Business For Peace: A New Dawn for International Peacebuilding?

Please note: This page refers to a course that has already taken place.

08 - 10 Mar 2017

PRIO, Hausmanns gate 3, Oslo

Gregory M. Reichberg, Jason Miklian and Covadonga M. Bertrand, PRIO


Covadonga M. Bertrand (

The new 'Business For Peace' (B4P) paradigm urges multinational corporations (MNCs) to become more active political participants in conflict zones and fragile post-conflict environments of operation. This thrust is designed both to harness the local power of corporations for good, and as a potential alternative to traditional development aid. While B4P's positive impact through economic opening and Corporate Social Responsibility is assumed, corporate presence can exacerbate conflict dynamics in certain settings. As B4P is becoming a standardized component of multilateral development and aid activities per the United Nations Global Compact B4P platform and the UN's 'Delivering As One' mandate, exploring B4P's influence on business, development, and conflict is increasingly relevant to understanding institutional responses to peace and peacebuilding.

Course Description:

In this course, we will unpack the relationships between business, conflict and liberal peace politics that led to the B4P and broader business-peace frameworks, and collaboratively explore how businesses see their new role as peacebuilders and peacemakers, particularly within the international community's multi-billion dollar development agenda in fragile and conflict-affected states.

The course is structured as follows: After a brief introductory session to discuss the agenda and learn course participants’ backgrounds and motivations, we will hold two 3-hour sessions per day for the three-day course period, each designed to address a different thematic challenge of business and peace scholarship and practice. Sessions are designed to be collaborative and discussion-oriented, with the readings and discussion questions to be used as a springboard for questions of interest by participants. At the end of each day we will hold a brief concluding wrap-up session to tackle big picture questions and distill key lessons from the day’s discussion.


​Schedule with readings



1) Oetzel, J., M. Westermann-Behaylo, C. Koerber and T. Fort, 2010. “Business and Peace: Sketching the Terrain.” Journal of Business Ethics 89(2): 351-373.

2) Miklian, Jason, 2017. “Mapping Business-Peace Interactions: Five Assertions for How Businesses Create Peace.” Business, Peace and Sustainable Development, forthcoming. Available at:

3) Ford, Joylon, 2015. “Perspectives on the Evolving 'Business and Peace Debate.” Academy of Management Perspectives 4(1):1-10.



Introduction 8:30-9:30

SESSION 1: The history of business, peace and international development (9:30-12:00)

Required Readings:

1) Friedman, Milton, 1970. “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.” New York Times Magazine.

2) Galtung, John, 1969. “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research 6.3: 167-191.

3) Kolk, Ans, 2016. “The social responsibility of international business: From ethics and the environment to CSR and sustainable development.” Journal of World Business 51(1):23-34.

Optional Readings:

1) Paris, Roland, 1997. “Peacebuilding and the Limits of Liberal Internationalism.” International Security 22(2):54-89.

2) Gartzke, Erik, 2007. “The Capitalist Peace.” American Journal of Political Science 51(1):166-191.

3) de George, Richard, 2015. “A History of Business Ethics.” Available at:

4) Gleditsch, Nils Petter, Jonas Nordkvelle and Håvard Strand, 2014. “Peace research – just the study of war?” Journal of Peace Research 51(2): 145-158

Discussion Questions:

1) Do 21st century businesses have a social responsibility to promoting peace and peacebuilding in their areas of operation?

2) Is the current relationship of business to peacebuilding pre-ordained, or were there key inflection points that encouraged the deeper relationships that we see today?

3) How has the ‘liberal peacebuilding project’ influenced the role of business in peace, and how have the successes (and failures) of international development actors opened the door for business involvement in peacebuilding?

Lunch break (12:00-1:30)

SESSION 2: Business and Peace: The Corporate Perspective (1:30-4:30)

Required Readings:

1a) Rettberg, Angelika, 2013. “Peace is Better Business, and Business Makes Better Peace: The Role of the Private Sector in Colombian Peace Processes.” GIGA Working Paper 240. Hamburg: GIGA.

1b) Rettberg, Angelika, 2016. “Need, Creed, and Greed: Understanding Why Business Leaders Focus on Issues of Peace.” Business Horizons 59(5):481-492.

2) Berdal, Mats and Nader Mousavizadeh, 2010. “Investing for Peace: The Private Sector and the Challenges of Peacebuilding.” Survival 52(2):37-58.

3) Godfrey, P., 2005. “The Relationship between Corporate Philanthropy and Shareholder Wealth: A Risk Management Perspective.” The Academy of Management Review 30(4):777-798.

Optional Readings:

1) Ballentine, Karen and Virginia Haufler, 2009. “Public Policy For Conflict-Sensitive Business.” New York: UN Global Compact. Second Edition.

2) Andersson, J.T., T. Evers & G. Sjostedt, 2011. “Private Sector Actors & Peacebuilding: A Framework for Analysis.” Stockholm: International Council of Swedish Industry.

3) Ford, Joylon, 2015. Regulating Business for Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

4) Fort, Timothy, 2014. “Gentle Commerce.” Business, Peace & Sustainable Development 4:107-111.

Discussion Questions:

1) Should business be in the business of peace?

2) What is ‘the business case’ for being more involved in peacebuilding? What are the arguments against such involvement?

3) How do competing goals between risk management, CSR, public relations and operational departments of firms influence their peace agendas?



SESSION 3: Business and Peace: The Practitioner’s Perspective (9:00-11:30)

Required Readings:

1) Forrer, John, Timothy Fort and Raymond Gilpin, 2012. “How Business Can Foster Peace.” United States Institute of Peace Report. Washington DC: USIP.

2) Ganson, Brian, 2014. “Business in Fragile Environments: Capabilities for Conflict Prevention.” Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 7(2):121-139.

3a) Ruggie John, 2011. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. New York: UNHRC.

3b) United Nations Global Compact, 2010. “Guidance on Responsible business in conflict-affected and High-risk areas.” New York: UNGC.

3c) UNGC, 2013. “Responsible Business, Advancing Peace: examples from companies, investors and global compact networks.” New York: UNGC.

Optional Readings:

1) Barbera, Julien, 2006. “Nation-building and the role of the private sector as a political peace-builder.” Conflict, Security and Development 6(4):581-594.

2) Bennett, Juliette, 2002. “Multinational corporations, social responsibility and conflict.” Journal of International Affairs 55(2): 393-410.

3) Fort, Timothy, and Cindy Shipani, 2004. The Role of Business in Fostering Peaceful Societies. Boulder: Lynne Reinner.

4) Zandvliet, Luc and Mary Anderson, 2009. “Getting it Right: Making Corporate-Community Relations Work.” Boston: CDA.

Discussion Questions:

1) Is it enough to be conflict sensitive and work to reduce conflict in order for a firm to be considered pro-peace?

2) Following, is creating a pocket of peace in a firm’s operational area alone (without addressing regional or national conflict drivers) a valuable pro-peace contribution?

3) Is it possible for a singular ‘peace toolkit’ for all business operating in conflict areas to be made? What would it entail?

Lunch break (11:30-1:00)

SESSION 4: The Ethics of Business and Peace (1:00-4:00)

Required Readings:

1) Hönke Jana, 2014. “Business for peace? The ambiguous role of ‘ethical’ mining companies.” Peacebuilding 2:172-187.

2) Institute for Human Rights and Business, 2011. “From Red to Green Flags: The corporate responsibility to respect human rights in high-risk countries.” London: IHRAB.

3) Alleblas, Tessa, 2015. “The Responsibility to Protect and the Private Sector: Making the Business Case for Private Sector Involvement in Mass Atrocity Prevention.” Hague Institute for Global Justice Working Paper 5. The Hague:Hague Institute.

Optional Readings:

1) Kolk, Ans, 2016. “The Social Responsibility of International Business: From Ethics and the Environment to CSR and Sustainable Development.” Journal of World Business 21(1).

2) Idemudia, U., 2010. “Rethinking the role of corporate social responsibility in the Nigerian oil conflict: The limits of CSR.” Journal of International Development 22(7):833-845.

3) Hoskinson, Sherry and Donald Kuratko (eds.), 2015. The Challenges of Ethics and Entrepreneurship in the Global Environment. London: Emerald.

Discussion Questions:



Course dinner at Villa Paradiso, Olav Ryes plass 8 (6:30pm)

FRIDAY 10 March

SESSION 5: Field Successes and Failures (9:00-11:00)

Required Readings:

1) Kolk, Ans and Frederic Lenfant, 2013. “Business–NGO collaboration in a conflict setting partnership activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Business and Society, 51(3):478-511.

2) Miklian, Jason and Juan Pablo Media Bickel, 2017. “Business, Development Aid and Local Peacebuilding: A Study of The 'Footprints of Peace' Coffee Project in Rural Colombia.” Forthcoming.

3) Hoben, M., Kovick, D., Plumb, D., and Wright, J., 2012. Corporate and Community Engagement in the Niger Delta: Lessons Learned from Chevron Nigeria Limited's GMOU Process. Cambridge: Consensus Building Institute.

Optional Readings:

1) Ausland, Aaron, and Gerhard Tonn, 2010. Partnering for Local Development: An Independent Assessment of a Unique Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Relations Strategy. Johannesburg: Barrick Gold.

2) Aaron, Kilikpoye and John Patrick, 2013. “Corporate social responsibility patterns and conflicts in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.” International Area Studies Review 16(4):341-356.

3) Haufler, Virginia, 2009. “The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme: An Innovation in Global Governance and Conflict Prevention.” Journal of Business Ethics 89(4):403-416.

4) Guáqueta, Alexandra, 2013. “Harnessing corporations: lessons from the voluntary principles on security and human rights in Colombia and Indonesia.” Journal of Asian Public Policy 6(2):129-146.

Discussion Questions:

1) Should a failed peacebuilding attempt by a business be rewarded as a business-peace initiative? What if a firm helps build peace solely as a side effect of operations?

2) Are positive business-peace cases replicable, or are conflict and peace dynamics too individualized for replicability?

3) What are the advantages and disadvantages of firms partnering with development organizations in the pursuit of peace?

Talk by Henrik Syse, Research Professor, fomer Head of Corporate Governance, Norges Bank Investment Management (11:00-12:00)

Lunch break (12:00-1:00)

SESSION 6: Beyond ‘Business For Peace’: New Pathways for Corporate Roles in Conflict and Peace (1:00-4:00)

Required and Optional Readings (pick 3-5 of your choice):

1) Oetzel, Jennifer and Michelle Breslauer, 2015. “The Business and Economics of Peace: Moving the Agenda Forward.” Business, Peace & Sustainable Development 2015(6):3-8.

2) Westermann-Beyhalo, M., K. Rehbein and T. Fort, 2015. “Enhancing the Concept of Corporate Diplomacy.” Academy of Management Perspectives 29(4):387-404.

3) Sharma, Avi, 2015. “Who leads in a G-Zero World? Multinationals, Sustainable Development and CSR in a Changing Global Order.” Washington International Law Journal 24:589-602.

4) Katsos, John, 2016. “Access and Application: Addressing the Two Major Problems in Current Business and Peace Research.” Business, Peace and Sustainable Development 2016(7):3-7.

5) MacNulty, Robert, 2014. “Reflections on the Importance of Business for Peace in 21st-Century Peacebuilding.” Business, Peace and Sustainable Development 4:113-122.

6) Shackleford, Scott, 2016. “Business and Cyber Peace: We Need You!” Business Horizons, forthcoming.

7) Kolk, Ans and Francois Lenfant, 2017. “Hybrid Business Models for Peace and Reconciliation.” Business Horizons, forthcoming.

Discussion Questions:

1) Given the increased emphasis on business engagement in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, are business-peace frameworks needlessly reductive, or does it retain standalone value? And should businesses or the international community take the lead in such ventures?

2) What role does business have to play in the global peace and human rights agenda in an age of increasingly illiberal democracy?

3) What does the ‘Business and Peace’ scholarly stream need in order to establish itself as more than simply the latest fad in either peace research or corporate social responsibility?

SESSION 7: Conclusions and Wrap-up (4:00-5:00)


​Deadline of application: 3 February 2017

Essay deadline: 1 June 2017


We expect all students to actively participate in discussions. The course will be run as a reading and discussion seminar, with lively debate. Thus, discussion questions will serve as our starting point for each session. For this format to be successful, students must read the seminar readings prior to our first meeting on 8 March. Our expectation is that each student will have read the required readings and at least one of the optional readings of interest before each session. 

Class presentations: The course will be conducted in seminar style. Each student will be assigned one or two course readings that will be presented in class. This will be a ca 20 minute overview and critical assessment of the article, with the aim of orienting the discussion that will follow. In addition to outlining the main thrust of the article, your comments should reflect a critical assessment of those readings. What are their strong and weak points? Their theoretical, methodological, empirical contributions? How do they relate to or build upon discussion questions? For the problems you identify, how might you fix them?

Completion of an Analytic Essay: Students are to prepare an essay on a topic of special interest that is consistent with the course's purpose and theme of business and peace. Essays should be 4,000-5,000 words in length and are due by 1 June.


​The deadline for receiving applications is 3 February 2017.

Please fill-in the electronic application form. PhD candidates should specify the topic of their project under 'Research interests'. PhD candidates get priority, but others with graduate studies from a relevant discipline may also apply. 

There is no participation fee, but the cost of transportation and accommodation must be covered by participants. A limited number of stipends covering basic accommodation at the neighbouring Anker Hotel are available for students who do not have funding to attend this kind of courses through their universities or otherwise. If relevant, check the 'stipend' box in the application scheme.

If needed in order to make the necessary travel arrangements, PhD candidates who apply long before the deadline may request an early evaluation of their application in an e-mail to Covadonga M Bertrand ( Please mark the e-mail [B4P Research Course - early evaluation]. 


Course Literature:

​Indicative reading list:

Banerjee, SB, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Critical Sociology 34(1): 51-79.

Barbera, Julien, 2006. "Nation-building and the role of the private sector as a political peace-builder." Conflict, Security and Development 6(4): 581-594.

Bennett, Jennifer, 2001. "Business in Zones of Conflict: The Role of the Multinational in Promoting Regional Stability." UN Global Compact Policy Dialogue Paper.

Bennett, J, 2002. "Multinational corporations, social responsibility and conflict." Journal of International Affairs 55(2): 393-410.

Berdal, Mats and Nader Mousavizadeh, 2010. "Investing for Peace: The Private Sector and the Challenges of Peacebuilding." Survival 52(2):37-58.

CDA, 2014. Business for Peace: Understanding and Assessing Corporate Contributions to Peace. Paper presented at the UN Global Compact's Business for Peace conference.

De Colle, Simone, Adrian Henriques and Saras Sarasvathy, 2014. "The Paradox of Corporate Social Responsibility Standards." Journal of Business Ethics 125:177-191.

Ford, Joylon, 2014. "Towards a Model of UN-sponsored Post-conflict Regulation of Responsible Business Activity." Business, Peace and Sustainable Development 4:84-106.

Fort, Timothy, and Cindy Shipani, 2004. The Role of Business in Fostering Peaceful Societies. Boulder: Lynne Reinner.

Fort, Timothy, 2014. "Gentle Commerce." Business, Peace & Sustainable Development 4:107-111.

Friedman, Milton, 1970. "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits." New York Times Magazine.

Gerson, A., 2001. "Peace Building: The Private Sector's Role." American Journal of International Law 95(1): 102-119.

Hansson, N., 2013. Corporate Responsibility in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Overview of the International Framework, Tools and Lessons Learned from Case Studies. Stockholm: Diakonia Press.

Haski-Leventhal, Debbie, 2014. "From CSR and CSV to Business and Peace." Business, Peace and Sustainable Development 4:3-5.

Hönke, Jana, 2014. "Business for peace? The ambiguous role of 'ethical' mining companies'." Peacebuilding, 2(2):172-187.

International Alert, 2000. The Business of Peace. London: IA Publications.

Jamali, Dima and Ramez Mirshak, 2010. "Business-Conflict Linkages: Revisiting MNCs, CSR and Conflict." Journal of Business Ethics 93:443-464.

Journal of Business Ethics (JBE), 2009. Special issue 89(4).

Lim, A., & K. Tsutsui, 2010. "The Globalization of Corporate Social Responsibility: Cross-National Analyses on Global CSR Framework Commitment." University of Michigan.

MacNulty, Robert, 2014. "Reflections on the Importance of Business for Peace in 21st-Century Peacebuilding." Business, Peace and Sustainable Development 4:113-122.

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), 2012. "Business Creates Development: What the Norwegian Authorities Are Doing to Promote Private Investment in Developing Countries." Oslo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Miklian, Jason and Peer Schouten, 2013. "Fluid Markets." Foreign Policy, September.

Miklian, Jason and Peer Schouten, 2015. "Business For Peace: The New Paradigm of International Development." Forthcoming.

Oetzel, J., M. Westermann-Behaylo, C. Koerber, T. Fort & J. Rivera, 2010. "Business and Peace: Sketching the Terrain." Journal of Business Ethics 89: 351–373.

O'Riordan, Linda and Jenny Fairbrass, 2014. Managing CSR Stakeholder Engagement: A New Conceptual Framework. Journal of Business Ethics 125:121-145.

Pingeot, Lou, 2012. Dangerous Partnership Private Military & Security Companies and the UN. New York: Global Policy Forum.

Prandi, M. and J. M. Lozano, 2011. CSR in Conflict and Post-Conflict Environments: Risk Management to Value Creation. Barcelona: UAB.

Ruggie, John, 2011. "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the UN "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework." UNHRC.

United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), 2010. "Guidance on Responsible business in conflict-affected and High-risk areas." New York: UNGC.

UNGC, 2013. "Business For Peace: A Business Leadership Platform." New York: UNGC.

Valor, C. 2005. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Citizenship: Towards Corporate Accountability." Business and Society Review 110(2): 191–212.

World Bank, 2014. "Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations." New York: World Bank.