Centre for Business and Development Studies

Research projects


CBDS' list of research projects are categorised into:

  •     Current projects, covering on-going research projects.
  •     Completed projects, covering projects that are concluded.
  •     Field studies, covering field studies conducted by CBDS staff in developing countries.

See the different projects below

Current projects

Mind science in society of innovation (MSISFI)
This project endeavors to focus on the discovery of how to use experience based co-created innovation for engaging with future markets. To address this objective we have initiated a project on co-creating experience based innovation and created a network around Europe and the world, with several planned activities. You can learn more about the project on its website here.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Sudhanshu Rai, phone (+45) 3815 2494
The Indian space research organization (ISRO) innovation story, the MARS program
The overall objective and relevance of this research is that low cost innovation is not enough to sustain long term innovation if it is not coupled with high quality and high impact innovation. We will use frugal innovation literature and its manifestations as the scaffolding within which we conduct our investigation of high quality, high impact low cost (HQ-HI-LC) innovations in India. We conjecture that ISRO’s MOM program has shown the way how to engage with HQ-HI-LC innovation; a term we have coined for the purposes of our argumentation.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Sudhanshu Rai, phone (+45) 3815 2494

 From Næstved to Nairobi

In recent years it has become evident that Africais growing faster than any other continent. However, Danish companies’ have not been able to exploit these new opportunities and export rates lag behind their European counterparts. Especially, Danish mid-sized companies are trailing behind in Africa. The project ‘From Næstved to Nairobi aims to create sustainable and scalable solutions for Danish mid-sized companies that will enable them to  overcome the particular challenges of exporting to Africa. The project will contribute to enhance the long-term competitiveness of Danish mid-sized companies operating in Africa, stimulate economic growth and create employment.

This project is lead by Danish Industry in collaboration with DTU and CBS and is financially supported by Industriens Fond.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Michael W. Hansen, phone: (+45) 3815 3146

Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in the Cotton Value Chains of South Asia

The overall objective of this research project is to analyze (i) how multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSI) for sustainable cotton production are formulated, implemented, and monitored in the cotton value chains of South Asia; and (ii) whether the processes through which MSIs are institutionalized in South Asia make any difference to the income, work, and environmental conditions of cotton farmers and on-farm workers in this region. These objectives will be achieved through the development of a theoretical framework that analyzes the processes through which sustainable cotton MSIs emerge, how they are institutionalized in different institutional contexts in the developing world, and how a variety of global forces (MSIs in global value chains (GVCs)) and local forces (national institutional contexts, local industrialization strategies, and the agency of workers/farmers) co-determine cotton producers’/on-farm workers’ income, work, and environmental conditions in developing countries. The framework is then applied to a comparative study of the evolution of the world’s largest sustainable cotton MSI – the Better Cotton Initiative - and its effects in South Asia (India and Pakistan).

Contact: Professor Peter Lund-Thomsenphone: (+45) 3815 3192

Latin America Business Forum

In order to strengthen CBS’s engagement in Latin America, the CBDS has launched the Latin American Business Forum. The forum provides a platform for dialogue between researchers, business and governments on Danish-Latin America business issues. The forum organizes seminars, facilitates research projects, and communicates research findings related to Latin America.

CBS should be at the forefront of the initiative of the Latin America Forum. The Latin America Business Forum will set the grounds to facilitate discussion and sharing of ‘best practices’ in relation to trade, investment and cooperation in general between Danish and Latin American/Caribbean business people, politicians, academics, and students.

Contact: Assistant Prof. Jacobo Ramirez, phone: (+45) 3815 2456

The International Sporting Goods Industry
"Global Value Chains, Industrial Clusters, and Corporate Responsibility in the International Sporting Goods Industry" is a project investigating whether joint corporate responsibility initiatives in Pakistan and India enhance or undermine the competitiveness of local producers and the conditions of workers vis-à-vis their Chinese counterparts that have not engaged in similar joint corporate responsibility initiatives.

Contact: Professor  Peter Lund-Thomsen phone: (+45) 3815 3192
The nature of Indian Innovation: A Look at non industrial production systems 
This project is about exploring the nature of Indian innovation. "The nature" implies the mental ability of non-industrial creators of products that rely on their experience. This is usually training which has been handed down from generations to address the current needs in a manner that supports their growth of their creation. The endeavor is to study 15 non-industrial production systems across India to ascertain the nature of Indian innovation. The researchers in the first leg have studied the diamond cutting and polishing industry which is skill based and is an art handed over and honed over generations. While this kind of art has been recently organized into industrial production systems, the skill and art remains a kind of fluid knowledge which needs to be practiced to be learnt. Similarly such kind of non-industrial production system will be under review across India. This in short is the nature of Indian innovation project. 

Contact Assoc. Prof. Sudhanshu Rai phone: (+45) 3815 2494


Completed projects


Sustainability Entrepreneurship
A pilot project, Sustainability Entrepreneurship in Ghana aimed at gaining new insights into sustainability entrepreneurship in an African context and at further developing a partnership with colleagues from the University of Ghana. To that end, a workshop with faculty from CBS, the University of Ghana and Loughborough University, was held in January 2014. Based on the pilot project a funding application for future research collaboration has been submitted.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Thilde Langevang, phone: (+45) 3815 2978       

Successful African Firms and Institutional Change
The research project 'Successful African Firms and Institutional Change’ has been accepted by the Danida Research Council (also called the Consultative Research Committee for Development Research, abbreviated FFU).

The project grant is approx. 8.950.000 DKK for the 4 ½ years project, which will run from 1st January 2012 to 30th June 2016.

CBDS will undertake the research in collaboration with Roskilde University (Department of Society and Globalisation), University of Nairobi (Department for International Studies) Kenya, University of Dar-es-Salaam (the UD-Business School) Tanzania and University of Zambia (Department of Geography), Zambia.

Contact Assoc. Prof. Søren Jeppesen, phone: (+45) 3815 3363
Read more about the SAFIC project
Vietnamese clothing retailers
Lotte Thomsen (CBDS) currently explores how a number of Vietnamese clothing producers use the knowledge they have gained from working in global clothing value chains to move into the retail sector, focusing on the local and regional market.

Contact: Assoc. Prof.  Lotte Thomsen phone: (+45) 3815 3117
From Risk Management to Strategic Communicty Management - MNC Community risk management strategies 
This research centres on the impact of large-scale infrastructure projects on local communities in Armenian, and investigates the risks involved from a corporate perspective. The study involves the mining and renewable energy sectors where mining represent the experienced industry and renewables as the new industry.

To obtain the aim of the project, it will be investigated how mining multinationals mitigating community risks and take these lessons to other industries like big infrastructure projects and renewable energy in other contexts. It is argued that, mining has significant experiences with these types of risks and that by investigating the lessons from mining it is possible to take these learning points and use them as a benchmark in other industries and thereby improve the management systems the companies use.

You can read the PhD dissertation here.

Contact: PhD fellow Jacob Taarup, phone: (+45) 3815 3345
Building Stronger Universities
As part of the Building Stronger Universities project, supported by Danida, Mette Morsing and Søren Jeppesen engage in an initiative that aims to establish a platform for research and the teaching of CSR at the University of Ghana. Søren Jeppesen also represents CBS in Access2innovtion’s steering committee – an initiative that unites the third world market, NGOs, universities and the world of commerce to work out solutions and allow business partners to access vast new markets with sustainable products that are in demand.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Søren Jeppesenphone: (+45) 3518 5363 and/or professor Mette Morsing
Youth and Employment: The role of Entrepreneurship in African economies
Søren Jeppesen and Thilde Langevang are the CBDS members of the research project which is lead by Department of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen, and includes partners in the UK (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor), Ghana, Zambia and Uganda. The project runs from 2009-2013, funded by the Danida Development Research Council (FFU) and aims at investigating the role of entrepreneurship in employment generation for young people in selected African countries. The project focuses on four key area (entrepreneurship, youth, enterprises and institutions) and their interaction.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Søren Jeppesenphone: (+45) 3815 3363
See project website here
SMEs and CSR
By examining small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of developing countries, this study shows that institutional contexts may not necessarily have a deterministic, constraining influence on the commitment of SMEs to CSR. It was shown that SMEs in fact often actively seek to shape the broader institutional environment to make themselves look good. A special issue of Business & Society was written based on the project, which was conducted in collaboration with four universities and practitioners from the Inter-American Development Bank, the Antea Group and the International Labour Organization.
Contact: Professor Peter Lund-Thomsen, phone: (+45) 3815 3192  
BRIC Countries and CSER
The purpose of this research project was to develop a new research agenda that links the emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) as world economic powers to the future of corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSER) in global supply chains. This project has resulted in the publication of a special issue of Competition and Change on global value chains, local economic organisation and CSR in the BRIC countries co-edited by Peter Lund-Thomsen and Peter Wad from CBS.
Contact: Professor Peter Lund-Thomsen, phone: (+45) 3815 3192  
The research philosophy of critical realism and its relevance for business and development studies
Critical realism has emerged as an alternative research philosophy to positivism and constructivism in the 1970s and carved out a position of relevance in social science studies during the 1990s and 2000s. The project aims critically assessing its strength and weaknesses for business and development studies in the 2010s and outlining routes of incremental and radical revisions of its foundation in research philosophy.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. emeritus, Peter Wad
The rise and fall of enterprise unionism in Malaysia
Based on several field trips in Malaysia from the days of government-supported in-house unionism in the early 1980s to legalization of enterprise unions in the foreign controlled electronics industry in the end of the 1980s to the political acceptance of the option for regional electronic industry unions in the end of the 2000s, the research project aims to explain the rise and fall of enterprise unions in the Malaysian society as a case of institutional change mediated by Malaysian politics, business dynamics, industrial trade unions and civil society organizations.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. emeritus, Peter Wad
Youth Employment and entrepreneurship in Mali
The research is commissioned by the Royal Danish Embassy in Bamako as part of the preparation of a new Growth and Employment Programme in Mali.
The study examines the factors that enhance and constrain young people’s efforts at generating decent employment and viable entrepreneurship activities in different rural and urban localities.
The study is led by Thilde Langevang (CBDS) and Isaie Dougnon (FLASH, University of Bamako).

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Thilde Langevangphone: (+45) 3815 2978
Linkages and resource flows between MNCs and local firms
Empirical study of Danish affiliates and their local partners in Argentina

The project addresses the direct linkages between parent multinational companies, their affiliates and local host country firms and study the impact on competitive advantages. The analysis is based of a model of the relationships and resource flows between parent company, the affiliate and the local partner firms. Empirically it builds on information collected in spring 2009 from the population of Danish firms established in Argentina. Because the Danish firms are mainly locating in Argentina for market seeking reasons the project provides an insight to the linkages and resource flows related to downstream activities going to the distributors and customers that are of more significant importance than suppliers and subcontractors. The project is undertaken in Cooperation with Professor Hector Rocha, IAE Business School in Pilar, Argentina and the Danish-Argentinean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Buenos Aires. Preliminary papers from the project have been presented at the EIBA conference in Valencia December 2009 and the Iberoamerican Academy of Management Conference at the IAE Business School in Argentina.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Michael Wendelbo Hansenphone: (+45) 3815 3146
Enhancement of Research Capacity in International Business and Internationalisation of Vietnamese Companies
The purpose of the project is, through research cooperation, to enhance the research capacity in international business within the Vietnamese partner universities. Partners in the project are, besides CBS, National Economics University (NEU) and Foreign Trade University (FTU) in Hanoi, Vietnam and Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark.

Contact: Assoc. prof. Michael Wendelbo Hansenphone: (+45) 3815 3146
Towards a critical framework on corporate social and environmental responsibility in the South
Elaboration of a critical research agenda on CSER in the South. Special interests include donor funding and the sustainability of CSER interventions in the South, public-private partnerships, and the role of community-based accountability strategies (Post-doc project).

Contact: Professor Peter Lund-Thomsen phone: (+45) 3815 3192
Outsourcing of knowledge intensive activities
Working title: Offshore outsourcing of knowledge intensive activities: the interaction between companies in Denmark and in developing countries and the dynamic effects in the companies.

The project investigates the interaction between the Danish companies and the recipient companies, including the dynamic effects at both ends, which are created as a result of these business linkages. (PhD project)

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Peter Ørberg phone: (+45) 3815 2658
Investigating Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in the South
International Research Network on Business, Development and Society, investigating Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in the South. With partners in UK, US, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Kenya and Argentina. Read more at: bdsnetwork.cbs.dk

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Søren Jeppesenphone: (+45) 3815 3363
Global Companies, Global Unions
Research investigates the options of global unionisation within global value chains and transnational companies.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. emeritus, Peter Wad
Performance of Strategic Alliances between Danish Firms and Firms in Developing Countries
PhD project: The project is on performance of Danida supported international strategic alliances between Danish firms and firms in various developing countries. From the point of view of Danida the alliances have the ultimate objective of contributing to economic growth and poverty reduction, while the immediate objective of the alliances is to contribute to improving performance of the participating firms in the developing countries. This project focuses on investigating the factors influencing the achievement of this immediate objective of improved firm performance and the approach of the project is built primarily on the literature on international strategic alliances

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Jeppe Christoffersen phone: (+45) 3815 2327
Outsourcing for development (OUD)
A two years project beginning early 2006, coordinated by Michael W. Hansen, and with the participation of Søren Jeppesen, Henrik Schaumburg-Müller, Peter Ørberg and Peter Wad from CBDS and John Kuada and Olav Jull Sørensen from Aalborg University.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Michael W. Hansenphone: (+45) 3815 3146


Field study news

Field study news - Zambia - YEMP

Who travelled?

Thilde Langevang, Associate Professor at CBDS, travelled to Zambia to do field research for the Youth and Employment Research Project (YEMP). The research project examines the role of entrepreneurship in creating employment for the youth in Zambia, Ghana and Uganda (See: http://ign.ku.dk/yemp/).

In Zambia, Thilde works together with Francis Chigunta from the University of Zambia and Katherine Gough from the University of Copenhagen on a study about youth and entrepreneurship in Chawama, a low income area of Lusaka. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods they examine how the youth perceive their own employment situation and the practices they engage in when seeking ways of making a living. The research highlights that although the prospects of gaining secure formal employment are slim many young people are resourceful and show creativity and entrepreneurial skills.

During heavy rainfalls many streets in Chawama become severely flooded. Such a challenge, however, is turned into a business opportunity by some young people. The young men on the photo are renting gum boots to people who want to pass the flooded street. Price: 500 Kwacha (app. 55 øre).

For another study in Lusaka, Thilde is interviewing young fashion designers about their experiences of starting and running fashion design businesses. This research is part of a comparative study of Zambia, Uganda and Ghana examining the motivations and experiences of young entrepreneurs in Africa’s emerging fashion industry. All three countries are witnessing a rise in the number of young people, especially females, who pursue fashion design as a career choice and set up their own fashion businesses. The study explores the opportunities that the young fashion designers are seizing and discusses the role they are playing in economic and cultural development.

Christina Makabamba and Donna M'shanga introduced their label ‘Kamanga Wear’in 2011. It was a passion for fashion and a love for African ‘Chitenge’ fabrics that prompted them to start the business. Kamanga means ‘to tie’ referring to the way chitenge fabric is commonly used in Zambia as wraps and to tie babies on the back. The first dress designed by the young women, the ‘Kamanga dress’, is made of Chitenge and can be worn in nine different ways.

Contact person: Assoc. Prof. Thilde Langevang, phone: (+45) 3815 2978
Field study news - Ghana - Kumasi University (KNUST)

Who travelled?

Søren Jeppesen, Assoc. Prof at CBDS as part of the Danish Universities initiative ‘Building Stronger Universities’ (BSU) along with colleagues from University of Copenhagen and University of Aarhus, including two project coordinators.


The BSU initiative seeks to capacitate a number of African Universities (and one Asian) regarding research and research education starting in 2011 and (intended to) continuing for a number of years (see http://dkuni.dk/Internationalt/Udviklingslande ). The initiative focuses on activities in four so-called platforms (Growth and Employment; Environment and Climate; Human Health, and Stability, Democracy and Human Rights). CBS is current active in the Growth and Employment Platform, where Søren Jeppesen and Michael W. Hansen, CBDS, are members of the Steering Committee. They are also each members of a so-called Working Group (Søren in the Working Group for Kwane Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana and Michael in the WG for University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania). Søren Jeppesen also represents CBS in the Danish Universities Working Group on Developing Countries. The aim of this trip to Ghana and KNUST from 22nd to 26th January 2012 was to discuss the modes of collaboration on PhD courses, training of PhD supervisors, training in research applications and to select four PhD scholars at KNUST as well as to clarify administrative and practical issues.

Expected outcome?

The initiative will enable CBS staff to participate in conducting on PhD courses at KNUST (and potentially also the other African universities), training of PhD supervisors, training in research applications, supervision of PhD scholars and research collaboration based on small grants from BSU. All activities are launched through tenders from the BSU (here the Growth and Employment platform, with secretariat at KU-Life – see http://bsuge.org/ ) and are envisaged to start over the next coming months.

The KNUST Engineering Guest House at the University Campus, where the Danish BSU involved will stay while in Kumasi – high standard, nice space with good internet facilities and own restaurant. Source: Private Photo by Susanne Amsinck, Project Coordinator of the BSU Environment and Climate Platform (see www.bsuec.org)

The Danish team at KNUST discussed the events to come (from right to left: Christian Pilegaard Hansen, Chairman of the BSU Growth and Employment Platform, Jørgen Olesen, Chairman of the BSU Environment and Climate Platform, Carl Erik Schou Larsen, Project Coordinator of the BSU Growth and Employment Platform and Søren Jeppesen, Member of the KNUST BSU-GE Working group (and CBS). Susanne Amsinck, Project Coordinator of the BSU Environment and Climate Platform, was the fifth membe.

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Søren Jeppesen, phone: (+45) 3815 3363
Field study news - Afghanistan

Who travelled?

Sameer Azizi holds a Master's degree from Business and Development studies, and has since January 2011 worked as research assistant at CBDS. In his master's thesis he focused on CSR and poverty reduction in least-developed countries.


Attention and insights on CSR in least-developed countries are lacking in the academic literature. However, CBDS is interested in this research area and has therefore sponsored a field study on CSR in Afghanistan for him from September - December 2011.The aim of this field study is to focus on both the business and development case of CSR in the telecommunication sector in Afghanistan.

Expected outcome?

The field study is expected to lead to at least one CBDS working paper, which is expected to be publish in February 2012. Moreover, CBDS aimed to strengthen its attention on business and society areas in least-developed countries by engaging in such research projects.

Contact: PhD Fellow Sameer Azizi, phone: (+45) 3815 3487
Innovation Immersion Experience in Mumbia
Who Travelled?

14 students of the course “Innovation in Flux: An Asian Perspective” with Associate Prof. Sudhanshu Rai embarked on an innovation journey to India in late June 2016.


To establish a hands-on learning experience for students on innovative social start-ups in a developing country context.


During the ten days students were asked to deliver solution- and innovation-oriented consultancy to three start-ups in Mumbai. The collaboration provided valuable experience for both the students as well as for the start-ups. From a student's perspective, the students got to work in an intercultural setting and apply knowledge learned during the semester to 'real life' issues.

Contact: Please visit the CBDS blog for a more detailed account of the journey, or contact Assoc. Prof. Sudhanshu Rai, phone: (+45) 3815 2494


The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 09/30/2019