You can learn how to calculate the trajectory of a rocket or how to develop a computer chip. But what about career awareness, team spirit or leadership qualities? Is this simply something you are born with, or can you learn it?
Prof. Wolfgang Güttel, who has been working at the Institute of Management Sciences, opens an external URL in a new window at TU Wien since September 1, 2020, is convinced that different forms of knowledge must be imparted equally: Those who strengthen leadership skills, social competencies and management know-how and at the same time possess solid technical knowledge have excellent opportunities in our professional world. He wants to further develop the "Continuing Education Center" (CEC) of the TU Wien as a lifelong partner that will help with career development by offering a variety of different services.
Technology and Management
Wolfgang Güttel has been linking research and business for over two decades: He has a lot of experience in university teaching, did research in the field of management and also worked as a consultant for large companies. He will now apply this knowledge at the TU Wien - both in his scientific work at the Institute of Management Sciences and in his new position as dean of the CEC.
"The CEC has two major tasks," explains Wolfgang Güttel. "Firstly, we want to impart TU expertise in business-related areas and help companies in a targeted manner with postgraduate training. Secondly, we want to support people with technical and scientific training on their way to a management position by imparting knowledge about leadership and management skills".
These are two quite different tasks - which is reflected in the fact that the CEC offers both an "Engineering School" and a "Management School". Güttel sees the CEC of the TU Wien as a whole on a very good path, but also believes that there will be an even greater need for part-time learning in the future, and that the TU Wien should see this as an opportunity to further improve its reputation and its cooperation with the business community. Technology is more and more deeply pervading all areas of business and everyday life. Who could transmit knowledge about technology and management better than a technical university?
Can success be learned?
"For many activities, there are mandatory professional qualifications - development as a manager, on the other hand, depends on your own commitment," says Wolfgang Güttel. There is definitely knowledge that can be learned, which can be extremely helpful in this area: What are the expectations of managers and how do I plan my leadership role accordingly? What does my team need, what do my employees need for whom I have personnel responsibility? How do I control group dynamic processes to enable consistent action in the team? How do we communicate with each other and how much information does someone need to work effectively? Do the general conditions for daily business and innovation processes fit? Which techniques can I use to resolve conflicts? "These are exactly the questions we can help with," says Wolfgang Güttel.
Wolfgang Güttel highly appreciates structured, logical-analytical thinking, as it is common in technology and the natural sciences. But he also sees a danger in trying to view complex social processes with a similarly mechanistic view. "In the applied discipline of management sciences, we combine different approaches of the basic disciplines," Güttel says. "In economics, similar mathematically oriented methods are often used as in the natural sciences. But we also integrate findings from psychology and sociology. Both quantitative and qualitative methods exist there, and both have their value. The integrative view enables us to better understand the behavior of companies and the people working in them".
International career between research and practice
Wolfgang Güttel originally comes from Vienna. He studied economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and political science at the University of Vienna. He completed his doctoral thesis at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in 2002, followed by his habilitation in 2008. Güttel worked for many years in consulting and supported large companies in management issues, including Daimler-Benz. He founded his own company for Management Consulting, Research & Training.
His academic career includes a long list of stations: He taught at his alma mater, the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, the University of Liverpool, the University of Kassel, the University of Hamburg and the University of Padua. In 2009 he was appointed professor at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, where he became chairman of the Institute for Leadership and Change Management and finally took over as dean of the LIMAK Austrian Business School in 2011.