Mohammad Bakhtiar Rana

Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy, PhD in International Management and Strategy, Member of the Study Board, Aalborg University Business School, Research Fellow, Sustainability Research Lab, AAUBS

  • Fibigerstræde 11, 23b

    9220 Aalborg Ø



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Personal profile

Research profile

I am an Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy at Aalborg University Business School, Denmark. 

My research focuses on diverse areas in international management and strategies with special emphasis on sustainable international strategic management, new technology-enabled value creation, and the institutional impacts on firm capabilities and sustainability-driven business modelling strategies such as Circular Economy.

In the past, I have studied how European multinational enterprises develop and co-develop strategies and capabilities to earn synergy (acceptance and efficiency) in national business systems. It was the first study of its kind on Bangladeshi institutions and firms (national and multinationals) to explain how multinational subsidiaries legitimize their behaviour in Bangladeshi business systems, and what role national institutions, civil society actors, and transnational communities play in the process of firms’ internationalization, legitimation, and sustainability.

The following three themes can well describe my research areas: 1) Multinational Corporations’ strategies in relation to internationalization, capabilities, legitimation, and sustainable management in emerging markets. 2) Business modelling including sustainability-driven business modelling and its impact on and relationship with global value chain, climate change, and circular economy transition. 3) Firm's technology adoption and digital strategies (Artificial intelligence, 3D, & Modular Innovation) for value creation and sustainable adaptation.

Despite multiple areas on which my studies focus, the core concentration of my research is on the cross-border management and multinationals strategies using institutionalism and business systems perspectives. I aim to understand the strategic choices, antecedents, and mechanisms affecting sustainable international strategic management. 

In relation to research and consulting, I have worked on and investigated a number of large multinational corporations such as Novo Nordisk, Arla, Glaxo Smith Clyne (GSK), Nestle, Telenor (Grameenphone), Tesla, iRobot Romba, and have been currently working on H&M, Bestseller, Oticon & Kube Data. In addition, I have also studied Bangladeshi multinational corporations such as Walton Electronics, DBL Apparel Company, Micro Fibre Apparel Group, GMS Apparel Group, ABA Apparel Group, and Interstoff Apparel Limited etc.

I have just completed a project on ‘Artificial Intelligence, Value creation and Adaptation in International Context’ which I led in collaboration with the Department of Media Technology, AAU, funded by Aalborg University Business School (AAUBS).

Recently, I have received a grant of 12 million DKK to study the circular economy transition in Bangladesh's apparel industry. This is the first project on circular economy study in apparel industry funded by Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will commence in October 2022 and will continue till 2027.

However, my other on-going projects are: ‘Climate Change and Global Value Chains in Textile and Garments industry in Bangladesh’ (11.7 Million DKK) in which I work as a principal researcher and the lead from AAUBS, which is a consortium project with Copenhagen Business School, Roskilde University, DK, and BRAC University, Bangladesh; and ‘The Practical Tools for Sustainable Business Model Innovation for SMEs in Denmark and Sweden’ (3 million DKK funded by EU) in which I am a principal investigator and the steering committee member for the project.

At present, my current projects and research heavily focus on understanding the dynamics of Apparel industry transition aiming to explore firms' transition to circular business model, capability reconfiguration in GVC, technology adoption, and the impact of institutions on green industrialisation in the context of circular economy adoption.

I am a member of the Dean’s Signature Project Committee on Sustainability-driven Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, and a core committee member of Aalborg University’s central initiative to Climate Change Mitigation by 2045.

I have co-edited a book titled 'Upgrading the Global Garment Industry', published by Edward Elgar, UK, which is the first book of its kind to focus on Global Garments Industry from the perspective of three under-focused areas - internationalisation, capabilities, and sustainability. I have brought the garments industry into the forefront of research in international business and strategy, which has been ignored for long, but which has affected the international business of many emerging economies and influenced the history of international business of many western countries in 17th and 18th century in the colonial era.

I primarily use qualitative method including case studies, qualitative data analysis techniques, comparative case analysis and storytelling science. However, I am interested to work with panel data and quantitative techniques.

I have published in leading academic journals such as Global Strategy Journal, Technovation, International Business Review, Journal of International Management, and so forth.

I personally enjoy travelling, reading books, watching movies. I am a black belt holder and I love training karate.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

International Management and Strategy, PhD

… → 2014

Award Date: 1 Jun 2014

Specialization in International Marketing, MSc-IB, University of Groningen

… → 2005

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005

International Business , MSc, University of Stirling

… → 2004

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005

Marketing, MBA, The University of Rajshahi


Award Date: 31 Dec 1996

Marketing, BBS (Honours), The University of Rajshahi


Award Date: 31 Dec 1994


  • Business Economics and Trade
  • International Business
  • Strategy and management
  • Global value chains
  • Internationalization
  • Civil society- Transnational Communities
  • Business Models
  • Discourse and Society
  • Sentiments
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Legitimation
  • Institutional theory
  • comparative capitalism
  • Circular Economy
  • Innovation
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Management and Organization
  • Entrepreneurship
  • National Business Systems
  • Business Models
  • sustainable strategic management
  • Capabilities
  • value creation
  • governance
  • capability development
  • competitive advantage
  • Sustainability-driven business modelling strategies
  • multinational corporations
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Qualitative case studies
  • storytelling


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