Centre for Business History

Current projects

The British Advertising Industry, 1880 – 1951

This project focuses on the emergence of a consumer-, media-, and service-oriented advertising industry in Britain from the decades of the ‘long depression’ in the late nineteenth century, which saw the arrival on the market of full-service agencies, to the end of first postwar Labour government in 1951, which in turn marked the beginning of a process of consolidation and concentration in the advertising industry structures in Britain. The project tests the hypothesis that the ‘marketing revolution’ of the first part of the twentieth century could only have taken place because of the advertising industry’s ability to acquire social and cultural capital. The quest for professional legitimacy influenced the structures of agency competition for clients and consumers: what had been a conglomeration of advertising space salesmen around became an efficient and competitive service industry some forty years later. The project also questions the idea that the major dynamic impulse behind innovations and modernisation in the industry stemmed from transfer processes emanating in the United States (‘Americanisation’).

The project is carried out by Associate Professor Stefan Schwarzkopf.
The Advantage of Outsiderness: Political Risk Management in Historical Perspective

Many of the contemporary challenges that signal the tail-end of globalization have historical predecessors. In particular, the interwar period was characterized by strong deglobalization tendencies, as conflicts between developed nations rose, anti-colonial and communist movements gained ground, and international monetary instability increased. Based on the historical case of German multinationals in colonial India, this project explores how multinational companies (MNEs) responded to deglobalization by developing political strategies and cultivating capabilities that allowed them to successfully pursue international markets in geopolitically turbulent times. Identifying their mechanisms through historical sources and viewing them longitudinally shows MNEs as political actors, not just adapting and dealing with novel political contexts but actively shaping political identities and processes of legitimization. The results suggest a conceptual rethink of political risk, seeing it (i) as a source of opportunities that multinationals can capitalize on and (ii) in relative terms, with MNEs being judged by their contribution relative to other foreign MNEs.

The project is carried out by Associate Professor Christina Lubinski


Lubinski, Christina. "Global Trade and Indian Politics: The German Dye Business in India before 1947." Business History Review 89, no. 3 (2015). - Winner of the Henrietta Larson Article Prize 2016 -

Lubinski, Christina. "Local Responsiveness in Distant Markets: Western Gramophone Companies in India before World War I." Management and Organizational History 10, no. 2 (2015): 170-88

Lubinski, Christina, and Matthias Kipping. "Introduction: Translating Potential into Profits: Foreign Multinationals in Emerging Markets since the Nineteenth Century." Management and Organizational History 10, no. 2 (2015): 93-102

Jones, Geoffrey, and Christina Lubinski. "Managing Political Risk in Global Business: Beiersdorf 1914-1990." Enterprise & Society 13, no. 1 (2012): 85-119. - Winner of the Oxford Journal Best Article Prize 2013 -

Lubinski, Christina. "Siemens’ Early Business in India: A Family Multinational’s Quest for Unity, 1847-1914." In Family Multinationals: Entrepreneurship, Governance, and Pathways to Internationalization, edited by Christina Lubinski, Jeffrey Fear and Paloma Fernández Perez, 38-54.
New York: Routledge, 2013.

Lubinski, Christina, and Klara Schnitzer. "Internment as Human Resource Management Challenge: The German India Business and the Organization of Work (C.1900-1947).” (Working Paper 2017).

Lubinski, Christina, and Andreas Steen. "Cooperation, Conflict and Profit: The Early Gramophone Business in China and India until World War I." Itinerario (in print).


Teaching Case

Jones, Geoffrey and Christina Lubinski. "Willy Jacobsohn and Beiersdorf: Managing Expropriation and Anti-Semitism." Harvard Business School Case 811-060 (2011).


In German

Lubinski, Christina. "Die nationalistische Note: Westliche Grammophone und indischer Nationalismus vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg." Historische Anthropologie 24, no. 1 (2016): 27-49.

Lubinski, Christina, and Geoffrey Jones. "Wider dem sauren Mund. Beiersdorf's US-Geschäft mit der Zahnpastamarke Pebeco." Hamburger Wirtschafts-Chronik 9 (2010): 141-65.

Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Research

Research on entrepreneurship remains fragmented in business history. A lack of conceptual clarity inhibits comparisons between studies and dialogue among scholars. To address these issues, we propose to reinvent entrepreneurial history as a research field. We define “new entrepreneurial history” as the study of the processes of envisioning and pursuing novel futures, cumulatively driving historical change in economic practices. Rather than putting actors, hierarchies or institutions at the center of the analysis, we focus explicitly on three distinct entrepreneurial processes as primary objects of study: (i) envisioning opportunities, (ii) allocating and reconfiguring resources, and (iii) legitimizing novelty. The paper elaborates on the historiography, premises and potential contributions of new entrepreneurial history.

The project is carried out by Associate Professor Christina Lubinski and Professor R. Daniel Wadwhani (University of the Pacific)


Wadhwani, R. Daniel, and Christina Lubinski. "Reinventing Entrepreneurial History”." Business History Review (forthcoming).

Lubinski, Christina, Marvin Menniken, and Sabine Küntzel. "Country Report: ―Business History in Germany:  A Selection of Courses and Lecturers at German Universities." In Guide to Courses in Business History, Vol. 2: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America & Caribbean, South & Southeast Asia, edited by Walter A. Friedman and Geoffrey Jones, Chapter 14: Harvard Business School Business History Initiative, 2015.

Corporate Governance Changes in German Family Businesses, 1960 to 2010

Dynastic family businesses pursue a double aim. They strive for economic success and attempt to shield the family’s long-term influence against outsiders. As a consequence, their choice of governance reflects an idiosyncratic balance between remaining independent and tapping into the opportunities of the market. Autonomy-oriented “closed” governance can lead to problems in integrating external capital and knowledge. More market-oriented “open” governance can make a firm more vulnerable to outside influence. This project explores how German family firms have struck a balance between the two models since the mid-nineteenth century. I argue that their choice of governance is a response to the challenges and opportunities of the environment and discuss the influence of corporate law, alternative finance options, and inheritance law at different points in time. Given the strong path dependencies in the institutional environment that the project highlights through comparisons with the US and UK, the historical analysis allows for a better understanding of family firms’ governance choices in different national contexts.

This project is carried out by Associate Professor Christina Lubinski



Lubinski, Christina. Familienunternehmen in Westdeutschland: Corporate Governance und Gesellschafterkultur seit den 1960er Jahren. München: C.H.Beck, 2010.


Journal Articles:

Lubinski, Christina. "Path Dependency and Governance in German Family Firms." Business History Review 85, no. 4 (2011): 699-724.

Stamm, Isabell, and Christina Lubinski. "Crossroads of Family Business Research and Firm Demography A Critical Assessment of Family Business Survival Rates." Journal of Family Business Strategy 2, no. 3 (2011): 117-27.

Lubinski, Christina. "Succession in Multi-Generational Family Firms: An Explorative Study into the Period of Anticipatory Socialization." Electronic Journal of Family Business Studies 5, no. 1-2 (2011): 4-25.

Lubinski, Christina. "Zwischen Familienerbe und globalem Markt. Die Corporate Governance westdeutscher Familienunternehmen von den 1960er Jahren bis in die Gegenwart." Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte 55, no. 2 (2010): 204-29.

Lubinski, Christina. "Family Incorporated: Die Koevolution von Familie Und Unternehmen in mehrgenerationellen deutschen Familienunternehmen seit den 1960er Jahren." Akkumulation 28 (2009): 1-6.


Book Sections:

Lubinski, Christina. "Family Legends: Timeless Stories between Past and Present." In Family Businesses as a Phenomenon. Volume 2: Overview, edited by Maria Spitz, Kai Bosecker, Andrea Kambartel and Nicole Roth, 43-50. Mettingen: Draiflessen Collection, 2016.

Lubinski, Christina. "Kapitalismusformen." In Studienbuch Institutionelle Wirtschafts- Und Unternehmensgeschichte, edited by Clemens Wischermann, Katja Patzel-Mattern, Martin Lutz and Thilo Jungkind, 180-91. Stuttgart: Steiner, 2015.

Lubinski, Christina. "Siemens’ Early Business in India: A Family Multinational’s Quest for Unity, 1847-1914." In Family Multinationals: Entrepreneurship, Governance, and Pathways to Internationalization, edited by Christina Lubinski, Jeffrey Fear and Paloma Fernández Perez, 38-54. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Lubinski, Christina. "'Was ich habe, bin ich'. Psychologisches Eigentum und Gesellschafterkultur in dem Düsseldorfer Familienunternehmen Bagel, ca. 1960 bis 2005." In Familienunternehmen im Rheinland im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Netzwerke - Nachfolge - Soziales Kapital, edited by Susanne Hilger and Ulrich S. Soénius, 238-51. Köln: Stiftung Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv, 2009.

Lubinski, Christina. "Wo 'nachfolgende Generationen schaffende Arbeit verrichten'. Generationenerzählungen in mehrgenerationellen deutschen Familienunternehmen von ca. 1950 bis 2005." In Generation als Erzählung. Neue Perspektiven auf ein kulturelles Deutungsmuster, edited by Björn Bohnenkamp, Till Manning and Eva-Maria Silies, 151-68. Göttingen: Wallstein-Verl., 2009.


Edited Volumes:

Lubinski, Christina, Jeffrey R. Fear, and Paloma Fernández Pérez, eds. Family Multinationals: Entrepreneurship, Governance, and Pathways to Internationalization. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Berghoff, Hartmut, Uffa Jensen, Christina Lubinski, and Bernd Weisbrod, eds. History by Generations: Generational Dynamics in Modern History, GöTtinger Studien Zur Generationsforschung, vol. 11. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2013.

Green Entrepreneurship

This project examines the evolution of corporate environmentalism in the West German chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. It focuses on two companies, Bayer and Henkel, and traces the evolution of their environmental strategies in response to growing evidence of pollution and resulting political pressures. Although German business has been regarded as pioneering corporate environmentalism, this study reveals major commonalities between the German and American chemical industries until the 1970s, when the two German firms diverged from their American counterparts in using public relations strategies not only to contain fallout from criticism, but also as opportunities for changes in corporate culture. The article finds no evidence for variety of capitalism explanations why German firms should have been early in their sustainability strategies, partly because of the importance of regional as opposed to national influences, but the study is supportive of organisational sociology theory about the importance of visibility in corporate green strategies.

This project is carried out by Associate Professor Christina Lubinski


Jones, Geoffrey, and Christina Lubinski. "Making ‘Green Giants’: Environment Sustainability in the German Chemical Industry, 1950s–1980s." Business History 56, no. 4 (2014): 623-49.

The Danish maritime master-narrative: The historical roots of industry identity and legitimacy

Starting early 2017 the Center for Business History at Copenhagen Business School launches a three year research project on the historical development of the Danish maritime narrative. The project aims to analyze how the narrative of Denmark as a maritime nation has developed from the beginning of the nineteenth century until today. While the narrative of Denmark as an outreaching, explorative maritime nation has long historical roots this narrative was – after the loss of Norway in 1814 and the nationally traumatizing Prussian wars in the middle of the nineteenth century –dwarfed by a stronger narrative of Denmark as a small, inwards looking agricultural nation. A central hypothesis of this project is that the maritime narrative is experiencing a revival, and that the shift from the inwards looking agricultural narrative to an externally oriented and reactive maritime one must be understood as a consequence of increasing cultural and political globalization. In other words, the project focusses on a potential shift in master narratives that result from changing global trends.

Furthermore, the project investigates the political and economic legitimacy that are potentially conferred upon certain industries as a result of their entwinement in historically routed narratives.

The project is carried out by Anders Ravn Sørensen.

It is funded by D/S Orients Fond and established in collaboration with the Maritime Museum of Denmark and CBS Maritime Platform. In conjuncture with project at new network of maritime business history is established as collaboration between Danish research institutions and maritime museums.

The Emergence of Market and Consumer Research in Europe, 1918-1957

The market and consumer research industry today forms one of the most exiting and innovative parts of the marketing sector, which contributes several billions of Euros per year to the European economy. Market and consumer research is today recognised to be a major driver in product and service innovation and as such, its historical, cultural and political origins within the European industrial constellation deserve attention. This project traces the origins of market and consumer research in Europe from the end of the First World War and follows its consolidation during the postwar years up until the Treaties of Rome (1957). A key question that motivates this project is to identify the individual circumstances and motivations that led European businesses to adopt a market and consumer research orientation.

The project is carried out by Associate Professor Stefan Schwarzkopf.
Danish fashion industry from 1945 to 2008

The Danish fashion trade has undergone several characteristic developments since the breakthrough in the post-war period, when clothing companies converted into fashion companies. Today, the fashion trade works in a globalised and versatile fashion market characterised by outsourced production and centralised branding. The aim of the PhD project "Design as a Competitive Parameter in the Development of the Danish Fashion Industry from 1945 to 2008" is to explore the role of design and designers as an integrated part of the fashion industries' economic success between 1945 and 2008. How did fashion companies integrate design in order to attract the attention of the consumers and how did the fashion trade develop in correlation with changes in consumer culture and society during this period?

The project is financed by Centre for Business History , The Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Textile Research , Designskolen Kolding and the Danish centre for design research.
The genesis of a »new economy« - capital, knowledge, technology, and labour in the early industrialisation

The aim of this project is a regional analysis of the evolution of industrial capitalism in Germany from 1790 to 1850.

The chosen region is the West of the Rhineland. This region can be regarded as the ‘gateway’ of industrialisation in Germany; it very soon developed a complex industrial structure (cloth industry, machine construction, coal mining, iron industry, zinc industry, wagon construction, paper industry, glass industry). The region was interconnected with the advanced Belgian industry and with Belgian and French capital markets, and it is thus an appropriate case for the analysis of economic learning processes.

Based on regional and state archives the research aims at a ‘micro -foundation’ of economic development to analyse economic agency, including learning processes, knowledge distribution, and similar questions addressed by modern Business History.

By associate professor Alfred Reckendrees

Further Literature:

Institutioneller Wandel und Wirtschaftliche Entwicklung : Das westliche Rheinland in der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts. In: Deutschland als Modell?: Rheinischer Kapitalismus und Globaliserung seit dem 19. Jahrhundert. Ed. D. Gilgen; C. Kopper; A, Leutzsch. Bonn : Dietz Verlag Berlin GmbH 2010, p. 45-88.

Zur Funktion der Aktiengesellschaften in der frühen Industrialisierung / On the Function of Joint Stock Companies in the Early Industrialisation. In: Jahrbuch fuer Wirtschaftsgeschichte, No. 2, 2012, p. 137-174.

Historische Wurzeln der Deutschland AG. In: Die "Deutschland AG": Historische Annäherungen an den bundesdeutschen Kapitalismus. Ed. R. Ahrens; B. Gehlen; A. Reckendrees. Essen : Klartext Verlag 2013, p. 57-84.

Der Steinkohlenbergbau in der Aachener Region, 1780-1860. Munich Personal RePEc Archive 2014, 189 p. (MPRA Paper, No. 57745)

Why Did Early Industrial Capitalists Suggest Minimum Wages and Social Insurance? Munich Personal RePEc Archive 2014, 26 p. (MPRA Paper, No. 55520)

Dynamics of Overlapping Clusters : Industrial and Institutional Revolution in the District of Aachen, 1800-1860. Revista de Historia INdustrial XXVI no. 66, p. 37-75

Die „Neue Ökonomie“ des industriellen Kapitalismus : Eine industrielle und institutionelle Revolution. In: MPIfG Jahrbuch 2015–2016. Ed. J. Beckert. Köln : Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung 2015, p. 103-110

National Identity, Branding, History and the Company

The programme focuses on how underlying and explicit stories of brands and companies are related to individual (consumer) and collective (national) constructions of identity. Our thesis is that companies play an important yet uncharted role in the construction of identity in today's society. We also believe that this tendency is growing stronger in the post-modern og globalised societies.

The aim of the research programme is to analyse how companies, nations and consumers together and independently produce, use and express identity with reference to national history and identity and how these stories or identity constructions are changing through time and space.

The faculty of the research programme is a cross-disciplinary team of researchers from three different research fields at CBS. Thus, the research team combines resources from Nationalism Studies, Branding Studies and Business History – a unique combination of research fields.

Participants: Mads Mordhorst og Per H. Hansen

PhD. Excluded. Aryanization and Anti-Jewish Policies in Denmark 1937-1943

This dissertation examines how Denmark was subjected to subversive and racially motivated anti-Jewish and Aryanization policies through Germany’s foreign trade policies and diplomatic representations from 1937-1943. Aryanization is understood as the transfer, or robbery, of Jewish owned property and exclusion of the Jews from all aspects of the economy. In the pre-war years German foreign trade policies were used to initiate global Aryanization attempts against Jewish companies in collaboration with Germany’s diplomatic representations. During the war years this policy was expanded where possible. In my analysis of events in Denmark it is evident Aryanization was a key-component of the subversive anti-Jewish policies being pursued in Denmark. I argue these policies have been largely omitted by previous research. I analyze the historical sources by using Peter Hall’s notion of Political Paradigms labelling the National Socialist Judenpolitik as a racial political paradigm. I analyze which actors and organizations expand, maintain or challenge the formal and informal institutions embedded in the racial political paradigm. In order to locate initiative and cooperation I use a center-periphery approach in which Berlin is regarded as the center and Denmark as the periphery. When applicable I analyze descriptions of political futures to understand which final objectives were to be pursued and how they were transformed into bureaucratic measures.

The Project is funded by the Danish Research Council and it is a cooperation between the Center for Business History at Copenhagen Business School and the Danish National Archives

By: Jacob Halvas Bjerre

Further Literature:

Affärer som vanligt ariseringen i Sverige 1933-1945; Sven Nordlund; 2009, Svenska

Robbery and Restitution -The Conflict over Jewish Property in Europe -; Ed. Martin Dean, Constantin Goschler and Philipp Ther; Berghan Books; 2008

Policy Paradigms, Social Learning, and the State: The Case of Economic Policymaking in Britain; Peter A. Hall; Comparative Politics Vol. 25, No. 3 (Apr., 1993), pp. 275-296

PhD. Between Copenhagen and Canton -networks, knowledge and business of merchants of the Oldenburg Monarchy in China 1730-1840

In the long 18th century, merchants of the Oldenburg Monarchy (Denmark, Norway, Schleswig, Holstein etc.) traded in China for valuable goods as tea, porcelain and silk. But how was the knowledge required for the succesful trades established? What role did the networks of the merchants play in providing access to positions in the prestigious company, where fortunes could be earned both in legitimate as well as illegitimate ways by the company traders sailing to China. And what role did networks play in becoming a director in the company, both serving the needs of the company and of the merchants involved? In this PhD project, the approaches of prosopography, Social Network Analysis and micro-history are combined to examine the flows of knowledge, trust and influence in the thriving, but today largely unknown, business enviroment of Copenhagen, the Oldenburg Monarchy and Canton more than two hundred years ago.

The project is a cooperation between the Center for Business History at Copenhagen Business School and the Maritime Museum of Denmark.

By: Benjamin Asmussen


The page was last edited by: Communications // 05/29/2017


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