PhD in Department of Strategy and Innovation

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 11 Apr 2021

Copenhagen Business School invites applications for a number of vacant PhD scholarships (3-5) at the Department of Strategy and Innovation. Expected starting date is 1 September 2021. 

The Department of Strategy and Innovation’s (SI) research is focused on strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship and international business.  The department’s ambition is to host an internationally leading environment for research and teaching within the broad area of strategy. The department’s research is generally cross-disciplinary. Faculty members have backgrounds in management, economics, sociology and economic geography. The theoretical foundation for research in these areas is eclectic, combining strategy, innovation, and/or internationalization theory with insights from economics, sociology, psychology, and economic geography. The department has 55 faculty members (professors, associate professors, tenure track assistant professors), 7 administrative staff, and 30 members of staff who are hired on temporary contracts as research assistants, post docs or PhD students.   

The department puts substantial emphasis on the solid application of scientific research method. The department has a pluralistic approach to research methods that includes, for example, formal theoretical models, quantitative empirical methods such as (lab and field) experiments, econometric applications to register data or survey data, as well as qualitative research methods. PhD project proposals should be based on coherent theoretical arguments and contain well-informed methodological considerations.  To find out more about the department please go to . 

Project topics

SI particularly invites for PhD project applications pertaining to the following broad topics, although applications that address other topics within the research scope of the department will also be considered:

  • Learning from failure: One of the most important ways humankind is moving forward is through learning from others’ failures. Why repeat expensive and dangerous mistakes yourself when you can watch what others do and improve on it. In a project using data from US freight train accidents 1975-2019 we study different aspects of failure learning (accident reduction) – what, from whom, and how firms learn and when they choose not to. There is room to expand into other data sets as well as explore other questions that interests you around not just failure but also operational learning.
  • Neophilia: Disruptive innovation is heralded as a key for economic progress on a national and personal level. However, we know from many case descriptions that inventors that come up with highly novel ideas often fail to benefit economically from the markets they help create. Using patent data on medical devises, Swedish, Danish and Finnish registry data, as well as a survey of inventors, we try to understand under what circumstances novel inventions benefit their inventors, be they independent inventors, small business owners or inventors inside large firms.
  • What happens to management practices in response to exogenous shocks? Exogenous shocks, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, have the potential to significantly alter management practices. One such response might be a shift in the nature of management practices, away from what are deemed rational practices towards more socially oriented practices. Another response could be an increase in management innovation activity, i.e. the creation of new management practices which specifically help to overcome the challenges of the exogenous shock. And some management practices will prove to be more beneficial than others. Using a variety of existing databases and potentially experimental work this project looks to investigate these questions.
  • Finding new leaders for the transition to green technologies:  A major obstacle for green innovation is that firms compete based on existing technologies. This makes managerial decisions to transition to greener technologies quite hard. Potentially, a new type of manager is required with novel experiences and a different kind of judgement on green technologies. Where can firms find these managers and hire them, e.g. at startups or NGOs? The goal of this project is to analyze Big Data from Danish employer-employee records for identifying novel hiring strategies for green transitions and their outcomes.
  • Digitalization and Human Capital: Digitalization is a key driver of economic transformation and firm competitiveness. To exploit its full potential, firms need to hire and retain individuals skilled in digital technologies. Such digital human capital, however, is in high demand on labor markets worldwide. This PhD project seeks to explore the digital human capital strategies of firms and how these strategies impact firm performance. Detailed employment data for Denmark provide unique opportunities for large scale data analyses on the issue.
  • Management and performance of organizations: the role of immigrants. The strategic value of immigrants for organizations deserves more research. This project will investigate how immigrants create opportunities for value creation and capture in the organizations they join. Particular attention is encouraged regarding heterogeneities at the immigrant level (e.g., first vs. second generation, skill levels, experience, age, gender, country of origin), heterogeneities at the firm level (e.g., degree of innovativeness, age, industry complexity, human capital composition), and their possible intertwining. Data relevant for the empirical work include, but are not limited to large-scale Danish register data.
  • What influences users to diffuse their innovations (e.g. by starting their own ventures or via established firms)? Patient innovators are user innovators who come up with novel solutions (e.g.medical devices) to help them cope with their own disease/health-condition. Sometimes user innovators realize that their innovative solutions have a significant market potential and decide to become producers, i.e. they are "user entrepreneurs”. The project will investigate the factors that influence the decision of user innovators to develop their own ventures, as well as the opportunities/challenges for firms to commercialize user innovations. Some questions addressed include: What is different in the process of diffusing patient innovations? How do opportunity costs impact the decision of users to become entrepreneurs vis-à-vis the possibility of working with firms? What is the role of multi-sided platforms in facilitating the diffusion? To what extent is willingness-to-pay for products developed by users higher than those developed by producers? The project will build on data from, a repository of medical innovations developed by patients/caregivers for their own use.
  • Project proposal within the area of Maritime Digital Business Models ( ): Digitalization is a critical component in future shipping. Not only in a technological manner, but also as a strategic, cultural and political enabler of change. The argument of the Maritime Digital Business Models (MDBM) research project is that digitalization is a paradigmatic transition, which entails a range of fundamental research questions eg. how and why digitalization can enable new business models and thus customer-based value propositions? This research will take place in close collaboration with industry and the CBS Maritime research environment.
  • Project proposal within the area of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship ( ): 

  • Individual abilities and entrepreneurship: What leads people into the creation of new firms and makes the success of such firms? Individual abilities are critical for identifying opportunities and for running new firms. However, abilities are also useful in wage work and more able people tend to earn higher salaries, which increases the opportunity cost of entrepreneurship. The project will assess the net impact of individual abilities in the creation, survival, and growth of new firms. It will also identify the role of family backgrounds and peoples’ experiences in the development of such abilities. These questions will be addressed using quantitative methods to analyze large scale Danish micro-data. 
  • Immigrant entrepreneurship: While most migrants seek paid jobs in the countries they migrate to, a large proportion of immigrants start their own business. What leads them to create such business? One view proposes that migrants resort to entrepreneurship because they find it more difficult to integrate in the host country labor market. Another view suggests that they may have special abilities to identify opportunities that locals are not able to spot or benefit from having networks in both the host and home country. This project will investigate the conditions under which one or the other views tend to prevail by using quantitative methods to analyze large scale Danish micro-data. 
  • How do entrepreneurs mobilize human capital resources for their ventures? Founders and startups get most of the attention in academic, public, and policy debates. However, for every founder there is often several early employees taking nearly equal risks by joining an early-stage company. Mobilizing human resources to startups is nevertheless challenging. This project focuses on particular factors that may explain how entrepreneurs mobilize personnel for their ventures and the implications of hiring strategies for new venture performance. It will rely on quantitative methods using Danish register data. 
  • About the PhD program 
    The three-year PhD program at CBS allows you to conduct research under the supervision of CBS professors, supported by research training courses. The program is highly international, and you are expected to participate in international research conferences and to spend time abroad as a visiting PhD student.  

    The PhD student will be enrolled in the CBS PhD School. The selected candidates will participate in the SI PhD cohort, which is a formal research-training program. This includes a package of foundational courses within the main SI research areas and methods courses (econometrics, experiments and qualitative methods).

    CBS PhD graduates are held in high esteem not only in academia and research institutions but also in government and business where their research qualifications are increasingly demanded. Recent SI PhD graduates have been successfully placed at institutions such Pompeu Fabra, Tilburg, IESE, SKEMA, and University of Southern California. 

    The Department will give priority to applicants with the following qualifications: high grades from their universities, an educational background in the social sciences, and finally, the applicants must be fluent in English.

    To be considered for the 3 years program, the candidate should have a basic training at the Masters level (similar to the 3 + 2 Bologna process and a total of 180+120 ECTS). However, applicants who hold a one year Master’s degree may also be considered for evaluation. PhD students who enter the PhD program with a one year Master’s degree (60 ECTS) will be offered a 4 years program and will be considered a Master’s student for the first 2 years of the program.  

    General information 
    The PhD scholarship includes teaching obligations.

    The 3 years scholarships are fully salaried positions, according to the national Danish collective agreement. The scholarship includes the tuition fees, office space, travel grants plus a salary, currently starting with per month app. DKK 28,000 (app. 3,700 euro) up to DKK 31,600 (app. 4,200 euro), depending on seniority, plus a pension contribution totaling 17.1% of the base salary.  

    The salary level and appointment is determined by the Ministry of Finance’s collective agreement with the Central Academic Organization. 

    The application 
    Copenhagen Business School must receive all application material, including all appendices by the application deadline. Application must be sent via the electronic recruitment system, using the link below. 

    The application material must include: 

  • Copy of diplomas and grade transcripts from Bachelor’s and Master’s level education
  • Curriculum vitae (CV),
  • If relevant, a list of papers and publications,
  • Sample of a written work (e.g. Master’s thesis), 
  • The application must include a 5-page PhD project description. This research proposal should contain a presentation of an original research question preferably pertaining to one of the projects listed above, a description of the initial theoretical framework and methodology, a presentation of the suggested empirical material as well as a work-plan. 
  • Please find guidelines and further information on the website of the PhD School:

    Recruitment procedure
    The Recruitment Committee will shortlist a number of applicants to be assessed by the Assessment Committee. All applicants will be notified of their status in the recruitment process shortly after the application deadline.  

    Applicants selected for assessment will be notified about the composition of the Assessment Committee and later in the process about the result of the assessment. 

    Once the recruitment process is completed each applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application. 

    To find out more about working and living in Denmark, please go to .

    Information meeting
    There will be an online information meeting regarding this call on March 17, 2021, from 14-16. There will be a presentation of the SI Department and an opportunity to ask questions. In order to get a link for the meeting, please sign up at:

    For further information please contact: PhD coordinator, Professor H.C. Kongsted, e-mail: .

    Closing date: 11 April 2021.

    Apply online

    With some 20.422 full and part-time students, 644 full-time faculty members, 192 PhD and 724 administrative staff CBS is a unique business-oriented university with a full portfolio of Bachelor, Masters, MBA/EMBA, PhD and Executive programmes delivered in English and Danish. Our academic staff includes internationally-recognised experts in classical business disciplines as well as in philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, law, political science, information systems and culture.

    The University welcomes applications from suitably qualified candidates regardless of age, gender, race, religion or ethnic background.

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