Those who have really enabled this research – and will, I hope, also benefit from its outcome at one point or other – are the managers who participated in the study. I hope my lengthy questionnaire and my numerous follow-up calls have not discouraged them to support further empirical studies. Special thanks go to my advisers, Professors Bodo B. Schlegelmilch and Constantine S. Katsikeas, who always had an open ear for my ideas (and complicated models) and shared their experience with me. Next in line are my colleagues, who have gone through similar tortures and were among the few people able to understand what I was doing. Elisabeth deserves to be mentioned separately here as she patiently endured all my beginner’s questions while she was in the final stages of her PhD thesis. I must acknowledge the deepest debt to Nils from the University of Hamburg who has dedicated much time teaching me structural equation modelling. After some more time, however, I reached the point when no one was able to understand what I was really doing and then writing a PhD became a very lonely activity – especially when the most intense phase of writing happens to be in the hottest summer of the century . . . Spending most of the time in a boiling office, I started to divide my friends into two groups: those I would not call any more and those who had to listen to my problems quite frequently. I would like to thank both groups: the first one for still ‘knowing’ me – although some of them might think they were really lucky to be in the first group; the second one, especially Philippa, Denise and Ulli, for lending me an ear and for all the intense discussions we had – obviously not only about my thesis. I must not forget to mention Philipp, who, despite not being in a daily-glass-of-wine reach, supported me a great deal. I will always keep the weekend breakfasts with Theresa in good memory as well as all the nice evenings spent with Kathi and Nina. And I am especially grateful to Tom, who always advocated a healthy mind–body balance and made me do all kinds of physical exercise from climbing to yoga. I thank you all for being my friends and for supporting me during this stressful time. But, in my case, this does not indicate that the hard times are over. Times might even get harder as our endeavours seem to lead many of us to different places.
I could not have published this thesis had it not survived the critical comments of my reviewers Björn, Philippa and my father. At this point I thank Jacky Kippenberger, my editor at Palgrave Macmillan, and copyeditor Keith Povey for helping me to turn my thesis into a book. As far as my own survival is concerned, I owe much to my grandmother, who made sure that my fridge contained some food from time to time, my grandparents and my brother. My last years would not have been so wonderful without Björn. I thank him for sticking with me through all my ups and downs and for constantly challenging me. Most important, not only during the last years but during my entire life, was the support of my parents who – despite not always sharing my views – always helped me to accomplish my goals. This book is dedicated to my
mother on her 50th birthday.