Business and Society

Applying knowledge in a societal challenge

By Erik Beulen | October 26, 2022 | 2 min read
TIAS has teamed up with the WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) and Caritas Austria to help Caritas solve one of their many societal challenges while at the same time providing our students and alumni with an exciting and international learning experience that focuses on business and society. In this specific project students from the WU’s executive academy work collaboratively with other partner schools on redesigning and improving the business model and services provided by the Caritas “Josefbus“ (
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Prof.dr. Erik Beulen’s experience as faculty member in the initiative 

As one of the TIAS faculty members engaged in this initiative, Prof.dr. Erik Beulen shares his experience with the Josefbus. ‘’The Josefbus website connects volunteers and people lacking the money or the strength to perform household tasks. This is a Caritas initiative, which is an Austrian caritative organization. Within this project, we concluded that the Josefbus needs an app in addition to their website, and that adding services will be beneficial for both the people in need and the volunteers.’’

Academic frameworks

Erik Beulen continues: ‘’In addressing this challenge we discussed two academic frameworks. First the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology which explains why users accept or reject a give technology and how user acceptance can be improved through technology design. We also discussed platform theory, platforms are technologically mediated, enable interaction between user groups and allow those user groups to carry out defined tasks. Think Uber, Netflix or AirBNB. For clarity: the Josefbus is the platform, the producers are the volunteers and the people in need are the consumers.’’

Erik Beulen: ‘’Let us start with the technology acceptance. Adding an app was a no-brainer. For the Josefbus users, we discussed potential constrains related to the use of smart phones, including experience and the affordability of smart phones.’’ ‘’To increase the technology acceptance we concluded that user friendliness and customer journey require specific attention in redesigning the website and designing new web and mobile functionalities. In the context of the platform theory we further explored advancing the Josefbus.’’

Attracting additional volunteers

Volunteers can benefit from growing their network, where Caritas should consider expanding to facilitate community building of the volunteers. Setting up a buddy and training system, potentially including Caritas certification, will attracted additional volunteers as well as improving the quality of work as the community building of volunteers. 

The students put forward many new services including social services such as shopping and keeping company  addressing loneliness of people in need. Finally we discussed monetization opportunities. 

Watch the video in which Erik Beulen shares his experience with and the Josefbus. 
Watch the video

In the video below, students share their experience with and the Josefbus.

Watch the video

TIAS’ vision on learning

At TIAS we work with an international pool of passionate, experienced, and renowned professors, learning & development professionals, and lecturers. Our teaching staff have a strong connection to business, society, and science, and keep abreast of the latest educational insights of which the project is a great example.

Prof.dr. Erik Beulen

EricBeulenProf.dr. Erik Beulen is Academic Director of the Executive Master of Information Management & Digital Transformations at TIAS School for Business and Society. 
This Part-time MSc program is designed for managers and professionals who, through in-depth technical knowledge and understanding of business processes, support their organizations in making the right decisions at the interface between business and IT.

Read more about the Executive Master of Information Management & Digital Transformations»

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