Back home at their desks or at Zeppelin University, most of the members of the first project of the Transcultural Student Research Group 2019 occasionally still let their minds wander back to the Amazon. There were five thematic groups, each consisting of two Brazilian students from Fundação Getúlio Vargas’ Business School (FGV) and one German ZU student, examining the leadership implications of more sustainable development in the Amazon region. Thus, the remarkably similar mindsets, interests and values of both Brazilian and German research group participants came to the fore or, as Dr Julika Montecinos, who led the Transcultural Research Group, summarises: “It was a great transcultural experience to see that we, as a German-Brazilian research group, were very similar in our personalities as well as in our attitudes towards the research in the Amazon. It is our shared goal to advocate and get involved in sustainable development and its perspectives.”
The students all enjoyed a kick-off lecture before their Transcultural Immersion Week, an event that regularly takes place at the FGV in Sao Paolo, from Prof Mario Monzoni who is a TLS expert and chairs the Center for Sustainability Studies (GVcs). GVcs is an impressive organisation of 70 scientists who work in accordance with the Principles for Responsible Management Education delivering top class research, teaching and transfer projects.
During this trip the Transcultural Research Group not only had the chance to see and experience the beauty of the Amazon region but also saw and learned about the obvious destruction that this region permanently faces.
One of the highlights of the immersion week in the Amazon was a visit to the indigenous community of the Maró, where the group could learn more about the threat to natural resources. Other outstanding moments were sleeping in hammocks on board and hiking 11 kilometres through the Brazilian rain forest.
According to one researcher, working together with students and members of the Sao Paolo Center of Sustainability Studies on their shared goal was definitely very helpful and served as another valuable impetus for their research project.
Now, the results of the newly gained experience and knowledge are going to be developed in a book that every Transcultural Student Research Group writes as part of the ‘Transcultural Management Series’, published by Metropolis.
In addition to that, there will be the Transcultural Winter School programme held at Zeppelin University from November 11 to 19 2019. The Winter School will have the same focus and will encompass workshops and a Master Class with Prof Josef Wieland and Prof Jan Söffner as well as company visits in the Lake Constance Region.
The Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin (LEIZ) at Zeppelin University conducts transcultural research in so-called “Transcultural Student Research Groups”. These groups are composed of student researchers who tackle one collective overarching research agenda, each of them writing a research paper on one subtopic and thus representing a distinct perspective on the overall research question. Both the participating students and their supervisors represent different departments and disciplines of Zeppelin University. In this manner, a phenomenon can be approached via different ways of thinking and with different methods, ultimately providing a multiple-perspective description of that phenomenon. One important ambition LEIZ pursues with its Transcultural Student Research Groups is bringing together young and established researchers from different cultural backgrounds. It is in this context that the LEIZ cooperates with Brazilian universities to learn from local expertise: it is only by including researchers and students from Brazil that the programme becomes truly transcultural!
The four Transcultural Research cases at a glance:
Case I: The Relations between Future Leaders and Traditional
Communities: Learnings from the Center for Sustainability Studies Programme
Case II: The Relations between Start-ups and their Stakeholders:
Learnings from Insolar
Case III: A Diverse Network of Relations as a Driver of Innovation: Learnings from SAP
Case IV: The Relations between Politics and Civil Society:
Learnings from Operation Car Wash