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.


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Lujala, Päivi & Siri Aas Rustad (2016) Engines for Peace? Extractive Industries, Host Countries, and the International Community in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding , Natural Resources 7(2016).
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2014) A Tale of New Cities, Harvard International Review 36(1): 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 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

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 (2016) En beretning om fremtidens byer [On the Future of Cities], Ny Tid.
Miklian, Jason & Peer Schouten (2013) Fluid Markets, Foreign Policy.
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

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

Horst, Cindy (2015) Back in Business? Diaspora Return to Somalia, PRIO Policy Brief, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Leander, Anna (2012) Commercial Politics of Peace. Military Markets Recasting European Engagements in Afghanistan, PRIO Policy Brief, 8. Oslo: PRIO.
Leander, Anna (2012) Letting Others Lead. European Approaches to the Regulation of International Military Markets, PRIO Policy Brief, 7. Oslo: PRIO.
Leander, Anna (2012) Silent and Irresponsible. European Approaches to Commercial Military Services, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

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

Reichberg, Gregory M. (ed.) (2014) The Peace Potential of Hydrocarbon Reseources: 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

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 with this dynamic region. The provisional results of Russia’s “pivot” to the East, launched two and a half years ago against the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict, are nevertheless quite disappointing. Not only has the volume of trade shrunk by about a third in this time, but Moscow’s ability to ...

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 of insecurity still. In late 2012, however, the first permanent central government since the start of the civil war was installed in Mogadishu. This increased expectations that south-central Somalia is transitioning towards greater stability and created hope amongst the Somali diaspora. Since 2011-2012, the number of people returning to south-central ...

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 of the protracted electricity crisis in Pakistan is also widely connected with the scale of deaths and hospitalization during this summer’s heatwave. Pakistan’s energy crisis has worsened over the past few years, with increasing gaps between electricity supply and demand in the country. The crisis has been reported on in ...

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 and outside the Somali region for over 25 years. With the cautious optimism about developments in south-central Somalia in the last few years, however, we see the number of people returning to the region increasing considerably. Full daily flights into Mogadishu offered by Turkish Airlines attest to this. Returning for ...

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 of Commerce and Industry and Vargin Varer, Vice President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. The Cyprus issue is currently at its most critical conjuncture for at least a decade. It is indeed only the second time in 40 years that the prospects of a solution might actually be ...