Copenhagen Business School PhD Scholarship in The Possibilities and Limits of Corporate Responsibility: Corporate Power, Authority and Legitimacy in an Era of Anti-Globalization 2017, Denmark

Publish Date: May 19, 2017

Deadline: Jun 01, 2017

PhD scholarship in The Possibilities and Limits of Corporate Responsibility: Corporate Power, Authority and Legitimacy in an Era of Anti-Globalization

MNC activities have spread widely across the globe, connecting with millions of smaller firms that supply to or connect with their work in global production networks. They thus exercise a significant economic power.  At the same time, an increasing number of MNCs has engaged in social initiatives, thus extending their political authority vis-à-vis the public sector. To be sure, corporate engagement in social and societal issues is not new. Yet, the current high attention paid to this area can be referred back to the shifting of political responsibilities in an increasingly complex world.

Responsibility is often generally evoked in debates, for instance as in a responsibility to combat world poverty or to tackle global environmental problems. It is exactly a call for responsibility in such situations of global challenges that reveal the governance gaps that the transnational sphere is facing. The increased mobility of companies and the absence or limits of regulations beyond national borders lead to unregulated spaces where neither nation states nor other actors, such as international organizations have the regulatory capacity or authority to intervene. Earlier, this has been recognized as a lack of legitimate decision-makers at the global level as well as a missing transnational political community and, in an analogy to the nation state, pointed at a lack of democratic legitimacy at the international level. Ever since, debates have developed and focused on different degrees of the “public-private mix”. Companies are now explicitly conceptualized as political actors too, e.g. as ‘rule-makers’ and ‘regulators’.

This PhD project would explore corporate responsibility from such a broad understanding, going beyond the perspective of CSR as a business case.  How can we conceptualize the relations between the state, market and society? Does anti-globalization lead to a new agenda of ‘responsibility’ for MNCs? And how are these new responsibilities negotiated amongst relevant actors? How do social and environmental responsibilities shift between actors such as states, MNCs, NGOs, IOs and also citizens in an era of fragmented governance? How can companies be held accountable in a global economy? How does accountability relate to moral responsibility? And can companies be perceived as moral agents? These are potential questions that could be addressed. In order to do so, applications are invited from multiple disciplinary backgrounds such as political science, international relations, sociology, organizational studies, and management.

This is one of seven positions in a PhD cohort focused on the theme: ‘‘Multinational corporations (MNCs) in the age of anti-globalization”.  Compared to the 1980s, where MNCs flourished due to the neo-liberal turn that embraced globalization, and which did bring dynamism, wealth and leadership practices across the globe, the 2010s are characterized by increased skepticism towards globalization. This skepticism arises from increased inequality, but also technological innovation, whereby blue-collar workers are increasingly becoming redundant. It has for instance expressed itself in the populist revolt that underpinned the 2016 US presidential election and Brexit and it seems that the neoliberal order is now being reconfigured, with a greater focus on nationalism and national interests. There is also an increased focus on the behavior and strategies of MNCs. These issues are being addressed by governments, the EU and international organizations (IOs) such as the UN.  Thus, the aim of this PhD cohort is on the one hand, to focus on the current global challenges MNCs face, which types of strategies they adopt in response, and in what way they organize their activities, and on the other hand what the responses of IOs and governments are and what these responses imply for the strategies of MNCs. Academic research on this question can generate new insights into the relationship between firm-level decision-making by MNCs, in relation to international organizations, the EU and governments and the increasingly anti-global environment they all operate in.

The Departments involved in the cohort – Strategic Management and Globalization (SMG), Business and Politics (DBP), International Economics and Management  (INT) - give priority to applicants with high grades from their universities. This requirement includes the minimum grade of a weighted grade point average of at least 8.2 on the Danish 7-point grading scale or 9 on the 13-point scale for the entire program (i.e. for both the Bachelor's and Master's studies), and at least the grade of 10 for any final thesis or examination project. In addition to the research proposal, the application must include copies of the Bachelor degree certificate and grades as well as Master’s degree certificate and grades or other certificates of a corresponding level, brief curriculum vitae (CV), a list of papers and publications, and one copy of a selected written work (e.g. Master’s thesis).

The program is highly international and you are expected to participate in international research conferences. See the CBS homepage for more information about the PhD program. It is also required that the applicant shows an interest in joining the Department’s research environment.

CBS PhD graduates are held in high esteem not only in academia and research institutions but also in government and business where their research qualifications are increasingly demanded. One third of CBS PhD graduates go on to employment outside universities and public research institutions.

Copenhagen Business School has a broad commitment to the excellence, distinctiveness and relevance of its teaching and research programs. Candidates who wish to join us should demonstrate enthusiasm for working in organization of this type (highlighting, for example, relevant business, educational and dissemination activities).

For further information please contact: Associate Professor Antje Vetterlein, tel.: +45-38153558, email or Head of Secretariat Bo Bøgeskov, tel. +45 38153583, email    

General information: A PhD scholarship runs for a period of 3 years, and includes teaching obligations equivalent of 1⁄2 year’s work (840 work hours). The scholarships are fully salaried positions, according to the national Danish collective agreement. The scholarship includes the tuition fees, office space, travel grants plus a salary, currently starting with per month app. DKK 23.770 (app. 3,160 euro) up to DKK 28.964 (app. 3,860 euro) depending on seniority, plus a pension contribution totaling 17,1 % of 85 per cent of the base salary.

The salary level and appointment is determined by the Ministry of Finance’s collective agreement with the Central Academic Organization.

The PhD student will be enrolled at PhD School in Organization and Management Studies (OMS). To be considered, the candidate should have a basic training at the Masters level (similar to the 3 + 2 Bologna process). An educational background in political science or sociology is necessary. The applicant must have successfully completed the Master’s degree before commencing a PhD at CBS. The applicants must be fluent in English.

The application (see link below) must include a 5 page project description. This research proposal should contain a presentation of an original research question, a description of the initial theoretical framework and methodology, a presentation of the suggested empirical material as well as a work-plan.

In addition to the research proposal, the application must include copies of a Master’s degree certificate or other certificates of a corresponding level, brief curriculum vitae (CV), a list of papers and publications, and one copy of a selected written work (e.g. Master’s thesis). Applicants must enclose documentation for English language skills if not mother tongue.

Recruitment procedure

The Recruitment Committee will shortlist minimum two applicants; when possible five or more applicants will be shortlisted. The shortlisted applicants will be assessed by the Assessment Committee. All applicants will be notified of their status in the recruitment process shortly after the application deadline.

The applicants selected for assessment will be notified about the composition of the Assessment Committee and later in the process about the result of the assessment.

Once the recruitment process is completed each applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application.

Copenhagen Business School must receive all application material, including all appendices, by the application deadline.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

Similar Opportunities





Study Levels


Opportunity Types


Eligible Countries


Host Countries