Research and Insights

Welcome to the Research and Insights section, which gives an overview of some of our ongoing and forthcoming research projects, along with some background information. 

2023/2024 Sustainability study in cooperation with FRZ Flughafenregion Zurich and Canton Zurich (AWI)



What position do Swiss companies hold in the realm of sustainability—is it perceived as a curse, a blessing, or merely an empty term? The matter is set to impact all businesses imminently. Starting from January 2023, larger Swiss firms have been mandated to disclose sustainability reports. This requirement extends to detailing the practices of their suppliers and service providers, who are, in turn, compelled to adopt more sustainable measures through procurement processes. Additional mandates for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are already emerging.

From November 2023 to mid-January 2024, we conducted a survey as a foundation for further research and to support the industry, involving 306 companies from the broader Airport Zurich area. These companies represent a cross-section of the business community, including small (51%), medium-sized (34%), and large enterprises (15%). The sectors these companies operate in include services (53%), construction (13%), industry (13%), trade (8%), and others (13%).

It was noteworthy that sustainability is considered important by nearly all participants, with many actively implementing measures to enhance sustainability within their organizations, surpassing existing legal mandates. A diverse array of examples of their sustainability initiatives was showcased. Furthermore, there was a significant identification of both current and future demands for support, ranging from basic information on sustainability requirements to technical assistance in product enhancement and the development of circular production concepts.


For more information please contact [email protected]


2023/2024 Study on preferential trust in AI over human judgment 



In an era where artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly intersects with human lives, understanding the dimensions of trust in AI is pivotal. Following two studies conducted by Dr. Michael Gerlich in 2022/2023 on virtual influencers and the societal acceptance of artificial intelligence (AI), observations revealed an increased perceived trust in AI over humans. This observation has necessitated a research study to explore the motivations behind this trust. This study, conducted in the UK explores why a notable majority of participants exhibit greater trust in AI over humans. Garnering 894 responses, with 451 valid completions, the research utilized a mixed-methods approach. The questionnaire probed psychological, sociocultural, and technological aspects of trust, underpinned by Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) and correlation analysis.

Preliminary findings indicate a predominant inclination towards trusting AI, attributed to perceptions of AI’s neutrality and accuracy, akin to traditional computing systems. This trust contrasts starkly with the skepticism towards human integrity, stemming from beliefs in human self-interest and dishonesty, compounded by a distrust in media narratives. Intriguingly, a marked correlation emerges between distrust in AI and an absolute trust in human judgment, underscoring a dichotomy in trust orientation.

This study illuminates the nuanced dynamics of trust in the digital age, revealing a complex interplay between technology and human psychology. It contributes significantly to the discourse on AI integration in society, highlighting critical considerations for future AI development and policy-making.



For more information please contact [email protected]


2024 Assessment of the Real Impact of Sustainability on Consumer Choices and Lifestyle Comfort in Switzerland


In an era where sustainability has emerged as a central tenet of societal values, the question of how deeply these principles penetrate consumer behavior remains pressing. The increasing prominence of sustainability in public discourse suggests a shift towards more environmentally conscious lifestyles; yet, the actual incorporation of sustainable practices into daily life, particularly when it might impinge on personal comfort, warrants thorough investigation. This research aims to elucidate the realities of consumer engagement with sustainability, thereby contributing to the broader discourse on sustainable development. It will offer insights for policymakers, businesses, and activists who seek to foster a more sustainable and conscientious consumer base.

This research aims to scrutinize the depth of commitment among consumers in Switzerland towards sustainability, evaluating the extent to which these commitments influence their purchasing decisions, lifestyle choices, and readiness to compromise on comfort. Despite the prevailing perception that sustainability holds a positive connotation and significantly impacts consumer behavior and corporate evaluations, there appears to be a discrepancy between expressed values and tangible actions. This study seeks to investigate this paradox by examining the willingness of consumers to integrate sustainability into their lives actively, potentially at the cost of personal comfort.

Employing a mixed-methods approach, the research will combine quantitative surveys to gauge consumer attitudes and self-reported behaviors with qualitative interviews to explore the motivations, perceptions, and barriers to sustainable living. This study will also assess the frequency and conditions under which consumers are prepared to forego aspects of comfort, such as reducing air travel, curbing consumption of goods like clothing and electronics, and adopting less convenient but more sustainable alternatives.

The study aims to elucidate the realities of consumer engagement with sustainability, thereby contributing to the broader discourse on sustainable development. It will offer insights for policymakers, businesses, and activists who seek to foster a more sustainable and conscientious consumer base. The findings are expected to challenge prevailing assumptions about consumer behavior, providing a nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in aligning personal convenience with sustainability goals.

This investigation stands at the confluence of marketing, behavioral sciences, and sustainability studies, offering a critical examination of the choices that define our times and shape the future of our planet.




For more information please contact [email protected]


Topics for further research


The Impact of Digital Transformation on Sustainable Business Practices

Background: As digital technologies rapidly evolve, their impact on sustainability within businesses becomes a critical area of investigation. This research topic explores how digital transformation can drive or hinder sustainable practices across industries. It examines the role of technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things in optimizing resource use, reducing emissions, and promoting circular economy models. The study aims to identify strategies for integrating digital innovations in a way that enhances both operational efficiency and environmental stewardship.


The Role of Leadership in Fostering Organizational Sustainability

Background: Leadership plays a pivotal role in embedding sustainability into the core of organizational cultures and practices. This research topic focuses on the strategies and behaviors of leaders that contribute to the successful integration of sustainability goals into business operations. It examines the challenges leaders face in balancing economic performance with environmental and social responsibilities and how they can inspire and mobilize their organizations towards sustainable development. The study aims to outline leadership models and practices that effectively drive sustainability initiatives.


The Future of Work: Navigating Technological Disruption and Labour Market Trends

Background: The rapid pace of technological advancement and shifting labor market dynamics pose significant challenges and opportunities for businesses. This research explores the implications of automation, artificial intelligence, remote work, and changing workforce demographics. It aims to provide strategic foresight on how companies can prepare for the future of work, including adapting to new modes of operation, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and developing strategies to attract and retain talent in a competitive landscape.