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Elizabeth Sturlaugson

CSB Senior Presents Research Findings on Global Issues at Two European Conferences

Elizabeth K. Sturlaugson, A Senior at the College of Saint Benedict, participated as co-author and co-presenter at two prestigious international conferences held in Europe this summer. This was the first time a CSB/SJU student from the Department of Management has presented at two international conferences back-to-back. Dr. Sanford Moskowitz, Assistant Professor (Management) was Ms. Sturlaugson’s co-author on these papers and co-presenter at the conferences. Both conference papers underwent a rigorous peer-reviewed process prior to their acceptance for presentation.

Ms. Sturlaugson’s work as co-author on these papers and as co-presenter at the two conferences is part of her Honor’s Thesis project. She was awarded CSB/SJU’s Honor’s Thesis Summer Fellowship to support her research and writing over the summer as well as to help fund her travel to the conferences. Sturlaugson is the sole recipient of the award from the Division of Social Sciences. Professor Moskowitz serves as Ms. Sturlaugson’s Advisor on her Honor’s Thesis. Professor Marcus Webster (Biology) is Director of the Honor’s Thesis Program.

Ms. Sturlaugson and Professor Moskowitz presented their first paper at the 5th International Conference on Management sponsored by the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) and held in Athens, Greece July 2-4. The paper presented, --The Geographic Distribution of Economic Growth: Gatekeepers, Multi-Environmental Clusters, and National and Regional Competitive Advantage: The US vs. the EU” explores the relationship between global technology, industrial clustering, and economic activity within two of the most important “regions” in the world today. From the model of national competitive advantage developed, conclusions are drawn regarding the potential competitiveness of Asia. Ms. Sturlaugson and Professor Moskowitz then flew to Vienna (Austria) to deliver their second paper at the 23rd Colloquium of the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), which focused on the theme “Individuals and Organizations:The Internationalization of Services.” The conference was held at Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (Vienna, Austria) from July 5-8, 2007. Sturlaugson and Moskowitz presented their paper “Outsourcing, Wealth Creation & SMEs: The Internationalization of Services within the Global Textiles and Apparel Industry– The Baltic vs. The Balkans,” which used comparative analysis technique to explore the critical factors that accelerate (or hinder) the internationalization process of small and medium sized firms (SMEs) within Eastern Europe and how this process leads to (or prevents) wealth creation within the region.

Ms. Sturlaugson’s role in both presentations was to provide detailed analysis of the data and to link the salient statistical trends to the overarching themes and conclusions of the papers. Her performance at both conferences was met with great success. Comments from the Chairs of the sessions and from participants were highly enthusiastic. As one participant noted specifically about Sturlaugson’s presentation:” A tour de force of clarity and insight on a most relevant –and complex—subject”.

Ms. Sturlaugson’s final Honor’s Thesis will be completed and presented to her Department and Honor Thesis Committee this coming spring (2008). In addition to Professor Moskowitz, her Honor’s Thesis Committee is composed of Professor John Hasselberg, Chair (Management) and Professor Paul Marsnik (Management). Her thesis will be a synthesis of the two conference papers. It will focus on the conflict between “convergence” and “divergence” in an increasingly globalized world. In doing so, the Honor’s Thesis will challenge the notion that globalization is leading to a “world that is flat.” Sturlaugson is currently exploring the possibility of presenting her Honor’s Thesis at an international conference this coming summer (2008).

In the longer term, Ms. Sturlaugson says that she plans to apply her experiences obtained and global contacts made at the conferences in Athens and Vienna to further her goals of pursuing a career in international business. “Participating in these conferences was a great opportunity to learn extensively about business on the global level. My passion and interest in international business was heighted during this unique experience because I was able to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to a larger global context.”