Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy

PhD course: Social and Organizational Theories of Transformation

14-18 March 2022


PhD course: Social and Organizational Theories of Transformation

CBS PhD School

14-18 March 2022


Course coordinator

Professor Poul Fritz Kjær, Associate Professor Thomas Biebricher & Associate Professor Mathias Hein Jessen



There are no formal prerequisites other than that the student must be registered on compatible PhD-programme. In order to receive the course diploma, participants have to be present during the whole course period, have read the literature, engage actively in teaching and discussions, and after the conclusion of the course, the students should submit an essay (max. 10 pages) that deals with the theories and discussions of the course in relation to the student’s own PhD-project.



We live in a world defined by crises and transformation. Environmental degradation, climate crisis, financial crisis, populism, Covid-19, falling legitimacy of political and economic elites and institutions, just to mention a few. As a result, organizations and businesses are increasingly focusing on transformation as a way to encounter the ‘crisis of legitimacy’ confronting our current setup of economy and society, just as politicians and policy-makers on all sides of the political spectrum calls for the economy to be more thoroughly (re-)embedded within society. 


This course enables the students to critically interrogate and analyse the foundations of our economy using the tools of social and organizational theory, as well as insights into alternative ways of imagining it. In order to understand, assess and facilitate transformation, we need to understand the current situation. The course introduces the students to a number of different approaches and understandings of what transformation is and how we can understand it, rooted in social and organizational theory. It also gives the student insights into both the dominant organizational and corporate forms, forms of economic thinking and rationalities, as well as into transformative potentials and alternative organizational forms. The course introduces students to alternative forms of organizing the economy exploring cases on civil society, voluntarism, circular and gift-giving economies, social and sustainable entrepreneurship, social-economic enterprises, eco-villages, cooperatives and democratic enterprises.

Course content

The course runs for 3½ days and is equal to 4 ECTS points.

The course consists of 5 modules, Each taking up a different theme, and each module will consist of lectures, group work, discussions and case work. Each module will introduce a theoretical and critical approach to a dominant aspect of our current economic situation, as well as approaches to its transformation. Each module will have a final session where the theories of the module will be discussed and related to a concrete case.

The course offers insight into:

  • Various theoretical paradigms and approaches to transformation
  • Theoretical understandings of the relation between the economy and society, as well as contemporary challenges
  • Historical, contemporary and future transformations of corporate constitutions and organizational forms, e.g. stakeholder models, shareholder models, cooperative models
  • Economic, political, legal, sociological, philosophical and historical approaches to corporate and organizational forms and governance in a societal perspective, with a focus on societal legitimation struggles
  • Alternative organizational forms and other ways and approaches to transforming economy and society.

More info and registration can be found at

The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy // 12/08/2021