PhD Program

The PhD Program „Digital Business International“ is a joint initiative of University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (UASUA) and Johannes Kepler University of Linz (JKU) together with the local government of Upper Austria.

Outline: Living in the Digital Business era, today we are witnessing rapid social and technological developments in electronic/mobile/social commerce (no-line commerce). Digital Business managers, as well as system engineers, are daily confronted with the challenges resulting from these rapid developments. Among others, designing innovative web user interfaces, along with conversion optimization, are major activities defining firms’ success potential. Understanding of user behavior and information needs on the one hand, but also relevant concepts, processes, and technologies on the other hand, is an inevitable precondition for designing and managing online businesses successfully in the context of Internet commerce and online innovation.

PhD Candidates

PhD Candidate: Thomas Fischer, BA MSc

Topic: Technostress in Organizations

The introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) in work environments has led to multiple benefits for individual employees (e.g., automation of tedious tasks) and organizations (e.g., reduced cycle times, cost savings, and innovations). However, in recent years it has also been acknowledged that stress is a ubiquitous phenomenon in the workplace throughout organizations worldwide despite the high degree of ICT use in many organizations. Researchers have even started pointing to the significant potential of ICT to act as a new source of work stress. This form of stress is referred to as technostress.

Main Research Question: How and why does technostress (TS) occur in organizations, and how do employees cope with it? 


PhD Candidate: Mark Stieninger, BA MSc

Topic: Development of a process model for retail digitization

The retail industry has always been in a state of flux, with novel developments in technology playing a major role when it came to evolutionary changes. The current century is again shaped by technological innovations: Multitudes of technologies of different origins hold promising potentials for the future of retail. Except for the online sector, the recent retail industry is not what we would call an early adopter. Changes do not take place in a revolutionary way, but rather in an evolutionary way, once the benefits become obvious. The overall objective of the research to be conducted in the context of this PhD thesis is to develop a process model for the digitization of brick-and-mortar retail stores in order to support traditional retailers as well as their technology suppliers in the process of the digital transformation.

Main Research Question: -tbd-


PhD Candidate: Jovana Jovanovic, MSc

Topic: Digital Trust In Online Platforms and IoT

To be“digitally fit” companies have to be digitally trusted by customers. Futhermore, trust is one of the most important factors for technology acceptance. This research investigates, which factors have the greatest impact on trust reputation in digital companies and for Internet of Things applications and what mechanisms do they use to improve the trustworthiness of platforms and technologies

Main Research Question: Which factors have the greatest impact on trust reputation in peer-to-peer companies and what mechanisms do they use to improve the trustworthiness among peers?


PhD Candidate: Albert Hahn, BSc MSc

Topic: Effects of Learning techniques in e-learning systems

E-learning systems became increasingly popular and are being more and more accepted in the recent years in the educational environment. Whereas such e-learning systems are at the moment primarily used as Content Management Systems to spread learning documents among students. The long-term application of learning techniques and the optimization of the individual learning behavior is not supported in the present systems. Scientific research proves, that the knowledge about their own learning behavior supports students significantly to improve and reach their learning goals efficiently and effectively. The developed e-learning system should provide a long-term learning companion, which provides continues feedback to optimize the learning behavior.

Main Research Question: What are the effects of integrating learning techniques into an e-learning system?


Supervisory Team

Johannes Kepler University of Linz

Univ. Prof. DDr. Johann Höller

University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

FH-Prof. Dr. Andreas Auinger

University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

Assoc. Univ. Prof. FH-Prof. Dr. René Riedl



Further Information

Land Oberösterreich sponsors the main part (€ 500.000 for 2015-2019) of the funding jointly with UASUA for this PhD program in the form of stipends for international PhD students.