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DBA Thesis Check-ins – November 2022

Read two DBA candidates abstracts summarizing their research: Safa Basar’s research on managing smart cities and Claudia Tridapalli’s work on reducing knowing-doing gaps in sustainable design strategies

During the completion of a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA), candidates are required to present their research to the Geneva Business School research community, led by Dr. Oliver Elliot, the Head of Research at Geneva Business School.

Here, we highlight the ongoing research of two students who have presented at their annual check-in in 2022: Safa Basar, whose thesis is focused on smart cities within Austria; and Claudia Tridapalli, who is researching a knowing-doing gap in sustainable design through the lens of neuroscience.

Safa Basar’s DBA Research

Safa’s thesis topic:

How to manage a smart city? Lessons for Austria.

Safa Mert Basar is a DBA candidate at Geneva Business School who also currently is working in Austria as a public official. Due to his educational background in engineering, his field of expertise and responsibilities are within the field of smart city development projects.


Safa Mert Basar DBA research - Title card

In the age of digitalization and automatization, not only have devices or gadgets become smarter with the advancement of technology, but cities as a whole also have to keep up with the trends to stay attractive to their residents.
Different management, as well as leadership approaches, were tried and established due to a particular newly born individual situation throughout history. For instance, in a rapidly changing IT environment, an agile management style, such as scrum, might be more suitable than the traditional waterfall approach.
Safa Mert Basar DBa research - What is it about?
Smart cities, according to Meijer & Bolivar (2015) are cities that have the ability to attract human capital and mobilize it in collaborations between the various organized and individual actors through the use of information and communication technologies. As the phenomenon of smart cities is relatively new, this exploratory research aims to analyze the leadership and management methodologies of five European mid-sized pioneer cities in regards to their smart city development projects in order to learn lessons for the municipalities of Austria concerning their smart city transformation processes.
A qualitative study, containing interviews with the policy and decision-makers of the municipal governments, such as the mayor of a city or a city council member, as well as surveys with public officials, who are operatively involved in smart city management or smart city project leadership, will be conducted.
Safa Mert Basar DBA research - How will it be conducted?
Once the elicitation of the local authorities of the cities Dusseldorf in Germany, Gothenburg in Sweden, Helsinki in Finland, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Tallinn in Estonia are done, five Austrian local authorities – Bludenz City, Bregenz City, Dornbirn City, Hohenems City, and Feldkirch City – will undergo the same procedure with the researcher.
After all of the data has been collected and analyzed, as well as compared with the priorly done literature review, management and leadership best practices in regards to smart city development and transformation projects can be suggested for the public sector of Austria.

Safa Mert Basar DBA research - Why does it matter?

Claudia Tridapalli’s DBA Research

Claudia’s thesis topic:

A neuroscience-based approach for reducing the knowing-doing gap in implementing sustainable design strategies

Claudia Tridapalli has an Engineering background with years of experience working with product development for large corporations in areas such as Sustainability and Lean. Today also focuses on developing her career as a teacher and researcher, bringing together past experiences and expertise with deep curiosity around human behavior, exploring ways to improve sustainable business strategies, education, and developing people.


Why do we do the things that we do? Recent studies have shown that more than 95% of the activities we do are automatic. People’s actions and behaviors are a result of a combination of factors that goes beyond what we call rational decisions. A deeper understanding of those factors can generate knowledge to create new practical strategies that can really drive changes in organizations and in their role in society.

Claudia Tridapalli DBA research - Title card

The importance of embed sustainability strategies across the organization has grown recently, resulting in many efforts from academia and corporations to find the best approaches to make it happen in practice. Most of the past research done on this matter focused on tools and strategy development, as well as applying psychological behavior theories to understand motivations. The studies still point to a gap between intention and behavior, leaving room for further investigation into what influences these results.

Claudia Tridapalli DBA research - Sustainable design

An important sustainability practice is called sustainable design, which considers the possible impacts in all product life cycle stages, from raw materials, production processes, transportation, use, and end-of-life when designing products. This approach is one of the most important translations of strategies into tangible solutions, being a result of the decision of the company and their individuals to act.

Claudia Tridapalli DBA research - Objective

This research aims to apply the neuroscience lens to map the main factors that lead to a knowing-doing gap in sustainable design, identifying strategies to accelerate implementation. The neuroscience fields of attention, decision-making, and action will be used as a base for the investigation, exploring the influence of individuals’ biological aspects together with organizational structures.

If you are interested in learning more about either research project please reach out to the DBA candidates directly:

Contact Safa

Contact Claudia

The Doctor of Business Administration is a full-time online program designed to create a flexible yet supportive environment for our students to reach their full potential and research goals. Our doctorate degrees allow our students the freedom to study from anywhere in the world while completing their theses means that they can continue to advance their careers and have a full family life if they desire.

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