field through its comprehensive consideration of careers in
MA in this changed context, thus providing new insights for academia and business practice.

[Translate to Englisch:] JAAR

Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller, Stefan Mayr (Eds.): Management Control - Current Developments and Challenges. Digitization, Sustainability und Special Aspects, 2. Edition

Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler, 2022

The articles presented in this volume locate management control in the area of tension between digitization and sustainability from a conceptual and empirical perspective: In view of current far-reaching changes, controlling is confronted with a large number of application fields that not only significantly change the controller role, but also family businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises face special challenges. The volume does justice to this complex problem with a clear scientific and practical reference: Empirical findings of a qualitative and quantitative nature are presented in a theoretically sound manner and supplemented by practical examples, case studies and practical recommendations.

The content: challenges of digitization, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, family businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The target groups: Lecturers and students in the fields of business administration, economics, social economy, law and economics, culture and economy, international business, general management, finance and accounting, practitioners from companies, banks and consulting firms.

The publishers:
Univ.-Prof. dr Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller is head of the Institute for Management Control & Consulting at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.
Associate Univ.-Prof. Dr Stefan Mayr is deputy head of the Institute for Management Control & Consulting at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.

The volume is avaiable under the following link, opens an external URL in a new window.

[Translate to Englisch:] Controlling - Aktuelle Entwicklungen und Herausforderungen. Digitalisierung, Nachhaltigkeit und Spezialaspekte, 2. Auflage

Christine Mitter, Michaela Walcher, Stefan Mayr und Christine Duller: Bankruptcy at family and non-family firms: Do they fail differently

In Journal of Family and Business Management, Vol. 12, Nr. 4, 2022

The paper "Bankruptcy at family and non-family firms: Do they fail differently" by Christine Mitter, Michaela Walcher, Stefan Mayr and Christine Duller was published in the Journal of Family Business Management (VHB JQ 3: C) at the end of 2022. The publication resulted from the insolvency study carried out at the Institute for Management Control and Consulting in cooperation with the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, in which all insolvencies in the province of Upper Austria from 2012 were analyzed.

In view of the fact that for family businesses the preservation of the company over generations has the highest priority, that family businesses have close relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, and that they attach great importance to their image and reputation, insolvency is a drastic event and a major threat. The article examines whether family businesses fail for different reasons than non-family businesses.

The results of the study confirm that the special features of family businesses have an impact on the causes of insolvency. The family businesses examined fail less frequently than non-family businesses due to internal causes of crises (such as unqualified management, strategic mistakes or a lack of business skills). This could be attributed to the strong identification of the owners with the company, the many years of experience of the entrepreneurial family and family control, which enables both the development of implicit knowledge and rapid and drastic reactions in the event of a crisis.

At the same time, insolvencies in the family businesses analyzed are caused more frequently than in non-family businesses by external factors, in particular bad debts or the loss of key customers and economic downturns. This indicates that the close relationships between family businesses and their stakeholders can become a burden in the crisis. Family businesses should therefore pay more attention to stakeholder dependencies and the resulting risks.

Journal of Family Business Management

Melanie Lubinger: Intellectual capital reporting in the form of the intellectual capital statement as a control instrument for human resources management at public universities

In BFuP - Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis, Vol. 74, Nr. 3, 2022

International and national reforms in the field of higher education cause a change in the management process of public universities in Austria. Austrian public universities have to report their Intellectual Capital in terms of a “Wissensbilanz” to the ministry. The Austrian “Wissensbilanz” has several management functions such as reporting, coordinating, planning, decision-making and benchmarking. The use of these functions as a management tool for human resource management has not been dealt with yet. Therefore, this paper analysis the usage of the “Wissensbilanz”-functions for internal management in the field of human resource management.

BFuP 3/2022 - Cover

Melanie Lubinger: University management control

In Controlling, Vol. 34, Nr. 6, 2022

The article deals with the relevance and implementation of performance recording and measurement at universities. Due to complex organizational and financial changes, management in the higher education sector is changing, which is why universities have to learn to independently look after new areas of responsibility such as personnel management, financial or quality management. For this purpose, under increasing competitive pressure, universities use various concepts of company-oriented business administration under names such as "New Public Management" or "New Control Models". When choosing instruments for measuring performance, some specifics of universities must be taken into account, which is why there are a number of measuring instruments for both financial and non-financial performance indicators in the area of university management control.

Controlling Cover

Tanja Wolf, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller: New insights into workplace chaplaincy

In Review of Managerial Science (RMSc), Vol. 50, Nr. 12, 2022

Workplace chaplaincy, a concrete manifestation of workplace spirituality, is defined as pastoral care serving the specific needs of people in workplaces. While scientific publications have so far emphasized its beneficial implications, scrutiny of the possible instrumentalization of workplace chaplaincy by the management has been neglected. Workplace chaplaincy can signify a real integration of spirituality implying a debate on the meaning of life and work, as well as a critical analysis of organizational structures and management (critical workplace spirituality). Just as well, it can be instrumentalized as a management technique to impel employees to achieve improved organizational results (positive workplace spirituality).

This paper contributes to the management literature by elaborating decisive characteristics of a critical and positive workplace spirituality and discussing those characteristics that pertain to workplace chaplaincy. Furthermore, we provide a qualitative study on workplace chaplaincy illustrating a critical thought-provoking model facing different challenges, allegiances and logics in the secular working world. The elaborated characteristics and the qualitative study extend our understanding of workplace spirituality and chaplaincy as they provide a view beyond traditional management perspectives. Moreover, this paper contributes to the discussion what kind of spirituality and chaplaincy we are referring to in management theory and practice.

Logo RMSc

Michael Kuttner, Stefan Mayr, Christine Mitter, Christine Duller: Impact of accounting on reorganization success: empirical evidence form bankrupt SMEs

In Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change (JAOC), Vol. in press 2022

The article examines the effects of various accounting parameters (e.g. quality of the accounting systems or early warning systems, existing planning systems) on the short- and long-term restructuring success of SMEs. The study is based on a complete survey of all SME insolvency cases with more than ten employees (n = 117) in Upper Austria in 2012 and contains data on short-term survival (in 2016) and long-term survival (in 2019). The results of the study show that the quality of the accounting systems, the quality of the early warning systems and the existence of a restructuring concept have a positive influence on the success of the restructuring of SMEs. Refurbishment concepts in particular significantly increase short- and long-term refurbishment success by ensuring efficient and effective use of resources.


Johannes Thaller, Stefan Mayr und Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller: Causes of crises, restructuring measures and crisis management in family businesses: Empirical findings from a multiple case study and recommendations for corporate practice

In Betriebswirtschafltiche Forschung und Praxis (BFuP), Vol. 73, Nr. 3, 2021

Family businesses (FB) have an ambivalent character when it comes to crises. On the one hand, problems in the family environment and a lack of innovative ability are considered to be the causes of the crisis, on the other hand, flexible decision-making processes and family commitment are said to have positive effects on the course of the crisis. This article empirically analyzes the causes of crises, remedial measures and crisis management at FB on the basis of a system-theoretical and procedural approach. The results of the qualitative-empirical multiple case study of 14 Austrian FB show family-specific challenges. The personal and financial commitment of the family as well as the willingness to change, which leads to a professionalization of the management, are decisive for the continued existence. From an economic point of view, the reorganization in a new shareholder structure can be useful, although the identity as a FB is lost.


Karin Niederwimmer, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller und Tanja Wolf: The financial manager in Christian organizations: Personnel implementation in Benedictine male monasteries

In Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis (BFuP), Nr. 4, Druck 2022

While the necessity of financial management in Christian organizations has been confirmed in studies, the organizational and personnel implementation leads to challenges for the handling of which there are no studies in the existing literature. The aim of the article was therefore to examine, using the example of German-speaking Benedictine male monasteries, how and with what challenges the management positions in financial management are filled, how they are currently being dealt with and which additional recommendations can be derived for coping. It turned out that the challenges differ significantly, depending on whether it is a secular or spiritual financial manager.


Martin Hiebl: Sample Selection in Systematic Literature Reviews of Management Research

In Organizational Research Methods, Vol. in press, 2021

Systematic review techniques are about to become the “new normal” in reviews of management research. However, there is not yet much advice on how to organize the sample selection process as part of such reviews. This article addresses this void and analyzes this vital part of systematic reviews in more detail. In particular, it offers a critical review of systematic literature reviews published in the Academy of Management Annals and the International Journal of Management Reviews between 2004 and 2018. Based on this methodological literature review, the article presents issues to consider in the most critical choices during the sample selection process. Furthermore, this review identifies several descriptive features such as the mean number of research items included in systematic reviews, the mean number of databases used, and the mean coverage period of such reviews. These numbers may be used as benchmark figures in future reviews.

Organizational Research Methods ©Organizational Research Methods

Stefan Mayr, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller und Matthias Baschinger: Effects of COVID-19 on insolvency events

In Steuer- und Wirtschaftskartei (SWK), Vol. 96, Nr. 5, 2021

The economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis are currently being discussed in a very complex way. This article reflects the results of a discussion with the representatives of the creditor protection associations and presents the current discussion on planned changes in insolvency law.


Michael Kuttner, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller, Christine Mitter: Corporate social responsibility in Austrian family firms - Socioemotional wealth and stewardship insights from a qualitative approach

In Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 11, Nr. 2, 2021


This paper provides a comprehensive view about corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Austrianfamily firms. In detail, the conceptual understanding, motives for, institutionalisation, planning and theoutcomes of CSR are investigated. The authors refer to socioemotional wealth and stewardship aspects asexplanation approaches for CSR in family firms.Design/methodology/approach–This study offers new insights into CSR in Austrian family firms basedon qualitative data from 30 companies.


The findings demonstrate that despite numerous social, environmental and economic activities,referral to CSR is just in the beginning, indicating a lack of dissemination of the concept of CSR. The mainmotives for CSR engagement are image and reputation concerns, a strengthened regional embeddedness andemployee-related improvements. Social CSR activities concerning employees and the close companysurroundings dominate, whilst environmental CSR measures are often determined by the need for fulfillingthe requirements of eco-certifications.


This paper contributes to the existing CSR literature by offering deeper insights into CSRin Austrian family firms (e.g. motives and outcomes of CSR), which are discussed under socioemotional wealthand stewardship aspects. Moreover, a broad range of implications for future research and corporate practice(e.g. family firms, owning family, policy) are discussed.

Journal of Family Business Management ©Journal of Family Business Management

Stefan Mayr, Christine Duller und Kerstin Stumbauer: House Banks in Out-of-court Reorganization: Evidence from

In The Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Vol. 22, Nr. 1, 2020

The main purpose of this article is to study the role of house banks in out-of-court reorganization. Banks are traditionally one of the most important financial resources for firms. Especially in financially difficult times like those we now face due to the coronavirus, it can make a difference whether a bank supports its clients and accompanies firms through a crisis or not. With the help of relationship lending theory, we review the existing literature on this topic. Next, based on empirical findings from Austrian banks, we derive implications for corporate practice. The empirical study covers a sample of 658 firm reorganizations in Austria. The data were collected anonymously by different banks processing the cases in their workout departments between January 2011 and December 2013. Correlation analysis and logistic regression were applied to analyze the data. The findings indicate that house banks, despite their relationship of trust, must be critical in their assessment of reorganization projects due to the danger of zombie lending. The four most important prerequisites for completing an out-of-court reorganization were a new loan, an open and proactive communication policy on the part of the distressed company, management changes, and a financial contribution from existing shareholders. The findings show that bank-supported out-of-court reorganization has a high probability of success. A recommendation to entrepreneurs is to respond rapidly to financial distress and maintain open communication with stakeholders, in particular banks. The findings indicate that the implementation of Directive (EU) 2019/1023 on preventive restructuring frameworks in the European Union is crucial to enable bank-led reorganizations.

Logo Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance ©The Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance

Martina Sageder, Christine Duller, Birgit Feldbauer-Durstmüller und M. Schnetzer: The influence of internationalization on management control - a content analysis of job advertisements

In Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis (BFuP), Nr. 6, 2020

The internationalization of companies places special demands on management control. The effects of internationalization on controlling functions and requirements are examined on the basis of principal-agent theory and contingency theory. The analysis of 247 job advertisements shows the influence of internationalization, country specifics and cultural distance on management control. Management support and collaboration on internal control systems are more frequently the tasks of management controllers in multinational companies. International experience, a degree and communication skills are increasingly required. Implications for research and practice conclude the article.


Stefan Mayr , Christine Mitter , Alexander Kücher und Christine Duller: Entrepreneur characteristics and differences in reasons for business failure: evidence from bankrupt Austrian SMEs

In Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Vol. 33, Nr. 5, 2020

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are especially dependent on the qualifications and knowledge of entrepreneurs. However,  research investigating how the causes of small firm failures are related to entrepreneur characteristics is scarce or even lacking. Therefore, drawing on upper echelons theory, this study is based on a sample of 102 Austrian corporate bankruptcies in the year 2012 and applies logistic regression analyses to examine the relation between entrepreneur characteristics, namely, age, gender, education and experience, and the probability of specific internal causes of bankruptcy. Our findings reveal that firms that are led by older entrepreneurs are significantly less likely to go bankrupt due to a lack of equity, while females reduce the probability of failure because of poor economic competencies. On the other hand, women-headed firms are more prone to bankruptcy due to high costs pressures and firms led by entrepreneurs with industry experience seem to underestimate capital needs and are more likely to fail because of a lack of equity. In particular, management experience appears to be important as it significantly reduces the risk of bankruptcy due to poor business economic
competences and high cost pressure. Given that we were unable to detect a significant impact of an entrepreneur’s university degree
on the analyzed failure causes, our results may also allow for the improvement of entrepreneurship education. Knowing which entrepreneurial characteristics influence business demise allows to draw more attention on the impact of these traits and the development
of management experience in entrepreneurship programs.

Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship ©Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Dietmar Ploier, Stefan Mayr und Matthias Baschinger: Digitization in accounting and controlling - practical aspects of tax and management consulting

In Steuer- und Wirtschaftskartei (SWK), Vol. 95, Nr. 26, 2020

The effects of digitization on companies are currently being discussed in a very complex way. For tax and management consultancies, these developments result in both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, there is an enormous internal organizational need for change and, on the other hand, there is the possibility of digitizing the consulting process or offering digitization consulting to customers. The successful implementation of a digitization strategy ensures that tax and management consultancies remain competitive and retain their customers in the long term.