PhD Scholarship on the Firm in the Informal Economy

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 PhD candidate 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 an educational background in the area of organizational theory and/or development studies and possess strong skills in both quantitative and qualitative methods.   

General information 

This PhD candidate will be affiliated with the Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI) and be part of the research project “The firm in the informal economy” funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and headed by Associate Professor Marcus M. Larsen.     

SI employs an international group of 45 full-time faculty members, as well as part-time faculty, postdocs, and PhD students. The core research and teaching area of the Department is strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship and international business. SI’s stated aim is to continue to be among the leading departments in strategy and innovation in Europe.   

A PhD scholarship runs for a period of 3 years starting September 1, 2019, or by mutual agreement. 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 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). 

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   

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 SI website at, and/or contact Associate Professor Marcus M. Larsen,  

Details about Copenhagen Business School are available at  

Closing date: 15 April 2019.

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With some 21.500 full and part-time students, 630 full-time faculty members, 200 PhD and 680 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, culture and languages.

Post expires on Monday April 15th, 2019