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) Business and democracy

Research on Business and Democracy 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 of money in politics, including firms’ non-market strategies, political connections, and corruption, and the role of political and economic elites; (2) political risk and the role of the political environment for the investments and strategies of multinational corporations; (3) redistributive and regulatory politics, including the importance of democracy and state capacity for voters, firms, and markets; (4) causes and consequences of inequality; (5) social data science and its use for studying challenges to democracy; (6) government responses to economic and societal crises, including the rise of anti-globalization sentiments, violent conflict, and FDI.

(2) Technological change and digital transformation

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 challenges

Increasingly, ‘wicked’ policy problems have a cross-border and transnational dimension that affect governments, but also businesses and other societal stakeholders. This poses challenges and opportunities for regulators (where there is increased coordination at international and EU levels, but where most regulatory authority remains in national contexts), but also businesses and civil society organizations, that may intervene in setting agendas, lobbying and intervening in cross-border challenges. In this group, the aim is to do public events on a biannual basis – round tables – involving governments, regulators, interest organisations, academics, and ideally students that have done interesting master or PhD theses on these topics.

(4) The ethical MNE

The Ethical Multinational Enterprise cluster departs its analyses in the organization of activities of multinational enterprises. The questions we address is how the MNE handles ethical challenges through its organizational structures and processes, and how various units address the legitimacy requirements from  stakeholders. The MNE can be viewed as having ethical as well as unethical behaviors. These organizations face dual pressures, as there can be requirements from external stakeholders that differ across host countries, and simultaneously it can be difficult to explain ethical standards to the outside world. Of particular interest is the interaction effect between these two pressures, and the tension between headquarters and subsidiaries. Among others, this group addresses themes such as location choice, corruption, FDI, NGOs, value chains, outsourcing, tax havens, inequality, misconduct, responsible management, CEO and Boards, compassion, sustainability and humanitarian aid.

(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) Business, global shifts and policy challenges

The cluster brings together members of EGB who consider global shifts and their impact upon business, markets and governance. These shifts are in some instances slow-burning and subterranean but at other times happen rapidly amidst crises triggered by sudden, exogenous shocks. They include processes of deglobalization and “decoupling”, the changing character of both east-west and north-south relations, but also for example the 2016 Brexit vote, the unfolding of the Belt and Road Initiative, the rise of populism, and the Covid-19 epidemic. Within this context the cluster not only looks at policy and policymaking processes but also assesses the impact of these changes on for example supply chains, the structure and restructuring of firms, location choice, approaches to risk, policymaking processes, and the overall relationship between states and the global economy.

The page was last edited by: Department of International Economics, Government and Business // 07/11/2023