PhD Courses in Denmark

Theorizing and Enacting Societal Impact

CBS PhD School

Course Coordinator: Eva Boxenbaum, Department of Organization (IOA)


Eva Boxenbaum, Professor
Department of Organization, CBS

Silviya Svejenova, Professor
Department of Organization, CBS

Stine Grodal, Professor 
Otto Mønsted 

Ruthanne Huising, Professor
EM Lyon Business School

Pedro Monteiro, Tenure-Track Assistant Professor
Department of Organization, CBS

Anders Krabbe, Tenure-Track Assistant Professor
King’s College London, UK

Vivi Lena Andersen, PhD, Head of Exhibitions & Public Outreach and Senior Researcher
Museum of Copenhagen. PhD Cup 2018 participant. 

Cathrine La Cour, documentarist/ journalist
Outreach Now

Students are required to submit an individual project plan related to societal impact (1-2 pages) prior to the course. They are also required to attend the full course to obtain a course certificate. 

The world of research is changing. As scholars, we are increasingly expected to articulate how our research contributes to society beyond offering new theoretical, methodological, and empirical insights. We are encouraged, and increasingly also incentivized, to demonstrate the societal impact of our research on broader society, that is, beyond our scholarly community and the classroom. Socially meaningful research is becoming a parameter for access to research funding. 

This course equips participants with a theoretical understanding of societal impact and encourage them to reflect on the changing landscape. Participants learn about professional organization and acquire organizational and communicative insights that are useful for enhancing the societal impact of research. Through this work, they begin shaping their own professional identity as a researcher in view of crafting a meaningful career. 

The course is composed of a five half-day blocks in which we theorize impact by means of organization theory and communication theory. The course also contains two half-day blocks of group work and individual work. Finally, there is a half-day block in which students present a developed version of their individual project and receive developmental feedback.

Lecture plan 

Monday Nov. 6

9.00 –   9.30: Introduction to course (Eva Boxenbaum)

9.30 – 11.30: Theorizing impact: changing roles and expertise of scholars (Ruthanne Huising,  Pedro Monteiro)

11.30 – 12.00  Individual project plan 

13.00 – 16.00: Enacting impact: Audiovisual storytelling & academia (Cathrine la Cour)

16.00 – 16.30: Individual project plan 

Tuesday Nov. 7 

9.00 –   9.30: Theorizing impact: pathways (Eva Boxenbaum)

9.30 – 11.30: Theorizing impact: professional aspirations (Stine Grodal, Anders Krabbe)

11.30 – 12.00  Individual project plan 

13.00 – 16.00: Enacting impact: Communication skills (Vivi Lena Andersen)

16.00 – 16.30: Individual project plan 

Wednesday, Nov 8

9.00 – 10.30 Theorizing impact: Modes of communication (Eva Boxenbaum, Silviya Svejenova)

10.30 – 11.30 Theorizing impact: Art & Aesthetics (Silviya Svejenova & Pedro Monteiro)

11.30 – 12.00  Individual project plan

13.00 – 16.00: Enacting impact: group work

16.00 – 16.30  Individual project plan

Thursday, Nov 9

9.00 – 12.00: Preparation of presentations

13.00 – 16.00: Enacting impact: group work (Cathrine La Cour, Vivi Andersen, Eva Boxenbaum)

16.00 – 16.30  Course evaluation

Direct teaching: 13,5 hours
Presence: 8,5 hour

Teaching style
The pedagogical approach revolves around an individual project plan related to societal impact, which participants submit in a rough draft before the course and further develop throughout the course. Participants build insights from lectures, discussion, group work, and exercises into their individual project plan, which they present at the end of the course to an expert panel who gives them developmental feedback.

Learning Objectives
Students learn to analyze the professional context in which they aim to create societal impact. They also gain theoretical insights from organization and management research that help to position themselves within this context. They learn theory about communication theory and apply their insights to an individual project aimed at communicating their doctoral research to a broader audience. 

Course literature
Huising, R., “Epistemic travel and its dangers: Academic impact seeking, influencing, and posing” in preparation for Research in the Sociology of Organizations.

Pakarinen, P., & Huising, R. (2023/ In print). Relational expertise: What machines can't know. Journal of Management Studies.

Vaughan, D. (2006). NASA revisited: Theory, analogy, and public sociology. American Journal of Sociology112(2), 353-393.

McKee, R., & Fryer, B. (2003). Storytelling that moves people. Harvard Business Review81(6), 51-55.

Kacprzyk, J., Clune, S., Clark, C., & Kane, A.  (2023). Making a greener planet: nature documentaries promote plant awareness, Annals of Botany131(2), 255–260.  

Tina Bentzen won NOCA’s research communication prize in spring 2023 with her stool video.

Recruitment- and popular outreach videos from DTU Chemical Engineering department

Reinecke, J., Boxenbaum, E., & Gehman, J. (2022). Impactful Theory: Pathways to Mattering. Organization Theory3(4).

Abbott, A. (1981). Status and status strain in the professions. American Journal of Sociology, 86(4), 819-835.

Krabbe, A. D., & Grodal, S. “The mediation dilemma and power hybris in the hearing aid industry (1945-2015)”, working paper.

Chris Anderson: TED's secret to great public speaking | TED Talk

Amy Cuddy: Your body language may shape who you are | TED Talk

Boxenbaum, E., Jones, C., Meyer, R., & Svejenova, S. (2018). Towards an articulation of the material and visual turn in organization studies. Organization Studies39(5-6), 597-616.

Meyer, R. E., Jancsary, D., Höllerer, M. A., & Boxenbaum, E. (2018). The role of verbal and visual text in the process of institutionalization. Academy of Management Review, 43(3), 392-418.

Jones, C., Svejenova, S., Pedersen, J. S., & Townley, B. (2016). Misfits, mavericks and mainstreams: Drivers of innovation in the creative industries. Organization Studies37(6), 751-768.

Benco, R. C. (2020). Why science needs art. Smithsonian Magazine (April 15, 2020).

Khoury, C. K., Kisel, Y., Kantar, M., Barber, E., Ricciardi, V., Klirs, C., ... & Novy, A. (2019). Science–graphic art partnerships to increase research impact. Communications Biology, 2(1), 295. 

Li, N., Villanueva, I. I., Jilk, T., Van Matre, B. R., & Brossard, D. (2023). Artistic representations of data can help bridge the US political divide over climate change. Communications Earth & Environment, 4(1), 195.

For full course description and course registration please visit the CBS course web site.