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PhD Scholarship in Entrepreneurship and Social Support Online

A three-year PhD Scholarship in entrepreneurship is vacant at the Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management in Kolding from 1 October 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The PhD Scholarship is part of the larger project "Support exchange: The effect on entrepreneurs’ performance in an uncontrollable online world" funded by the Carlsberg Foundation (see here for more details). In the project, you will be part of a research group with a primary focus on entrepreneurs and their social networks.

The purpose of the project is to examine how online social support influences cognition and mental well-being of individual entrepreneurs. We know that social support to entrepreneurs from their networks has important influences on entrepreneurial behavior, mental well-being and performance (e.g. Treffers et al. 2018) – but the phenomenon has mostly been studied in an offline world with no special attention given to the influence of online social support. Social support is defined as the resources people obtain from social interactions and is often divided into an instrumental and emotional dimension (Kim et al., 2013). However, as interactions are becoming more online, we lack understanding of how social support unfolds, functions and impacts entrepreneurs on online social media platforms (Olanrewaju et al, 2020). Online presence increases stress levels as entrepreneurs are exposed to new types of (negative) social support and therefore new challenges are experienced – with potential consequences for mental well-being (Stephan, 2018), cognition and performance.

The suggested data collection method is experience sampling methodology (ESM) to capture the dynamic processes (Uy et al., 2010) of social interactions online. This could also be supplemented with in-depth interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the volatile and fluctuating nature of online social support and how it influences entrepreneurs’ cognition and well-being daily. In the research proposal to be submitted with the application, you are encouraged to present ideas on how to execute the above research design, but also to suggest additional ways of capturing social support dynamics online, e.g. through experiments.

The project requires a good understanding of quantitative methods, good communication skills both oral and in writing, and an analytical mind-set. Potential candidates are therefor expected to have a relevant MSc degree within one of following: entrepreneurship, psychology, sociology, political science or alike with a passion for translating your knowledge into the field of entrepreneurship and social networks.

The PhD programme includes an individual education programme with coursework equivalent to 6 months. PhD research includes a 3-6 months’ stay at a research institute abroad and, over the period of the programme, you will acquire experience of teaching or dissemination activities. You are expected to participate in general research activities at the department.

For more detailed information about the position and the project, please do not hesitate to contact Associate Professor Mette Søgaard Nielsen at or visit the homepage of the department at

Application, salary, etc.

Apply for the PhD scholarship here.

If you are a non-Danish speaking applicant, please make sure to enter the English version of the webpage in order to receive information in English when applying.

Your employment as a Salaried PhD Research Fellow is governed by the agreement of 10 November 2015 on Graduate Employees in government appendix 5 – protocol on PhD Research Fellows. The scholarship runs for three years.

An application must include:

  • Detailed CV, including personal contact information
  • A certified copy of your master’s degree certificate including all examination results
  • A research proposal/description of your approach to the above project (max three pages excluding references)
  • A letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. two pages) (please combine the letter together with the application form and attach this under the box "Application form")
When applying for a PhD scholarship, please fill in the application form available on our
web page. On the webpage of the PhD-school, you can find the guidelines for preparing your project proposal within the PhD programme in Business Administration. 

All non-Danish documents must be translated into English.

Applications will be assessed by a committee. When the evaluation committee has submitted its report, the applicant will receive the part of the evaluation that concerns him/her.

Applications that are incomplete with regard to the above requirements will not be assessed by the committee.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

As part of the overall assessment of the applicant’s qualifications, an interview may be applied.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply online". Uploaded files must be in Adobe PDF (unlocked) or Word format.

Read the guideline for applicants

Each field can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb.


Kim, P. H., Longest, K. C., & Aldrich, H. E. (2013). Can you lend me a hand? Task-role alignment of social support for aspiring business owners. Work and occupations, 40(3), 213-249.

Olanrewaju, A. S. T., Hossain, M. A., Whiteside, N., & Mercieca, P. (2020). Social media and entrepreneurship research: A literature review. International Journal of Information Management, 50, 90-110.

Stephan, U. (2018). Entrepreneurs’ mental health and well-being: A review and research agenda. Academy of Management Perspectives, 32(3), 290-322.

Treffers, T., Klyver, K., Nielsen, M. S., & Uy, M. A. (2019). Feel the commitment: From situational emotional information to venture goal commitment. International Small Business Journal, 37(3), 215-240.

Uy, M. A., Foo, M. D., & Aguinis, H. (2010). Using experience sampling methodology to advance entrepreneurship theory and research. Organizational Research Methods, 13(1), 31-54.

Redaktionen afsluttet: 03.05.2021