Business and Peace

Coordinator: Gregory M. Reichberg

​​​​​​​​​​​What roles do businesses play in facilitating peace? While business-conflict ties are well-researched, the more aspirational elements of business engagements in peacebuilding - including both operational and philanthropic activities - are less understood. In addition, local, national and multinational businesses all engage with conflict actors differently, which may make for unique opportunities for each as they navigate within conflict and peacebuilding processes. This research group aims to explore the spectrum of business and peacebuilding, from business influences on interstate conflicts to their role in local settings, including both qualitative and quantitative streams. ​

The work of the Business and Peace research group is primarily focused on (but not limited to) three overarching themes, each of which house many different research agenda items.

  1. The role and effectiveness of multinational corporations and local businesses as peace actors, through their operational, philanthropic, and Corporate Social Responsibility ventures.
  2. Efforts by international institutions, non-governmental organizations and governments to encourage businesses to play more extensive roles in peacebuilding.
  3. ​The role and effectiveness of businesses as peacebuilding actors in local communities beset by conflict or otherwise classified as hosting volatile environments or complex emergencies.

PRIO's work on Business and Peace engages scholars from the fields of Anthropology, Sociology, History, Political Science, Philosophy, Development Studies, International Relations and other disciplines. Using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, PRIO's research on Business and Peace attempts to better understand how businesses can help to both build peace and limit their own negative operational impacts.


Recent publications

Bull, Benedicte & Kristian Hoelscher (2023) Pandemic Micropolitics in Latin America: Small Business and the Governance of Crisis From Above and Below in El Salvador, Journal of Politics in Latin America. DOI: 10.1177/1866802X231159686.

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Bull, Benedicte & Kristian Hoelscher (2023) Pandemic Micropolitics in Latin America: Small Business and the Governance of Crisis From Above and Below in El Salvador, Journal of Politics in Latin America. DOI: 10.1177/1866802X231159686.
Miklian, Jason; John Elias Katsos; Brian Ganson; Benedicte Bull; Kristian Hoelscher; Sarah Cechvala; Øystein H. Rolandsen; Angelika Rettberg & Benjamin Miller (2021) What Covid-19 Taught Us About Doing Business During a Crisis, Harvard Business Review.
Ganson, Brian & Kristian Hoelscher (2021) Theorising MSMEs in Contexts of Urban Violence, Journal of Illicit Economies and Development 2(2): 222–241.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2021) SMEs and Exogenous Shocks: A Conceptual Literature Review and Forward Research Agenda, International Small Business Journal 40(2): 178–204.
Musa, Ahmed M. & Cindy Horst (2019) State formation and economic development in post-war Somaliland: the impact of the private sector in an unrecognised state, Conflict, Security and Development 19(1): 35–53.
Brekke, Torkel (2018) Halal Money: Financial inclusion and demand for Islamic banking in Norway, Research & Politics 5(1): 1–7.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2017) Smart Cities, Mobile Technologies and Social Cohesion in India, Indian Journal of Human Development 11(1): 1–16.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Jason Miklian (2016) A Blueprint for Pro-Peace Innovation, Harvard International Review 37(4).
Miklian, Jason; Peer Schouten & Brian Ganson (2016) From Boardrooms to Battlefields: 5 New Ways That Businesses Claim to Build Peace, Harvard International Review 37(2): 1–4.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2014) A Tale of New Cities: The Future of Urban Planning in the Developing World, Harvard International Review 35(4): 13–18.
Haugen, Heidi Østbø & Jørgen Carling (2005) On the Edge of the Chinese Diaspora: The Surge of Baihuo Business in an African City, Ethnic and Racial Studies 28(4): 639–662.
Mehlum, Halvor; Karl Ove Moene & Ragnar Torvik (2003) Predator or Prey: Parasite Enterprises in Economic Development, European Economic Review 47(2): 275–294.
Mehlum, Halvor; Karl Ove Moene & Ragnar Torvik (2002) Plunder & Protection Inc., Journal of Peace Research 39(4): 447–459.

Book Chapter

Sagmo, Tove Heggli (2015) The role of social capital in post-conflict business development: perspectives from returning migrants in Burundi, in Africa's Return Migrants: the New Developers?. London: Zed Books (109–129).
Simkus, Albert (2012) Cultural Diversity in South East Europe, in Sternad, Dietmar; & Thomas F. Döring, eds, Handbook of Doing Business In South East Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (395–427).
Syse, Henrik & Helene Christiansen Ingierd (2011) The Moral Responsibility of Shareholders: A Conceptual Map, in Nystuen, Gro; Andreas Follesdal; & Ola Mestad, eds, Human Rights, Corporate Complicity, and Disinvestment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (156–182).
Bomann-Larsen, Lene (2004) Reconstructing the Principle of Double-Effect: Toward Fixing the Goalposts of Corporate Activity, in Responsibility In World Business: Managing Harmful Side-Effects of Corporate Activity. Tokyo: UN University Press (82–98).
Reichberg, Gregory M. & Henrik Syse (2004) The Idea of Double Effect – in War and in Business, in Responsibility In World Business: Managing Harmful Side-Effects of Corporate Activity. Tokyo: United Nations University Press (17–38).
Reichberg, Gregory M. (2002) The Hard Questions of International Business: Some Guidelines from the Ethics of War, in Business Ethics and Leadership In Action. Cheltenham; Northampton: Elgar (304–318).
Syse, Henrik (2002) Ethics – Seasoning or Ingredient?, in Corporate Communication – a Strategic Approach to Building Reputation. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk (265–276).
Syse, Henrik & Gregory M. Reichberg (1999) Conducting Business Amidst Human Rights Abuses: Some Lessons from the Just War Tradition, in Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the International Association For Business and Society. London: SAGE (71–76).

Edited Volume

Miklian, Jason; Rina M. Alluri; & John Elias Katsos, eds, (2019) Business, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development. London: Routledge.
Bomann-Larsen, Lene (ed.) (2004) Responsibility in World Business: Managing Harmful Side-Effects of Corporate Activity. Tokyo: UN University Press.

Popular Article

Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2022) How Has COVID-19 Affected Small and Medium Enterprises?, Social Science Spaces, 9 February.
Nilsen, Marte (2020) The Politics of Humanitarian Aid to Myanmar, PK Forum, 9 July.
Miklian, Jason (2017) The Future of Business, Peace and Human Rights in the Donald Trump Era, Global Policy, 6 February.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) En beretning om fremtidens byer [On the Future of Cities], Ny Tid, 13 October.
Nilsen, Marte; Stein Tønnesson & Emil Jeremic (2014) Norges balansekunst i Myanmar, NRK Ytring, 17 October.
Miklian, Jason & Peer Schouten (2013) Fluid Markets, Foreign Policy, 9 September.
Baev, Pavel K. (2011) Economic Stagnation in Russia becomes Personal for Putin, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 11 October.
Syse, Henrik (2008) Etikk og butikk [Ethics and business], Dagens Næringsliv, 15 July.

PRIO Report

Miklian, Jason; Peer Schouten; Cindy Horst; & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2018) Business and Peacebuilding: Seven Ways to Maximize Positive Impact, PRIO Project Summary. Oslo: PRIO.
Mullen, Fiona; Alexander Apostolides; & Mustafa Besim (2014) The Cyprus Peace Dividend Revisited: A Productivity and Sectoral Approach, PRIO Cyprus Centre Report, 1. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.
Carling, Jørgen; Marta Bivand Erdal; Cindy Horst; & Hilde Wallacher (2007) Legal, Rapid and Reasonably Priced? A Survey of Remittance Services in Norway, PRIO Report, 3. Oslo: PRIO.

Conference Paper

Bomann-Larsen, Lene (2003) Addressing Complicity: Legitimate Business Objectives vs. Harmful Side-Effects, presented at The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) 16th Annual Meeting, New York City, June 2003.

PRIO Policy Brief

Rettberg, Angelika; Daniel Medina & Jason Miklian (2019) Corporate Strategies to Assist Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in Colombia, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Rustad, Siri Aas & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) Supporting Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue in Barcarena, Brazil, PRIO Policy Brief, 26. Oslo: PRIO.
Miklian, Jason (2016) How Businesses Can Be Effective Local Peacebuilders – Evidence from Colombia, PRIO Policy Brief, 27. Oslo: PRIO.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) A Blueprint for Pro-Peace Innovation, PRIO Policy Brief, 25. Oslo: PRIO.
Horst, Cindy (2015) Back in Business? Diaspora Return to Somalia, PRIO Policy Brief, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Leander, Anna (2012) Silent and Irresponsible. European Approaches to Commercial Military Services, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Rettberg, Angelika; Daniel Medina & Jason Miklian (2019) Corporate Strategies to Assist Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in Colombia, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Oguz, Ozlem; Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou & Fiona Mullen (2010) The day after III: The Cyprus peace dividend for Turkey and Greece, PRIO Cyprus Centre Paper. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Report - Other

Tzimitras, Harry (ed.) (2014) The Peace Potential of Hydrocarbon Resources: A Scoping StudyOslo: PRIO.
Bomann-Larsen, Lene (2002) Bedrifter i konfliktområder: ansvarlig engasjement [Business in Conflict Areas: Responsible Engagement], Report by Næringslivets hovedorganisasjon & PRIO. Oslo: Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon & PRIO.

Blog Posts

Telenor’s Exit from Myanmar: An External Review Is Needed

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Sunday, 29 May 2022

Telenor’s sale of its Myanmar venture has been completed. Its new majority owner is Myanmar’s Shwe Byain Phyu group, which is mainly known for its petroleum trade. On 11 May, in their reports to Telenor’s Annual General Meeting, Chair of the Telenor Board Gunn Wærsted and CEO Sigve Brekke spoke at length about the extremely difficult situation Telenor ... Read more »

China’s Conflict with the NBA Shows Why Companies Can’t Force Social Change by Themselves

Posted by Jason Miklian, Benedicte Bull & John E. Katsos on Friday, 18 October 2019

A tweet landed a global brand in a clash of politics and cultural demands. It was a tough week for U.S. companies doing business in China. Tiffany canceled an ad campaign because the model had a hand over her right eye, prompting critics in China to complain it looked like she was ... Read more »

Can Businesses Play a Role in Peace and Sustainable Development?

Posted by Jason Miklian on Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The role of business in society is as contested as ever. Business can help grow local communities, or they can exploit them. Economic growth can bring states together as it did the European Union, or it can help trigger conflict if the benefits are not distributed equitably, as we have seen ... Read more »

Eastern Mediterranean Hydrocarbons Prospects: In Need of a Pragmatic Geopolitical Assessment

Posted by Harry Tzimitras on Friday, 8 March 2019

An evaluation of the Eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbons situation requires realism, thinking outside the box, taking nothing for granted, appreciating the sense of urgency and a pragmatic assessment of the international environment. The Eastern Mediterranean as a region in general and an energy region in particular is characterised by great volatility ... Read more »

What Will China Do About the Middle East?

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken on Friday, 23 November 2018

The Middle East is set to become the major test for China as a global power. The region is characterized by war, political tensions and economic stagnation. China is ramping up its role, not least with its Belt and Road Initiative. What do the Chinese think about the challenges in ... Read more »

Russia Underperforms at Pivoting

Posted by Pavel Baev on Friday, 2 September 2016

Vladivostok, which had an expensive facelift for the 2012 APEC summit, will this week host the Eastern Economic Forum, and President Vladimir Putin is due to preside over the proceedings. His goal is to reassert Russia’s commitment to playing a major role in Asia-Pacific geopolitics and to reinvigorate business ties ... Read more »

Somalia’s Hope for the Future? The Return of Young Diaspora Somalis

Posted by Cindy Horst on Monday, 30 November 2015

The Somali conflict has affected Somali citizens inside and outside the Somali region for over 25 years. While Somaliland and Puntland have enjoyed relative stability for more than two decades, conditions are much more fragile in south-central Somalia, and residents in many parts of the Somali region face considerable levels ... Read more »

Pakistan’s Crippling Energy Crisis and Increasing Remittances

Posted by Marta Bivand Erdal & Zain Ul Abdin on Thursday, 1 October 2015

Deadly heat exposes Pakistan’s power problems. This summer CNBC run a report titled Deadly heat exposes Pakistan’s power problems after more than a thousand people died during heatwaves during the first days of Ramadan. Insufficient preparedness for the heatwave is largely seen as the cause of deaths, yet the context ... Read more »

Back in Business? Diaspora Return to Somalia

Posted by Cindy Horst on Thursday, 18 June 2015

In most post-conflict contexts, returning diaspora members contribute to reconstruction efforts; including through investments in businesses. While many invest in traditional ventures, others introduce new ideas for entrepreneurship. In Somalia, diaspora businesses are visible and valued; especially for their development and peacebuilding potential. The conflict has affected Somali citizens inside ... Read more »

Business and Peace

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken & Harry Tzimitras on Wednesday, 14 May 2014

These days, the Business for Peace Symposium is happening in Oslo. Business leaders from all over the world are gathered to discuss how business can contribute to peace and hinder conflict. Some of the most distinguished guests have arrived from Cyprus, namely Manthos Mavrommatis, Honorary President of the Cyprus Chamber ... Read more »