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2023/2024  KAN-CCBDO1001U  Business Strategy in Developing Countries and Emerging Markets

English Title
Business Strategy in Developing Countries and Emerging Markets

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory (also offered as elective)
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Content
    Søren Jeppesen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Strategy
  • Cultural studies
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 03-07-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Understand and describe the particular challenges and opportunities that relate to business strategy and management seen from the perspective of the local firm in emerging markets and developing countries, inter alia in relation to the presented theoretical and strategic approaches.
  • Compare and critically discuss theories and approaches that address the particular challenges and opportunities of business strategy and management for local firms in developing countries and emerging markets.
  • Apply these theories and approaches to concrete cases of local firm business strategy and management in developing countries and emerging markets and assess their respective relevance and applicability.
Course prerequisites
Knowledge of International Business theory literature is an advantage, but not a pre-condition. This course is an approved CEMS elective.
Business Strategy in Developing Countries and Emerging Markets:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
The exam assignment consists of writing an academic essay in response to one of two possible exam questions. It is required that at least 10 references from the obligatory course literature are included and used in the written home assignment.
Assignment type Essay
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Duration 7 days to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Students will receive a first round of Academic Writing feedback after the exam is over and grades have been awarded on their assignment. The Academic Writing is not graded in the exam.


The Academic Writing feedback will be given electronically to students on an individual basis. This is followed by feedback sessions between the student groups and the responsible lecturer (Andrew Crabtree). 



Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Developing country and emerging market firms often emerge from different historical paths, have different resources and capabilities and hence different strategic orientations compared to firms from developed countries.  Differences in business environments, in combination with on-going changes (in terms of speed and content, like the Covid-19 impact and sustainability demands), alter strategy formulation and implementation compared to developed countries. Strategy formulation and management in developing countries and emerging markets take place in a market context and regulatory environment that is significantly different from that of developed countries. The business management literature has only recently started focusing specifically on the particular strategies that local (developing country) firms undertake as well as the interface between those strategies and developing countries/emerging markets (DC/EM). The course “Business strategy in developing countries and emerging markets” is specifically designed to introduce students to this literature. In addition to the theoretically oriented literature, the course will also include introduction to 'doing a literature review'. This element is tied to the methods components of the MSc BLC BaDS program and will be taught with an emphasis on enhancing the student’s academic skills.


The course will consist of four modules:

Module I (Introduction) will provide a general introduction to the business and development studies literature and to the key issue of doing a literature review. Concerning the first of these, the Introduction will take up the gap in the literature concerning the lacking perspectives of developing country firms as well as take account of the particular conditions of doing business in developing countries and emerging markets. Second, the Introduction will discuss the fact that the development literature has devoted too little attention to the role of local, developing country firm strategies and management in economic and social development. The introduction to a key element of doing a literature review serves as an introduction to this issue at the MSc BLC BADS program in general.


Module II introduces theories of business strategy and management in developing countries and emerging markets. The module will present and position key perspectives on business strategies, including theories of business management (e.g. the resource based perspective, internationalisation and network theory, principal agency theory, and institutional theory). Furthermore, it will discuss the applicability of the different theoretical frameworks to the Developing Countries & Emerging Markets contexts. The main issues addressed concern the scale of developing country firms (SMEs versus large firms and MNCs), degree of internationalisation and governance (in Global Value Chains).


Module III presents and examines a number of different cases from a variety of settings (Africa, Asia and Latin-America), illustrating a number of possible strategies of developing country firms. The module has two Theme Days on respectively (i) internationalisation of developing country firms; and (ii) domestic/local market strategies of developing country SMEs. Secondly, the module includes lectures on a) the mobile telecommunication industry in a least developed context (Afghanistan), and b) Human Resource Management strategies among developing country firms. The methods component will continue to emphasise the issues of doing a literature review.


Module IV concludes the course summing up the content, evaluating the course and preparing for the exam including all aspects of the course (business strategies in developing countries and emerging markets, and methods).


Pedagogical approach:

The course is based on face-to-face lectures supplemented with a number of on-line elements (video-clips, Youtube and more). Active and engaged participation is expected from the students based on the curriculum (readings and undertaking specified student tasks mainly in relation to presentation of literature and cases).


Description of the teaching methods
The course will consist of 2-4 hour sessions over 6 weeks. These sessions will be a combination of lectures, cases, group work, student presentations and class discussions. Student presentations will be based on specific questions related to each of the lectures’ theme and last max. 10-15 minutes. Fellow students will be assigned the task of being discussants and hereby providing constructive feedback on the student presentatiions. Regarding the case work students will be divided in groups of 3-4 in each group as part of the Theme Days. The group will be responsible for preparing, presenting and taking part in the discussions of the cases. Class discussions and case teaching are integral parts of the course and all students should prepare and be ready to discuss the issues, questions and cases listed for each lecture.
Feedback during the teaching period
The course includes ‘teacher-to-student’ and ‘student-to-student’ feedback. Student feedback will occur regularly throughout the course, e.g. via the student presentations, the Theme Days cases, in-class discussions, and office hours. Students are encouraged to make use of the student presentations and take up the task as discussants to enhance their learning experience, of course in addition to regular participation and two-way communication in lectures. Students have the possibilities to receive feedback on presentations in class, if wished and to discuss content issues during the office hours of the responsible lecturers. Students are encouraged to use peer-to-peer feedback as a part of the learning process, e.g. in smaller study groups.
Student workload
Preparation for lectures, including Theme Days 118 hours
Teaching 32 hours
Exam 50 hours
Preparation for exam 12 hours
Total 212 hours
Expected literature

To be announced on Canvas - some indicate literature includes:

Hansen, M.W. and Schaumburg-Müller, H. (2010). “Firms in developing countries: A theoretical probe into the borderland of Business Studies and Development Studies”, European Journal of Development Research, pp. 197–216

* Luo, Y., & Tung, R. L. (2018). A general theory of springboard MNEs. Journal of International Business Studies, 49(2), 129–152. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1057/​s41267-017-0114-8

* Peng, M., Sun, S. L.W., Pinkham, B. and Chen, H. (2009). “The Institution-Based View as a Third Leg for a Strategy Tripod”, Academy of Management Perspectives, August, pp. 63-81.

Thomsen, L. (2007). “Accessing global value chains? The role of business–state relations in the private clothing industry in Vietnam.” Journal of Economic Geography, 7(6), pp. 753-776.

* Kuada, J. (2007). “Routes of Integration of Ghanaian Firms into the World Economy”, Chapter 2. In Kuada, J. (ed.) Internationalisation and Economic Growth Strategies in Ghana, London: Adonis and Abbey Publ. pp. 16-36.

Bhattacharya, A. K. and Michael, D.C. (2008). “How Local Companies Keep Multinationals at Bay.” Harvard Business Review (Winning in the World’s Emerging Markets, 2nd Edition), March, pp. 22-33.

* Rahbek Pedersen, E. and Andersen, M. (2006). “Safeguarding corporate social responsibility (CSR) in global supply chains: how codes of conduct are managed in buyer-supplier relationships.” Journal of Public Affairs, 6, pp. 228-240.

* Jeppesen, S. (2005). “Enhancing competitiveness and securing equitable development: can small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do the trick?” Development in Practice, 15, issues 3-4: pp. 463-474.

* Azizi, S. (2015). “CSR in Afghanistan”. Chapter 3, pp. 54-70, in Jamali, D., Karam, C. and Blowfield, M.E. (eds.), Development-Oriented Corporate Social Responsibility, Vol. 2, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK.

* Ramirez, J., Vélez-Zapata, C., & Madero, S. (2020). Ambidexterity responses to security risk institutional context. International Journal of Emerging Markets. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1108/​IJOEM-04-2019-0262

Last updated on 03-07-2023