Centre for Business History


Ph.D. Studies in central bank legitimacy, currency and national identity.                                             Four cases from Danish monetary history.

In this dissertation the historical relationship between Danish national identity and monetary organization, defined as the Danish currency kronen and the Danish central bank Nationalbanken is examined. The ambition of the analysis is twofold: firstly, it is aimed to understand the role of national identity in legitimating Danish monetary organization. Secondly, The importance of the Danish currency and Nationalbanken in the construction of national identity is analyzed. As such, the dissertation focuses on the mutually configuring relationship between monetary legitimacy and national identity. Following ideas from organizational institutionalism, one of the basic assumptions in the dissertation is that all organizations, including central banks, must be aligned with, or at least not contradict, the values, norms and symbols of the surrounding national culture. To analyze this potential alignment historically in a Danish context, national identity is applied as an analytical concept that conditions the actions and decisions of organizations placed in a national setting. In the dissertation, national identity is understood as the continuous reproduction and interpretations of the cultural elements of the nation as well as individual identification with these elements. This definition of national identity allows for an analysis that involves more than how monetary organization become legitimate. Every attempt to align kronen and Nationalbanken with national identity constitutes, concurrently, a reproduction of national identity. Thus, while a central bank and national currency might require alignment with national identity to be perceived as legitimate, monetary organization also reproduces and bolsters national identity.

By Anders Ravn Sørensen

Completed in 2014


Studies in central bank legitimacy, currency and national identity. Four cases from Danish monetary history.


1: Anders Ravn Sørensen; Monetary Romanticism: Nationalist Rhetoric and Monetary Organisation in Nineteenth-Century Denmark; Scandinavian Economic History Review, Vol. 61, No. 3, 2013, p. 209-232

2: Anders Ravn Sørensen; The Danish Euro: Constructing a Monetary Oxymoron in the Danish Euro Debate; National Identities, Vol. 16, No. 1, 1.2014, p. 31-51

3: Anders Ravn Sørensen; Too weird for banknotes’: Legitimacy and Identity in the Production of Danish Banknotes 1947-2007; Journal of Historical Sociology, Vol. 29, No. 2, 6.2016, p. 182-206

4: Anders Ravn Sørensen; Banking on the Nation: A Cultural History of Central Bank Legitimacy and the Narratives of Four Danish Central Bank Governors; International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2015, p. 325-347

Book: CBS through 100 years

CBS trough 100 years

For the past two years Professor Kurt Jacobsen and assistant professor Anders Ravn Sørensen has researched and written a book on the history of Copenhagen Business School. The volume was published in March 2017 in conjuncture with the centenary celebrations at CBS.


The book tells a story of an institution of higher education—founded by the Danish business community—that continually strove for academic recognition and identity. For decades, the broader academic community at the traditional Danish universities viewed it as a trade school in the pocket of the business community, while the business community felt that it offered programs that were too theoretical and unworldly. This led to dramatic confrontations over the hiring of professors and the professors’ scholarly freedom and a constant struggle for adequate financing.

The story of CBS is also a story of the changes in Danish business life and in Danish society that continually altered the demands for competencies in business and in the public sector. CBS’s constant resolve to live up to these demands has not always been a quiet process, as the management and staff have sometimes disagreed on the path to be followed—but not the ultimate goals.

The book is launched at a reception at Kilen on 24. March 2017. Speakers include CBS President Per Holten Andersen and one of the authors Anders Ravn Sørensen.

By Prof. Kurt Jacobsen

completed in 2017



Ph.D. Institutions and legitimations in finance for the arts

The thesis contributes to a more nuanced understanding of art support by investigating the underlying legitimations and institutional logics of two of the most significant foundations supporting visual art, in Denmark, the private New Carlsberg Foundation and public Danish Arts Foundation. Drawing on insights from neo-institutional and French convention theory, the thesis makes its central contributions within the fields of neo-institutional theory, cultural policy and philanthropy studies. The first paper shows the suitability of neo-institutional theory, particularly the theories of isomorphism, cultural and institutional entrepreneurship, institutional logics, and rhetorical work to address a number of key debates in cultural policy pertaining to the evaluation of aesthetic performance, the justification of investment in the arts and how ideas and meanings become taken for granted in the cultural policy field. In addition, the first paper theorizes the wider field of cultural policy, suggesting twelve institutional arenas where cultural policy is unfolded, of which the thesis focuses on public and private foundations. In the second paper, the thesis focuses on uncovering the key legitimations of art support in the New Carlsberg Foundation and the Danish Arts Foundation at critical points in time, drawing on and contributing to the literature on institutional logics and convention theory. Specifically, the thesis shows the importance of nine particular logics of legitimation underlying art support; the industrial, market, inspired, family, renown, civic, projective, emotional and temporal. Most central to the foundations’ operation are the professional (industrial), artistic (inspired) and civic logics. The thesis shows that the invocations of these logics are highly reflective upon wider societal institutions, prevailing institutional logics, the nature of the critical moment and the organisations’ practices and purpose. In the third paper the thesis hones in on the temporal logic, and draws attention to the micro-level use of this logic, which suggests that logics are invoked in characteristic ways. The third paper illuminates five distinctive uses of the past in the New Carlsberg Foundation, pertaining to the charter, the founding family, place, the moment and anecdotes and importantly shows that while some of these uses are reflected and instrumental, others are institutionalised and show propensity towards institutional reification.

By Ida Lunde Jørgensen

Completed in 2016


Institutions and legimitations in finance for the arts


1. Ida Lunde Jørgensen: Rationalised Myths of Cultural Policy Analysis: A new institutional perspective

2. Ida Lunde Jørgensen: Logics of Legitimation in Finance for the Arts: A tale of two foundations at critical points in time

3. Ida Lunde Jørgensen: Strategic and Institutional Uses of the Past by a Family Philanthropic Foundation: A study of temporal legitimations in the New Carlsberg Foundation

Ph.D. Self-conception and image of context in the growth of the firm

The dissertation tells a history of Fiberline Composites a small Danish producer of reinforced plastic. The purpose of telling this story, which stretches over 25 years from the company’s founding in 1979 to 2004, is to discuss the process of growth. In The Theory of the Growth of the Firm economist Edith Penrose seeks to explain this process and she proposes that it is best studied through historical analysis of the individual firm. This is the case, she argues, because firm growth is a path-dependent process of accumulating and exploiting resources and because every firm exists in a specific context of time and place. The firm’s available resources are exploited, or put to service, as a response to the (productive) opportunities that the firm sees and as Penrose notes the theory of the growth of firms is basically an examination of the changing productive opportunity of firms. Penrose describes productive opportunity as a subjective phenomenon. She notes that when the firm acts on such opportunities it will base its decisions on the company’s own self-conception and image of context. As such these concepts are the key to explaining the growth process of the firm. The object of the dissertation is to discuss the connection between the process of firm growth and the self-conception and image of context of the firm.

By Ellen Mølgaard

Completed in 2014


Self-conception and image of contect in the growth of the firm

Ph.D. Contextualizing the cluster  -  Palm oil in Southeast Asia in global perspective                (1880s–1970s) -

This dissertation examines the case of the palm oil cluster in Malaysia and Indonesia, today one of the largest agricultural clusters in the world. My analysis focuses on the evolution of the cluster from the 1880s to the 1970s in order to understand how it helped these two countries to integrate into the global economy in both colonial and post-colonial times. The study is based on empirical material drawn from five UK archives and background research using secondary sources, interviews, and archive visits to Malaysia and Singapore. The dissertation comprises three articles, each discussing a major under-researched topic in the cluster literature – the emergence of clusters, their governance and institutional change, and competition between rival cluster locations – through the case of the Southeast Asian palm oil cluster.

By Valeria Giacomin

Completed in 2016


Contextualizing the cluster - Palm oil in Southeast Asia in global perspective (1880s–1970s) -


1. Valeria Giacomin; The emergence of an export cluster: Traders and palm oil in 20th-century Southeast Asia; under revision at Enterprise and Society (forthcoming)
2. Valeria Giacomin; Negotiating cluster boundaries: Governance shifts in the palm oil cluster of the Malay Peninsula (1945–1970 ca.); accepted for publication at Management and Organizational History (forthcoming)
3. Valeria Giacomin: Winner takes all: Palm oil and cluster competition (1900–1970). Working Paper Currently on Academia

Ph.D. Kampen om Denmarks omdømme 1945-2010 (Danish only)

Afhandlingen undersøger: 1)Hvordan staten har forholdt sig til de ikke-statslige omdømmeaktører og deres arbejdsområder. 2) Hvilke omdømmepolitikker den danske stat førte over for henholdsvis Sovjetunionen og USA inder den kolde krig (1945-1988). En diskussion af en række teorier om, hvordan stater relaterer til landets omdømme viser, at eksisterende teorier såsom nationbranding, public diplomacy og soft power ikke er anvendelige til en historisk analyse af ovenstående spørgsmål. Derfor bliver der i starten af afhandlingen brugt tid på at opbygge et begrebsapparat der relatere til hvert spørgsmål.

By Troels Riis Larsen

Completed in 2014


Kampen om Denmarks omdømme 1945-2010

Book: Global Shipping in Small Nations

The Nordic countries have payed a key role in shipping for more than a century, but have had to content with declining employment and loss of markets over the past 50 years. Globalization has led to a series of new challenges and opportunities in the maritime industries - both the rules of the game and the playing field have changed. This book analyses how shipping companies and authorities in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland have adapted to these changes. It explains why important parts of Nordic shipping failed to respond effectively to the economic-integration process, while other parts were able to exploit the global growth opportunities. By linking company strategies to change in political and institutional frameworks, this book maps out the transformation of an entire industry.

By Stig Tenold, Martin Jes Iversen and Even Lange
Completed in 2012

Global Shipping in small Nations - Nordic Experiences after 1960 -

From Describing to Mobilising: Shaping Punched card Systems and Western Society, 1880-1945

Published as: Punched—Card Systems and the Early Information Explosion. 1880–1945

John Hopkins University Press 2009
The Confederation of Danish Industry and the Shaping of the Welfare State

The project explores the social significance of the Confederation of Danish Industries in the first decades after 1945, when industry had become the largest sector. The key question will be, what influence the Confederation had on the main political project of the post-war period: the consolidation and expansion of the Danish welfare state. It will be specifically analysed how the Confederation dealt with the key policy initiatives in the early post-war period and what impact the Confederation had on the expansion of the welfare state.

PhD project: Morten Lind Larsen
The History of the Working Environment and the Danish Working Environment Authority 1872 to 2007.

The information is in Danish only.

Kurt Jacobsen for The Danish Working Environment Authority
Managing the World: Shaping Main-Frame Computers and Western Society, 1939-c.1975

This research project will analyse the history of the main-frame computer industry in the United States, Great Britain, West Germany and France through analyses of interrelated technology and business developments/aspects. How did users and governments contribute to the shaping of business and technology in this industry in the four countries? How did computers contribute in shaping business and society? This will be answered in a comparative study of this industry in the four countries from the 1940s to the 1970s.

The project is carried out by associate professor Lars Heide
FOA – Trade and Labour, the Danish Model and the collective bargaining process 2008

By Kurt Jacobsen and Dorthe Pedersen for FOA – Trade and Labour
Book: Creating Nordic Capitalism

Creating Nordic Capitalism illuminates how the economies of five small North European countries; Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, became so competitive during the twentieth century.Through rigorous analysis the authors propose and describe the defining features of Nordic capitalism.

By Susanna Fellman, Martin Jes Iversen, Hans Sjögren, Lars Thue
Completed in 2008

Creating Nordic Capitalism - The Development of a Competitive Periphery -

The Transformation of the Danish Shipping Industry, 1985-2005

This project seeks to explain why the Danish shipping industry has been so successful due to the opportunities of world trade by sea since the early 1990s so as to obtain European leadership in that area and to perceive world leadership to be within its grasp in the near future.

Project participants: Henrik Sornn-Friese og Martin Iversen in association with Blue Denmark.dk


The page was last edited by: Communications // 01/24/2022


Centre for Business History
Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, CBS
Porcelænshaven 18A
DK-2000 Frederiksberg
Telephone: (+45) 3815 3630
Director of the Centre: Christina Lubinski