MSC PhD defences during lock-down



Three PhD students were awarded their PhD degrees at MSC before the summer holidays: Anestis Keremis on 18 May, Anna Kirkebæk Gosovic on 26 May, and Luisa Murphy on 10 June. The themes of the three projects spanned from anti-corruption practices to business ethics and multi-stakeholder initiatives in Southeast Asia.


Due to the corona lock-down at CBS during spring and early summer, the defence of the three dissertations took place online with the PhD students, the examiners, supervisors, and audience sitting is separate buildings, towns or even countries.


While this was a new and challenging experience in some ways, it had the advantage that people who might not otherwise have been able to travel to Denmark for the events were now able to participate.


Click on each project title below to read more about the findings:

Anestis Keremis, ‘Anti-corruption in action: How is anti-corruption practiced in multinational companies?’

Anestis Keremis’ study on anti-corruption in multinational companies has, among other things, involved interviews with experts in Denmark and China and even that he himself became a certified compliance officer. On this solid foundation, he has been able to offer an answer or maybe three to the research question ’How is anti-corruption practiced in multinational companies?’. First, anti-corruption is practiced as compliance. This actually means that companies show a preference to the ’letter’ rather than the ’spirit’ of the law. Second, anti-corruption is practiced as a business case. In other words anti-corruption has been commercialised and in so doing  lost somewhat its social origins and broad societal objectives. Third, anti-corruption is practiced as an everyday activity in and outside of corporations bringing about both intended and unintended consequences. Such findings, Anestis argues in his thesis, have implications for the theory and practice of anti-corruption and business ethics more broadly.


Anestis’ PhD was funded by the Sino-Danish Center, and supervised by Hans Krause Hansen, Professor of Governance and Culture Studies, Jeremy Moon, Professor and Chair of Sustainability Governance, as well as Associate Professor Antje Vetterlein. The assessment committee was chaired by Professor MSO Karin Buhmann, CBS, with Professor Thomas Lennerfors, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Professor Stelios Zyglidopoulos, Kedge Business School, France, as external members.


For further information about the project, please contact Anestis Keremis,

Anna Kirkebæk Gosovic, ‘Ethics as Practice – An ethnographic study of business ethics in a multi-national biopharmaceutical company’

Anna Kirkebæk Gosovic’s study investigates what happens when a corporate ethics program travels to business units abroad and how it is recontextualized within these new national contexts. The study explores business ethics as a practical endeavor within different ‘vocational communities of practice’ in the company and further investigates how the ethics program is interpreted and enacted within these communities. 


Ethnographic insights from a fieldwork within the company Ferring Pharmaceuticals are developed through an analysis of ethics as ‘ordinary’ and inherent in daily practice; an analysis that challenges the widespread scholarly understanding of ‘ethics’ as something confined to specific moments. Through this analysis, the study finds that notions of right and wrong and definitions of their proper pursuit are closely tied to the practices within the different vocational communities under study. Moreover, it finds that such convictions of right and wrong, tied to each community, transcend national borders, and that Ferring’s ethics program is interpreted and enacted in vastly similar ways within these vocational communities across the countries under study. The salience of vocational communities of practice for how an ethics program is interpreted and enacted challenges the equally widespread scholarly understanding, that national culture differences is the most central consideration for companies who seek to ensure adherence to ethics programs across complex organizations.


Anna’s PhD was carried out as an industrial PhD project in collaboration with Ferring Pharmaceuticals. It was supervised by Professor Anne-Marie Søderberg and Professor Andreas Rasche, both from the Department of Management, Society and Communication. The assessment committee consisted of Professor Fiona Moore from the Department of Human Resources Management and Organisational Studies at the University of London, Royal Holloway; Professor Rebecca Piekkari from the Department of Management Studies at Aalto university and Professor Lars Thøger Christensen from the Department of Management, Society and Communication at CBS, who chaired the committee.


For further information about the project, please contact Anna Kirkebæk Gosovic,

Luisa Murphy, ‘Revisiting the standard organization of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs): The case of a meta-MSI in Southeast Asia’

Luisa Murphy’s thesis examines how the organization of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) as meta-organizations influences their governance processes and impacts. Based on the case of an MSI in Southeast Asia and its work on anti-corruption (the ASEAN CSR network), the thesis shows through the themes of context, membership, and regulatory role how MSIs depart from the standard model of MSI organization. It draws on desk research, qualitative semi-structured interviews, and observations conducted in Southeast Asia. Overall, the thesis contributes to our understanding of MSIs by proposing the concept of “meta-MSI” to advocate a more encompassing understanding of the ways MSIs organize as well as further research on the implications of context, membership and regulatory role for their governance processes and impacts.


Luisa’s PhD was supported by the VELUX Endowed Chair in Corporate Sustainability and supervised by Professor Jeremy Moon, Chair of Sustainability Governance (primary) and Professor of Business in Society, Andreas Rasche (secondary). The assessment committee was chaired by Stefano Ponte, Professor of International Political Economy, MSC, CBS with Professor Dima Jamali, Olayan School of Business, American University Beirut, Lebanon, and Associate Professor Judith Schrempf-Stirling, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva, Switzerland, as external members.


For further information about the project, please contact Luisa Murphy,

The defence was delivered very successfully in each case and the degrees duly awarded, but the departmental celebration of the three candidates had to wait until restrictions were lifted so that the three could be congratulated in person.






Anestis Keremis, Anna Kirkebæk Gosovic and Luisa Murphy


The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 09/18/2020