Societal Challenges


Illustration Societal Challenges


Many EGB research projects are, directly or indirectly, linked with one or more societal challenge(s). We are particularly committed to seven challenges to which EGB research projects relate (see illustration above).  Societal challenges are inherently dynamic and evolving over time. As such, the particular challenges addressed at the department may change over time.

EGB is well positioned to address the outlined societal challenges due to the department’s disciplinary roots and principal focus areas. We adopt research projects in different disciplinary principal focus areas to societal challenges. This clarifies (i) how EGB research contributes to major societal challenges; (ii) how EGB can participate in cross-departmental,  cross-cutting initiatives, or local initiatives supported by CBS; and (iii) what EGB research has to offer in terms of interaction with relevant external stakeholders and wider society.

EGB research contributions on selected societal challenges

(1) Economic development, inequality and inclusive growth

Rising economic inequality poses a threat to inclusive growth in advanced and emerging economies alike. As corporate and political elites gain from global capitalism, others feel losing out and alienated from decision processes. Rising inequality can weaken social cohesion and political stability and fuel right-wing populism. EGB integrates political science, political economy and international business perspectives in research projects that relate to this challenge. We investigate the nexus between political systems, politics and elites, and economic wealth creation, development, and inequality. Insights from comparative policy analysis including demographics, migration and labor markets add important social dimensions. We further consider the international dimension with research on developmental and distributional effects of trade, foreign direct investment, and global value chain participation. Thereby, we emphasize the interaction between multinational firms and host country environments as well as related industrial and economic policy.

(2) Technological change & digitalization

Technological change – and in one of its latest incarnations, “digitalization” -- is a force that affects how we lead our individual personal and professional lives, how firms compete nationally and internationally, how industries change, and how society evolves. At EGB, we especially consider the international impact technological change has on business, government and economics, coalescing previously distant themes such as: (1) Artificial Intelligence, both as a facilitator and as a driver of corporate and societal change; (2) Industry 4.0, with all its implications for business value chains, industrial clustering, and labor transformation; (3) Global Innovation, covering aspects of skilled labor migration, reverse innovation, and relocation/recentralization of innovation; (4) e-Government, international regulation, and -- in the context of cultural diversity -- the impact of technological change on ethics and perception of fairness. Multiple research methodologies are being used, with ongoing collaborations both inside and beyond CBS. EGB concentrates its contribution to these themes at the levels of the firm, country, technological trends, and corresponding interactions.

(3) Regulating Societal Transformations

Research projects within this theme are all in some way or another concerned with regulatory challenges related to societal transformations regardless of whether these are gradual structural changes related e.g. to demographic change or regulatory pressure stemming from the EU or more rapid societal transformations or crises such as e.g. migration crises or COVID-19. Research within the theme focus on comparative policy analysis with a special focus on issues related to the Nordic welfare states with a special emphasis on labour markets, small states more generally and the EU. A number of (externally funded) research projects are already well under way while others have just started. The following examples represent some of the current projects related to the theme but not all. The ReNEW project with a seminar series focused on societal challenges, the HECAT-project on disruptive technologies supporting labour market decision-making and the Eurosit-project on EU social citizenship.

(4) Collaborating for sustainable development

Societal challenges are complex problems with a significant societal impact. Due to their complexity, the development and implementation of sustainable solutions to societal challenges rest on collaboration between diverse sets of actors, such as governments, private-sector firms, and civil society organizations. In practice, however, effective collaboration across sectoral divides is fraught with challenges and difficult to realize. EGB seeks to support the formation of effective collaborations and equitable solutions to complex societal problems by leveraging the department's research expertise at the interface of International Business and Political Science, broadly defined. Through a series of research projects at the theoretical and empirical frontiers of these respective disciplines, EGB faculty seeks to develop contextualized insights into the opportunities and challenges of collaboration between different types of actors in the context of various societal challenges. Examples of focus areas include climate change, inequality, food security, business and humanitarianism, and migration.

(5) Emerging Markets and rise of Asia

EGB research advances our understanding of the economic integration of large and rapidly growing emerging markets into the global economy. From a policy perspective, this includes work on state-business relationships, industrial and innovation policies, skill upgrading, as well as educational reform. From an international business perspective we investigate firms’ non-market strategies, foreign direct investment, global value chain dynamics as well as issues of cross-cultural management. Our future research will also address two new themes: The first relates to geopolitical and geoeconomic developments, such as the tensions between the US and China, the reservations towards Chinese technology and social media companies, or the Chinese Belt-and-Road Initiative and corresponding implications for international business and economic policy within Asia, the EU, or Denmark. The second theme relates to the impact of COVID-19 and the economic recovery process in emerging markets. This refers, for example, to global value chain re-configurations, increased supply chain resilience of multinational firms, and higher degrees of national and regional self-sufficiency in the production of critical supplies.

(6) International cooperation, protectionism and de-globalization

The post-cold war economic order has been characterized by international cooperation, multilateralism, regional integration and globalization. Rivalry between the USA and China as global superpowers, the rise of populism, and waning trust among electorates in western democracies, challenge existing values and the established global order. We may face politically led de-globalization and de-coupling with implications for international business, sustainable economic growth and development. Against this background, EGB investigates policy and business responses from different perspectives. On the one hand, we examine policy responses in western democracies to Chinese state-led capitalism, the role of business lobbyism in the development of foreign policies, or policy reactions to climate change, extreme weather events, and major pandemics. On the other hand, we explore state-market interaction with research on firms’ non-market strategies, the role of politics for firms’ internationalization, the interaction of foreign and domestic firms as well as the and firms’ strategies adopted to manage global market risks.

(7) Business and democratic governance

Research on Business and Democratic Governance advances our understanding of challenges facing democratic and non-democratic governments. Research within this theme draws upon theory and methods in political science, political economy and international business to explore the ways in which democratic and non-democratic governments influence – and are shaped by – the public, businesses, markets, and public policy at the domestic and international level. Current and future research focuses on a number of related issues: (1) The firm in politics and the role money in politics, including firms’ non-market strategies, political connections, corruption, and the role of pecuniary rewards among top public officials; (2) Redistributive and regulatory politics, including the importance of democracy for inclusive markets and inclusive economic growth, and the implications of redistributive policies and market regulations for voters and businesses; (3) social data science and challenges to democracy caused by algorithmic governance and digitalization; (4) government responses to economic and societal crises, including the rise of anti-globalization sentiments, trade relations, and the politics of green transition.

The page was last edited by: Department of International Economics, Government and Business // 06/04/2021