COMB receives funding for research into new digital management development

Is it possible for an app whispering wise words to the manager from the mobile phone to enhance corporate leadership? The Danish Industry Foundation has granted DKK 7 million to COMB's new research project to strengthen the future managers in Denmark.


Is it possible for a "course app" to develop leadership skills for executives in a busy business environment? And what management models are useful for the managers to meet tomorrow's challenges?

These are the questions that the new research project of the Centre for Owner-Managed Businesses "iLEAD" will be dealing with the coming years. A grant of DKK 7 million has made it possible. The CEO of the Danish Industry Foundation Mads Lebech is behind the grant:
"We are looking forward to seeing results that can be used to inspire and motivate executives to reflect on their own management issues and possible solutions. CBS has a strong profile in management and is therefore an obvious grant recipient, " Mads Lebech says.

An app to guide executives to make better decisions

It has become extremely popular to use apps for learning and project management in companies. Apps like Trello, Slack and Babbel are especially popular in language and productivity management. Now, managers can potentially look forward to an app that, as a mentor, guides them through the managerial challenges that they face in their everyday lives.

In the COMB research project, titled "iLEAD", the core is to investigate whether using an app can make it more flexible for busy executives in small and medium-sized enterprises to further qualify and educate themselves.

The app sends short messages to the managers and provide information that will help them to address their challenges. The app thus motivates the managers to think about the decisions they make, CBS Professor Niels Westergård-Nielsen and head of the research project explains.

"We can not solve the problems of managers - the managers are by far the best to do that in their own context. On the other hand, we can provide them with tools so that they themselves get better at reflecting on their practices," he says.

The first task will be to map out the new management challenges, that the increasingly digital and globalized everyday life raises. With this aim, the research team will develop a course-app in the next phase of the project, which will be tested on the managers. The research team therefore also consists of two IT researchers from CBS' Department of Digitalisation.

"The managers in smaller companies often do not have the time to retrain or attend conferences. And they do not necessarily have the digital tools to give them an overview when the company is growing. We hope that our research will have the effect of equipping the managers to improve. And potentially we can spread the phenomenon of app courses in management," Niels Westergård-Nielsen says.

The ambition is that 400 managers will participate in the project and that the results will be completed within the next four years. The project also takes place in an interdisciplinary collaboration with a psychologist from the University of Copenhagen and a professor of management at Aarhus University.

Read's news on the grant "Cheferne har ikke tid til et kursus, så nu får de en mentor i lommen".

Read more about the project at


The page was last edited by: Centre for Owner-Managed Businesses // 10/08/2019