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Emerging markets' multinational enterprises and their role in Sustainable Development Goals

   Business School

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  Prof Zaheer Khan, Dr Huda Khan, Prof Jie Wu  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Founded in 1495, The University of Aberdeen is the third oldest University in Scotland. With a community of 120 nationalities and over 15,000 students the University is ranked consistently among the world's top universities.

The University of Aberdeen’s Business School is internationally recognised for its excellence in world-leading research and was ranked 11th for Business Management Studies in the Complete University Guide 2021. The school was also ranked as a top three UK University for impact in Business and Management Studies as ranked by Times Higher Education based on REF 2014 GPA scores. REF assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Project Detail:

There is a growing body of literature on emerging-market multinational enterprises (EMNEs), characterised by its focus on the sources of their competitive advantage (Ramamurti, 2009) and the decision and the process associated with their internationalisation (Mathew, 2002, 2006; Luo & Tung, 2007). During the early years of this literature, it was implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) assumed that outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from EMNEs is largely driven by a knowledge-seeking motive. Nevertheless, there is limited discussion about how knowledge acquired in more developed contexts could be transferred back to the emerging market operations of these firms. Indeed, little attention has been given to whether the transfer of this newly acquired knowledge and its integration into emerging market operations is at all feasible given institutional differences between developed and emerging market contexts and organisational differences between operations in these contexts. Likewise, given the rapid rise of emerging markets’ firms, there is a limited understanding about the role of these firms in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their home and host markets.

The aim of this PhD project is to examine 1) ways in which emerging market multinational firms contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2) what are the roles of different stakeholders in contributing to SDGs, 3) what role do SDGs play in the international strategies and processes of emerging market multinational firms 4) what are different contexts and conditions under which emerging market multinational firms contribute effectively to SDGs. Cross-country comparisons would be preferred.

The study will be supervised by Prof. Zaheer Khan, Dr. Huda Khan, and Prof. Jie Wu

Prospective candidates are required to develop the project idea outline above into a PhD proposal of not more than 1500 words. The proposal should include relevant up to date literature sources and provide some indication of an appropriate research methodology that could be applied to the project.

To be considered for the project the candidate must also meet the standard entry requirements for the PGR programme. This includes a first-class undergraduate honours degree and master’s degree in a Business Management, preferably International Business or equivalent in any Social Science Subject from an approved university. Further information on the application process can be accessed via link below.

How To Apply | Study Here | The University of Aberdeen (

Applications will be assessed based on academic performance, quality of the research proposal and potential to contribute to one of the areas of research strength of the Africa-Asia Centre of Sustainability Research at the University of Aberdeen:

Applicants are welcome to share their interests with Prof. Zaheer Khan prior to formally applying.

Please apply formally via University of Aberdeen’s website and upload all the supporting documents listed below:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • A 500-word personal statement explaining why you are interested in this topic and the University of Aberdeen. In particular, we are keen to learn more about the qualities and skills you can bring to the project.
  • Copies of your transcripts/certificates
  • Research Proposal (1500 words)
  • Two academic references

Funding Notes

This is a 3 year project and will be provided as fee waiver by the Business School and is open to students from the UK, EU and international. A living allowance of £600 per month will be provided to the successful candidate. The successful applicant will be expected to start their studies in September 2021.
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