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Ph. d scholarship on the firm in the informal economy with a special focus on sub-saharan Africa

Project description

The societal presence and impact of the informal economy are inescapable. Around the world and especially in areas of widespread poverty, unregistered and unregulated organizational entities operate in the part of the economy that either fails to adhere to the established institutional rules or are denied their protection. Reports from the International Labor Organization find that 48% of the labor force works in the informal economy in North Africa, 72% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 51% in Latin America, and 65% in Asia. Studies from the International Monetary Fund find that the informal economy account for 10-20% of the GDP in developed countries and as much as 60% in developing countries.
The aim of this PhD scholarship is to explore the drivers and consequences of how firms in a variety of informal economy contexts structure their organizations. As has been a cornerstone in organizational theory for decades, firms must structure their organizations in ways that match the external environment to operate effectively. However, the nature of the informal economy firms may prevent them from effectively realizing the potential of their organizations. For example, the absence of formal contracts to coordinate firm and human resources calls into question the role and effectiveness of non-contractual coordination mechanisms, such as trust, reciprocity, common grounds, and social networks. Moreover, as many firms in the informal economy have no other option than to operate informally due to the costs and difficulties of registration and taxes it is uncertain how they systematize and effectively exploit different coordination mechanisms.
This project will be expected to collect rich qualitative and quantitative data and develop rigorous theory to understand how firms in the informal economy structure their organizations. Geographically, this project will focus on industry clusters in Sub-Saharan Africa where the share of the informal economy is higher than in any other region in the world. The ideal candidate therefore has a strong background in both quantitative and qualitative methods and is familiar with the research domains of organizational and development studies.

General information

This PhD will be affiliated with the Department of Strategic Management (SMG) and is part of the research project “The firm in the informal economy” funded by the Carlsberg Foundation with a three-year grant and headed by Associate Professor Marcus M. Larsen.
SMG employs an international group of 14 full-time faculty members, as well as part-time faculty, postdocs, PhD students, and adjunct faculty. The department expects to grow significantly in the near future. The core research and teaching area of the Department is strategic and international management. This includes themes like the creation and implementation of global strategies, offshoring and internationalization of firms, the role of individuals and teams in knowledge-based competitive advantage, social networks, strategic entrepreneurship, and the impact of informal and formal structures on firm performance and innovation. SMG’s stated aim is to continue to be among the leading departments in strategic and international management in Europe.
A PhD scholarship runs for a period of 3 years. The scholarship includes a fully salaried position, 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 23.770 (app. 3,160 euro) up to DKK 28.964 (app. 3,860 euro) depending on seniority, plus a pension contribution totaling 17,1 % of 85 per cent 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 PhD program is highly international and you are expected to participate in international research conferences. See the CBS homepage for more information about the PhD program, It is also required that the applicant shows an interest in joining the Department’s research environment, see
To be considered, the candidate should have a basic training at the Masters level (similar to the 3 + 2 Bologna process). This requirement includes the minimum grade of a weighted grade point average of at least 8.2 on the Danish 7-point grading scale or 9 on the 13-point scale for the entire program (i.e. for both the Bachelor's and Master's studies), and at least the grade of 10 for any final thesis or examination project. The applicants must be fluent in English.The application must include:

  1. A project description (5 pages): This research proposal should contain a presentation of an original research question, a description of the initial theoretical framework and methodology, a presentation of the suggested empirical material as well as a work-plan.
  2. Copies of a Master’s degree certificate or other certificates of a corresponding level.
  3. Brief curriculum vitae (CV).
  4. A list of papers and publications.
  5. One copy of a selected written work (e.g. Master’s thesis).
  6. Documentation for English language skills if English is not mother tongue.
Recruitment procedure

The Recruitment Committee will shortlist minimum two applicants; when possible five or more applicants will be shortlisted. The shortlisted applicants will be assessed by the Assessment Committee. All applicants will be notified of their status in the recruitment process shortly after the application deadline.
The 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.
Please find guidelines and further information on scholarships and the Doctoral Program at

Closing date: May 1, 2018

Copenhagen Business School must receive all application material, including all appendices (see items above), by the application deadline.
To find out more about working and living in Denmark, please go to
For further information, please visit the SMG website at, and/or contact Associate Professor Marcus M. Larsen,
Details about Copenhagen Business School are available at .
Ansøgningsfrist: 1. maj 2018.
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