Open PhD project in Business Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (ERS)


Abstract

Conventional management research focuses on providing managerial insights for more efficient business operations, often neglecting the implications of business practices on society and the environment. Research conducted by the members of the Department of Business-Society Management moves beyond this and provides a different perspective: it starts with the challenges that society and our natural environment face and then considers how businesses, in partnership with other actors and organizations, can address these challenges. The research conducted by the members of the Business-Society Management department focuses on a variety of topics in this context, all directly relevant to businesses acting upon unprecedented social and environmental changes. Topics of this research program include alternative definitions of and approaches to business, including issues around climate change, corporate communication, sense-making processes in the context of sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy, new business-society strategies, alternative organization forms such as social enterprises and partnerships, alternative governance regimes such as commons/cooperatives, and aligning corporate value propositions with societal issues and social innovation. As part of this open PhD project, you choose a topic that first within the department and that links with your expertise. Please make clear in your application which specific topic or sub-theme from the research conducted within the program fits best with your interests and expertise. For this, it is useful to explore the website of the department, focusing on the entries of the advising faculty.

Keywords

Behavioral Ethics, Business Ethics, Commons, Grand Challenges, Moral Decision Making, Partnerships, Philanthropy, Sense-Making, Social Enterprises, Social Evaluations, Social Innovation, Social Movements, Sustainability, Sustainable Management, Stakeholders, Wicked Problems

Topic

Conventional management research focuses on providing managerial insights for more efficient business operations, often neglecting the implications of business practices on society and the environment. Research conducted by the members of the Department of Business-Society Management moves beyond this and provides a different perspective: it starts with the challenges that society and our natural environment faces and then considers how businesses, in partnership with other actors and organizations, can address these challenges. In other words, we interrogate how businesses can take responsibility in the contexts they operate. This is an important research agenda because our social and natural environments are changing in drastic and unprecedented ways – examples of which include climate change, growing (social) inequality, and the global displacement of populations – and businesses play a central role in these developments. Further, it appears that traditional business models are starting to alienate parts of the general public by losing track of their interests and concerns. Overall, these issues are complex, because society changes in ways that are difficult to foresee for companies and other organizational actors alike, and thus warrant deep scholarly inquiry.

The research conducted by the members of the Business-Society Management department focuses on a variety of topics in this context, all directly relevant to businesses acting upon unprecedented social and environmental changes. A common theme underlying this research is that it seriously considers the possibility that the way organizations do business – including how they relate to the context in which they operate – needs to be changed fundamentally and that incremental efforts are unlikely to be of sufficient help.

Topics of this research program include alternative definitions of and approaches to business, including issues around climate change, corporate communication, sense-making processes in the context of sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy, new business-society strategies, alternative organization forms such as social enterprises and partnerships, alternative governance regimes such as commons/cooperatives, and aligning corporate value propositions with societal issues and social innovation.

As part of this open PhD project, you choose a topic that first within the department and that links with your expertise. Please make clear in your application which specific topic or sub-theme from the research conducted within the program fits best with your interests and expertise. For this, it is useful to explore the website of the department, focusing in particular on the entries of the advising faculty. The value-based organizing research group consists of world-class, multi-disciplinary scholars who publish in top journals, develop pragmatic solutions for corporations, and educate future generations of business leaders in the classroom. The staff who advise on PhD research are (in alphabetical order): Flore Bridoux (Stakeholder Management, Corporate Social Responsibility), Tine De Moor (Social Enterprise and Institutions for Collective Action), Corinna Frey-Heger (Social Innovation, Grand Challenges, Wicked Problems), Tony Jaehyun Choi (community influences on [ir]responsible business behaviours).Jan Lodge (negative social evaluations), Emilio Marti (Sustainable Investing, Shareholder Pressure), Steve Kennedy (Systems and Resilience Thinking, Sustainable Business Models, Circular Economy), Marius van Dijke (Behavioural Ethics), Muel Kaptein (Business Ethics and Integrity Management), Khadija van der Straaten (International Business and Sustainability), Rob van Tulder, (International Business-Society Management; Sustainable Development Goals, wicked problems), Pietro Versari (social enterprises), and Mirjam Werner (sense making),

The group publishes in top journals such as Academy of Management Annals, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Research Policy.

Faculty members teach at Bachelor, Master, and MBA levels. In its teaching the group links state-of-the-art theory and research on sustainability, business-society management, business ethics, and general management with business practice.

A PhD project always starts with reviewing the extant literature and synthesizing this review to develop a theoretical framework. The second stage of each project targets testing this theory. The choice of method for theory development and/or theory testing depends on the data, model and aims of the project. Faculty advisors have broad experience with multiple research methodologies: empirical quantitative research (surveys, existing databases, laboratory experiments) and qualitative research (e.g., case studies, ethnography).

We are looking for candidates who are passionate about research on how businesses can be key drivers of social change, and we welcome applications from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Approach

Due to the diversity in research topics, the research methods we use vary widely, from qualitative techniques to survey and laboratory research.

Required profile

Candidates applying for a Ph.D. position within this research theme should have a background in business studies, management studies, sociology, economics, psychology, or a related discipline. In terms of methodological skills, candidates preferably have proven expertise and interest in statistical, experimental and/or interview skills, and should be eager to learn new methodological tools.

All application documents required by ERIM can be found here: https://www.erim.eur.nl/doctoral-programme/phd-in-management/admissions/application/

Below are the test scores required by ERIM:

- GMAT/GRE scores above the 85th percentile, not older than 5 years

- IELTS/TOEFL test scores, not older than 2 years:

  IELTS: minimum overall band score 7.5; no band score lower than 6.5

  Internet-based TOEFL: minimum total score 100, no sub-score lower than 23

  Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score 600

Expected output

The project output consists of papers in top-tier management journals in sustainability, management, organization, strategy, or applied psychology. These star journals are listed on the ERIM´s webpage: www.erim.eur.nl/about/erim-journals-list-ejl/ and includes journals cited as publishing outlet for the staff.

Cooperation

The unit has strong connections with academics studying value-based organizing and related disciplines such as at the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, Stanford University, London Business School, and the University of Southampton. Members of the group are also well connected with executives in sustainable and innovative organizations.

Societal relevance

It is becoming increasingly clear that business and management scholarship that focuses solely on improving conditions for business is insufficient to address the unprecedented problems that society has to deal with such as climate change, hunger, and poverty. Each project’s objective is to produce valuable guidelines for decision makers to make business useful for society.

Scientific relevance

The project aims at advancing our understanding of highly important aspects of business ethics, responsibility and sustainability, more specifically acting upon the unprecedented changes that our society and business face. Thereby, the project contributes strongly to the academic literature. Targeted contributions of each specific project can be retrieved from the mentioned contact person.

Employment conditions

ERIM offers fully-funded and salaried PhD positions, which means that accepted PhD candidates become employees (promovendi) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO).

Contact Information

For questions regarding the PhD application and selection procedure, please check the Admissions or send us an e-mail via phdadmissions@erim.eur.nl.

Erasmus Research Institute of Management

ERIM is the research institute of management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, founded by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), both of which excel in their research and teaching programmes. The level and international character of their research and teaching programmes has put both schools at the forefront of academic excellence. They offer a diversified portfolio of accredited teaching and research programmes, ranging from pre-experience MSc to postgraduate Masters and executive development, and from fundamental research to applied research and business support, which are renowned throughout the world. RSM is one of the few schools worldwide that holds a triple accreditation from the AMBAs, EQUIS and the AASCB, and is positioned among the top European business schools. The scientific staff of both schools plays a major role in the schools’ interaction with the international business community.

ERIM distinguishes itself by the high-level and international character of its research and has repeatedly been ranked among top 3 research institutes in Europe. ERIM’s key aims are top-quality academic research with impact both on academia and managerial practice, and the advancement of international academic careers and high-level support for both research and doctoral education. For more information about ERIM please visit [link:https://www.erim.eur.nl].