New Blog Post

Our Current Projects

global economic ethics 
Observing Transcultural Management via Sustainability Reporting Measurement Systems

Analysis of transcultural management in the context of the development and implementation of Sustainablity Reporting Measurement Systems (SRMS)

Click for more

Transculturality or Hybridity? The Case of Hong Kong

Tackling questions of transcultural cooperation and the relating determinants and processes in Hong Kong through field study and observation.

Click for more

Global Governance of Women’s Rights with Transculturality

Can a transcultural approach strengthen the understanding of women’s rights and UN Women’s economic empowerment policies?

Click for more

01.01.17 - 31.07.18
Oberserving Transcultural Management via Sustainability Reporting Measurement Systems (SRMS)

Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ


Project management and research cooperation

Lukas Törner, MA student at the faculty of economics, Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, Germany

Project consultancy

Prof. Dr. Josef Wieland, Director of the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ and Founder of the Transcultural Caravan.

Julika Baumann Montecinos, Dipl. Kulturwirtin, Head of “Transcultural Management Studies” at LEIZ and Project Manager of the Transcultural Caravan.

Cooperation partners


An International Case Study on Culture-Specific SRMS Paradigms

In this project, the current development and implementation of Sustainablity Reporting Measurement Systems (SRMS) will be analyzed in respect to transcultural leadership. Especially during the implementation of SRMS, when the companies negotiate internally about the definition of information for their report, as well as about the selection of corresponding indicators and data sources, transcultural leadership becomes relevant and observable in organizations.

Against this backdrop, this project aims to approach and examin SRMS with an international case study. The hypothesis is that organizations and their CSR experts face the following challenge when creating a corporate sustainability report: There are culture-specific internalized paradigms on the issues to be reported. For example, concerning environmental issues, the experts may trip over different paradigms on “environmental damage”. In different cultural settings, firms of the same sector or subsidiaries of the same company may put their emphasis on different environmental concerns and deduce different interpretations and recommendations. This can be called moral particularism, which can result in complexity and inconsistency in the creation of the report. Facing this situation, however, the compilation process of the report needs to be managed in a transcultural way to connect and unite this variety in a single document.

Just recently, the European directive on non-financial reporting was adopted. Hence, a new dynamic concerning international sustainability reporting and a need for efficient, IT driven management moved to the field. Looking at the described challenges about moral particularism is vibrant. We ask, could expertise in transcultural leadership be the required competence to effectively deal with moral particularism when using SRMS?

A global sustainability report puts data from worldwide activities into a single report to address societal expectations towards the company. Concerning worldwide reporting, the inclusion of the supply chain is crucial, which implies the regional, on-site use of software. Within a decade, an enormous change in technical solutions for corporate reporting has been taking place. At the same time, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and others have developed new guidelines for non-financial reporting. Surprisingly, the two changes are rarely discussed in combination. Nevertheless, market reviews about SRMS exist, and they are used in companies worldwide every day.


Interested in joining the project?

Please contact us!

Interested in following the most recent developments?

You may be invited to our project documentation at Sway. We scrolly tell it! Please ask us for the access code.

Three core assumptions:

The use of SMRS…

  1. …is behavioral, which means that it depends on individual attitudes and values of the employees and on the organizational backgrounds of the company. Referring to a stakeholder approach, the compilation of the report depends on the resources and values of all the stakeholders involved in the process.
  2. …differentiates globally, which means that the compilation process is shaped by diversity in realities and expectations of companies’ global partners, as well as by regional differences within companies.
  3. …helps to find commonalities, which means that SRMS are not only a vehicle to observe cultural differences, but also result in processes to overcome and diminish these differences. In the compilation of sustainability reports, transcultural leadership can be traced and described.

Lukas Törner studied environmental and sustainability sciences as well as e-business in Lüneburg, Germany, and further studied social ecology at IFF, University of Klagenfurt and Vienna. Currently, he majors in business administration at Zeppelin University. Lukas has always enjoyed approching his studies in a transdisciplinary setting. Now he is eager to work on the “SRMS and Transculturality” project with an interdisciplinary and international research group.
Contact Lukas on researchgate, linkedin or via e-mail:

01.07.17 - 30.03.19
Transculturality or Hybridity? The Case of Hong Kong

Leadership Excellence Institute | LEIZ

Udo Vetter Travel Scholarship

Project management and research cooperation

Ross Cheung, Erasmus Mundus Master in Global Studies, Research Assistant at the Department of Education and Leadership, The Education University of Hong Kong

Project consultancy

Dr. Vivien W. W. Chan, Research Associate at the University of Technology of Sydney

Dr. Leila Hadj-Abdou, Research Associate at the University of Sheffield

Prof. Dr. Josef Wieland, Director of the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ and Founder of the Transcultural Caravan

Julika Baumann Montecinos, Dipl. Kulturwirtin, Head of “Transcultural Management Studies” at LEIZ and Project Manager of the Transcultural Caravan

Cooperation partners

French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC)

Institute of Future Cities (IOFC)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CHUK)

Seizing the Opportunity to Analyze Transculturality and Cultural Hybridity in Hong Kong

2017 marked the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s sovereignty handover from Great Britain to the People’s Republic of China. It is a good time for us to review the role of Hong Kong under ‘One Country, Two systems’ and the transculturality among locals, migrants, foreigners, businesses and politics since the handover.

‘Transculturalism represents the idea that there are perceptions and ideas of moral values and principles, such as humanitarianism, justice or fairness, that are common to all cultures’ (Wieland, 2015). The goal of this research project therefore is to focus on the commonalities between the diverse cultures in Hong Kong, and on the corresponding learning processes and strategies for using and developing these commonalities through transcultural cooperation.

The theory of hybridity emphasizes neither cultural assimilation nor cultural diversity, it stresses an advent, a happening, an emergence of cultural form(s). Cultural identities and environments are produced by transnational processes and cultural fusions. Cultural hybridization could cause essentializing, alternating, converting, hybridizing, and innovating.

The case of Hong Kong offers an opportunity to analyze transculturality and cultural hybridity. Hong Kong is a migrant city. It is where East meets West, in which the culture of Hong Kong is deemed to be a mixture of both.

This research project aims at tackling questions of transcultural cooperation and the relating determinants and processes in Hong Kong through field study and observation. The team assembles seven students, the perspectives of six countries, five disciplines, and four study programs offered at Zeppelin University and targets meeting international migrants and local citizens for qualitative interviews. For this purpose, each of the young researchers will focus on a specific area, namely migration, arts, communication, policy, behavioural ethics or business & entrepreneurship, and therefore add a particular contribution to the overall research question.

From 7th to 14th of January 2018 the group went on a field trip to Hong Kong, where they had the opportunity to learn first hand about their fields of interest via field study and observation, meetings with local students and experts as well as taking part in guest lectures and workshops that were organized in cooperation with local partners.

The group is now in the process of analyzing their findings. They will host a symposium at Zeppelin University in fall and publish a book presenting their results in early 2019.

Three research questions:

  1. How can the concepts of transculturality and hybridity be applied to the case of Hong Kong? What gives rise to transculturality?
  2. How do international migrants and locals in Hong Kong experience transculturality? What are skills and competencies that are required to act in a transcultural environment?
  3. Using the example of Hong Kong, what are the criteria for conducive transcultural environments? What kind of policy or business practice enhance transcultural cooperation?

Ross Cheung, Group Initiator and Principal Investigator, Erasmus Mundus Master in Global Studies 2016-18; Research Assistant at the Department of Education Policy and Leadership, The Education University of Hong Kong. Ross graduated with a bachelor degree in China Studies and Sociology from Hong Kong Baptist University.

Topic: Transculturality or hybridity? The cases of migrants in Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Sydney

Contact Ross via e-mail:

Elisabeth Birgit Jung, Student of Communication, Culture and Management at Zeppelin University.

Topic: Transculturality and the role of media in Hong Kong

Contact Elisabeth via e-mail:


Max Röcker, Student of Sociology, Politics and Economics at Zeppelin University.

Topic: The Transculturality of Hong Kong’s Ruling Elite

Contact Max via e-mail:

Ofelia Esther Señas, Graduate Student of Communication, Culture and Management at Zeppelin University. BA in European Art History and Byzantine Archeology at Heidelberg University and Università degli Studi di Siena.

Topic: Art Fairs as Transcultural Events

Contact Ofelia via e-mail:

Tanja Savanin, Graduate Student of Corporate Management and Economics at Zeppelin University

Topic: Transcultural Management in the case of Hong Kong

Contact Tanja via e-mail:

Tobias Grünfelder, Graduate Student of Politics, Administration & International Relations at Zeppelin University.

Topic: Transcultural understanding of dishonest behaviour (in the case of Hong Kong)

Contact Tobias via e-mail:

01.09.17 - 30.06.18
Global Governance of Women's Rights with Transculturality

Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ

Project management and research cooperation

Miriam Mona Müller, MA student of Politics, Administration & International Relation at Zeppelin University, Germany

Project consultancy

Prof. Dr. Josef Wieland, Director of the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ and Founder of the Transcultural Caravan

Dr Angelica Marte, Senior Researcher and Lecturer | LEIZ

Cooperation partners
"Achieving gender equality is about disrupting the status quo - not negotiating it." - Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” This quote from Gloria Steinem states two important things: women’s rights are human rights and gender equality is based on collective efforts from diverse actors around the world. This assumption is the red thread in my research project which analyzes to what extent does transculturality improve the outcome of UN Women’s economic empowerment policies.

The question is whether the rather old concept of diversity management can be enhanced by the innovative approach of transculturality and therefore provide a solution for UN Women. For the time being it probably is a challenge, because UN Women’s organizational structure and HR policies block transcultural methods. Furthermore, transculturality is a challenge for UN Women because each society has its characteristics in constructing gender roles. For instance, in Sweden assumptions about gender identities differ from those in Rwanda because the concept of women’s rights varies among societies. But what all women have in common, is that according to Simone de Beauvoir “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

Despite the challenges, this research project aims to show that the transcultural approach could provide a solution for UN Women to find unity in diversity. Transculturality has the potential to enhance the diversity competence of the UN Women staff working on economic empowerment policies. This can possibly raise the awareness of cultural characteristics and increases a better understanding of women’s rights around the world. In practice this means that a diverse team at UN Women’s headquarter successfully conceptualizes an initiative for economic empowerment for female farmers in Northern Africa based on a transcultural understanding of women’s rights.


Research question
To what extent does transculturality improve the outcome of UN Women’s economic empowerment policies?

Interviews with representatives from civil society, feminist economics and UN Women staff, content analysis by attending the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, UNDP Gender Inequality Index and the World Banks’s Gender Data Portal as well as the ILO report on World Employment Social Outlook.

Four facts on the economic status of women

Wage Gap
Iceland is the only country in the world that prohibits legally to pay men more than women.

6,4% of the Fortune 500 Companies are women.

Working permission
In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.

Parental Leave
28% of employed women worldwide enjoy any paid maternity leave in practice.

Four pillars of this research

Transculturality in Gender studies

Feminist approaches in Institutional Economics

Gendered perspective on organizational theories

The work of UN Women for women’s economic empowerment

Miriam Mona Müller gained transcultural experience in global politics by completing her bachelor degree in Paris as well as during her internships in Casablanca and Beijing. In her column at the European Student Think Tank she focuses on feminist strategies in Foreign Policy. Besides that she advocates sexual reproductive health and rights as a German country coordinator of an international NGO and is part of the Women’s Major Group.


Remarkable Initiatives by Others

House of One

The House of One aims at fostering dialogue, identifying common ground between religions, and thereby blurring borders


The welt_raum initiative enables refugees and citizens to learn from each other by creating spaces defined through mutual respect

LEAD | Mercator Center

The LEAD | Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership and Advocacy supports those who take responsibility in civil society

Silkroad project

The Silkroad Project promotes exchange between artists from all over the world, education, and cultural entrepreneurship


The House of One


Amongst others: German Federal Foreign Office, Stiftung Zukunft Berlin, DSK GmbH…

initiative management and research cooperation

Bet- und Lehrhaus Petriplatz Berlin e. V.


initiative consultancy

Eyüp Besir, Dr. Christian Hanke, Dr. Berthold Höcker, Prof. Walter Homolka…

Cooperation partners

Transcultural end-of-life care at Lazarus Hospice, House of Religions, Three Faiths Forum, Tri-Faith Initiative, Stuttgarter Lehrhaus, Friday Saturday Sunday…

A House of Mutual Learning and Prayer

In Berlin religious communities from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam collaborate to build one house for all three religions. The House of One will contain a synagogue, a church, a mosque, and most importantly  in its center a place where all religions can come together and merge.

»At the oldest location in Berlin, where its first church was built, we want to look towards the future«

The House of One will be located where Berlins first Church was built, at Petriplatz. It is supposed to become a house of prayer and learning. The three religions will each observe their own traditions, and will use these as a starting point for seeking out dialogue with each other and with those from outside the three faiths. Science, culture, and art will also play a role in these exchanges, as will socially controversial issues. The debates will not gloss over or bemoan the differences and contradictions that exist between and within the various groups. Rather, they will see them for what they are: assets that can enrich all those who are willing to engage with them.

»The three religions have travelled different routes, but actually they have the same goals«

Preliminary a charter was set up which regulates peaceful relations between the religions. In this charter shared values are being defined: In social interation with one another and society the religions shall foster a culture of nonviolence and respect for all live promoting the worth and idiosyncratic identity of their all fellow humans. All parties respect their partners’ lives, dignity, individuality, and differences. All conduct and contribute to a live of integrity which enables a discourse in worship and faith. At the heart, then, lies equality between all religions.

But the House of One is not build yet. The costs for the project aggregate to 43.5 Million Euros. The first 10 Million Euros will allow the project to start and complete the first stage of construction. Having completed the first stage, it can already be used as a place for encounter. The House of One is funded through donations as a crowdfunding project.


The welt_raum Initiative

City of Friedrichshafen, Tanner AG, Lions Club Friedrichshafen, Think Big…

initiative management and research cooperation



initiative consultancy
Cooperation partners

VfB Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin University, VHS Friedrichshafen, Music School Friedrichshafen…

Enabling Space for Encounters

»The welt_raum initiative enables refugees and citizens to meet, share with, and learn from each other by creating spaces defined through mutual appreciation and respect. welt_raum aims at generating spaces in which commonalities can be found and differences overcome. To make this possible, welt_raum generates space. Space to commonly learn togetherness«

According to the founders, the welt_raum initiative does not stigmatize refugees as victims. Rather it generates societal value through viewing them as a regular group of society which can successfully contribute to our world in a mutually enriching way. These ways are based on two pillars: creating new spaces and opening already existing ones.

welt_raum acknowledges differences but focuses on commonalities. The founders believe that human experiences across borders can lead to a transcultural identity that is necessary in a globalized world.

»A main objective of our initiative is to avoid excluding effects, also between refugees, and foster community spirit. welt_raum spaces are open to everyone and we welcome participants from all parts of society. As such our projects are not aimed at specific groups or individuals«

The initiative was founded in 2014 by students. However, the initiative sees itself not as a student initiative and rather as an initiative by active and responsible citizens. An inspiring project of welt_raum is the »Learning Community«: welt_raum  in cooperation with the artsprogram of the Zeppelin University transforms the new exhibition space of Zeppelin University, the White Box, into an artistic space of mutual encounters towards a sustainable future. They enable artistic workshops, weekly meetings and a variety of events to learn community together – with refugees, students and neighbors.


The LEAD | Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership and Advocacy

Mercator Foundation

initiative management and research cooperation

Managers: Oliver Triebel, Tobias Leipprand


initiative consultancy

Prof. Dr. Helmut K. Anheier, Dr. Petra Bahr, Prof. Dr. Karl-Rudolf Korte, Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt, Siegmar Mosdorf, Michael Vassiliadis

Cooperation partners
Empowerment, Research, and Discourse

To successfully tackle the world’s enormous challenges as fighting climate change, creating social justice, or solving integration problems, people who engage in public leadership are needed.

The aim of the Berlin-based center LEAD is to support those who take responsibility in civil society on all levels in Germany and worldwide.

To do so, the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership and Advocacy is pursuing three goals:

  • Enabling relevant actors to take leadership responsibility and advocacy with an innovative curriculum
  • Conducting research in collaboration with leading research institutes and unversities on leadership and advocacy focusing on socio-political issues
  • Enhancing a global discourse and creating a network to bring relevant leaders and stakeholders together

Throughout the curriculum, four core competences for multisectoral leadership are provided. The competence of reflection, of strategy, of communication and advocacy, and – most relevant to the Transcultural Caravan – the multistakeholder competence.

The multistakeholder competence consists of various interpersonal competences:

  1. to be emphathetic, to listen, to respect
  2. to reflect one’s own values and to integrate divergent values
  3. to be able to collectively purse the own and the others’ interest in cooperation

Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Project

Amongst others: Hyosung, National Endowment for the Humanities, Art Works.

initiative management and research cooperation

The Silk Road Project, Inc.


initiative consultancy

Golnar Khosrowshahi, Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis, Jonathan Bays…

Cooperation partners
Connecting the World Through the Arts

Yo-Yo Ma initiated the Silkroad Project in 1998. Ma is a Chinese-American cellist, composer and Harvard as well as Juilliard graduate, initiated. His project received both its name and inspiration from the historical Silk Road where people of diverse backgrounds came into interaction.

In 2000, the project created the Silk Road Ensemble – a musical collective consisting of around sixty artists bringing together music and instruments from different regions of the historical Silk Road. Their phenomenal performances which create an entirely new sound encourage the audience to think about the way humans and cultures can interact and what enormous creative potential can emerge thereby. The performances are online via their YouTube channel.

From the promotion of multicultural exchange between artists from all over the world as initial aim of Silkroad, the project developed into being active in more fields.

Silkroad engages in education, learning about culture and the corresponding artists performing. The educational programs conduCted by Silkroad focus on passion-driven learning channelLed through arts integration.

»One of the ways I think of Silkroad is that it’s a lab where openness is absolutely fundamental. You can actually go from one world to another and then create something that values the differences as well as celebreates commonalities.« Yo-Yo Ma

The third and newest part of Silkroad is the topic of Cultural Entrepreneurship. This project tackles the question of how to keep the art makers in the center of the society and, therefore, tries to bring artists and entrepreneurship together. Silkroad and Ma believe that artists and entrepreneurs are important scouts because they are forerunners and sensitive to changing conditions – and for that reason unlocking a powerful impact in our communities.

The Silkroad project has over time been always on the move! And we are sure they will keep going.


The Transcultural Caravan is initiated and executed by


The LEIZ is kindly sponsored by


»There can be no culture except where there is some consensus. Consensus is a matter of understanding. It is transmitted through communication, through example and through participation in a common life.«

Robert Ezra Park, est. early 1920s