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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV2306U  Business Ecosystems: Scaling Sustainable Business through Partnering

English Title
Business Ecosystems: Scaling Sustainable Business through Partnering

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Bo Bernhard Nielsen - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Management
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 16-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • The student shall be able to write a readable and well-structured mini-project that meets basic academic requirements regarding references, literature list etc.
  • The student shall be able to select and apply relevant theories for the case/problem being addressed in the mini project
  • The student shall be able to argue for the appropriateness of the theory/theories selected for the case/problem
Business Ecosystems: Scaling Sustainable Business through Partnering:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Release of assignment An assigned subject is released in class
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The course addresses the question of how to rapidly scale sustainable business. Participants will be updated on the newest approaches to strategic partnering as a tool for business development and scaling in global value chains.

Focus is on developing, organizing, governing, and managing complex strategic partnerships within and across organizational and national borders and is targeted at students and businesses involved in driving the business developments towards a zero-carbon world.


We build on classical international management and economics theories and tools combined with innovative new developments in global value chain governance research and practice.


The course will present theories of partnering, global value chains, strategic networks, governance, and international strategy in the context of scaling sustainable business.


The course will feature a combination of theoretical models and practical cases with emphasis on applicability of theories and models.


The course develops a strategic partnering approach to business development with focus on scaling sustainable business across vertical and horizontal value chain activities.


The course will in particular deal with the following topics:

- Introduction to the concept of Alliance management

- The costs and benefits of Alliances – seen from different theoretical perspectives

- Alliances for new business development

- Alliances and network advantage

- Introduction to the concept of global value chains

- Theories on circular economy

- Theories on scaling of sustainable business strategies

Description of the teaching methods
The course will use a mixture of learning styles, including lectures and case-study discussions
Feedback during the teaching period
The course is structured around a number of readings and cases which will be discussed in class sessions/online. Each of the online lectures will be recorded and students will be provided with slides after the class, including slide(s) with key takeaways. Each session will end with a Q&A session. In subsequent class, students will be provided with summary of last class teachings as well as the opportunity to ask questions again both in beginning of class and Q&A at end of each session.

The class will also feature a number of case sessions (on site at CBS, but also with possibility for taking part though teams if not possible to attend on site) which will be presented by students (in groups). Feedback on case analysis is provided continuously during the case analysis, partly by the instructor and partly by peers with the instructor facilitating peer-to-peer discussion. Moreover, students will receive more detailed written feedback via uploaded on platform in group folder within a week after case presentation.

In addition, the course features an online discussion forum where students can ask questions on specific topics related to the course material at all times and will receive feedback from the instructor and/or other peer students.

The exam is take-home written project and students will be provided with specific information regarding this exam in an exam-prep lecture prior to the exam being released. Feedback on the exam will be written comments.
Student workload
Teaching 33 hours
Preparation 113 hours
Exam 60 hours
Expected literature

Main text:

  • Network Advantage: How to Unlock Value From Your Alliances and Partnerships Hardcover – 27 Dec 2013

by  Henrich Greve (Author),  Tim Rowley  (Author),  Andrew Shipilov  (Author)


Indicative additional readings:


  • Beauson, J., Laurent, A., Rudolph, D. P. and Jensen, J.P. (2022), The complex end-of-life of wind turbine blades: A review of the European context. Renewable and Sustainable Energy reviews, 155
  • Cabello-Medina, C., Carmona-Lavado, A., & Cuevas-Rodriguez, G. (2020). A contingency view of alliance management capabilities for innovation in the biotech industry. BRQ Business Research Quarterly, 23(1), 2340944420901050.
  • Das, T. K., & Teng, B. S. (2000). A resource-based theory of strategic alliances. Journal of management, 26(1), 31-61.
  • Gereffi G., Humphrey, J. & Sturgeon, T. (2005) The governance of global value chains, Review of International Political Economy, 12:1, 78-104.
  • Nielsen, B.B. “An Empirical Investigation of the Drivers of International Strategic Alliance Formation”, European Management Journal, 2003, Vol. 21, Issue 3: 301-322.
  • Nielsen, B.B. (2010), “Strategic fit, contractual and procedural governance in alliances”, Journal of Business Research, 63: 682-689.
Last updated on 16-02-2023