Only 200km away from the imperial city of Vienna, the charming city of Graz was this year’s meeting point of prominent international academics to discuss the importance of development and entrepreneurship in transition economies. Over 100 participants attended the 4th REDETE conference (Researching Economic Development and Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies) at the University of Graz from October 22-24, 2015 to raise important questions in the very same halls where Joseph Schumpeter had taught his celebrated creative destruction. A better place could arguably not be found. Besides location also timing was perfect: Europe is facing big economic and social challenges that are testing the role of the European Union. Moreover even after 20 years of the fall of the Soviet Union, there still exist tangible differences between the so-called developed Western countries against the developing ones from the East. Change and development need to come.

On the first day I had the honor to close the session with the findings of my master’s thesis, which I had completed in the International Management and Leadership (IML) program at LBS under the supervision of Professor Dr. Adriana Zait of the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania. My thesis was inspired by Professor Philippe Rosinski’s work, who had taught his Cultural Orientation Framework (COF) during a visiting professorship at LBS. The beauty of COF lies in the ability of this tool to assess not only the ability of the people to engage in different cultural styles but, more importantly, to know the person’s preferences and their real cultural orientations.

Since the COF works so well in creating the cultural profiles of every person, I wondered if we could use this information to predict the entrepreneurial level as well. The thesis work was based on this question and after several months of in-depth investigation the results were really interesting. There is a clear and significant correlation of 12.1% between the COF and entrepreneurial orientation. Despite this rather low percentage, the correlation makes sense. The literature very clearly states that (a) culture is affected by many elements ranging from the individual level to the external environment, and (b) that only the right set of ingredients creates entrepreneurship. Culture is one of the key ingredients, and my findings shed some light on what might be the right amount of pepper and salt that the COF needs.

All in all, it was a really exciting opportunity to meet new fellow researchers, learn from their work and share the findings of the paper. It was a great experience that any academic and as well practitioner would enjoy.

Andrés Felipe Uprimny, graduated from IML 2013 with distinction in September 2015

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