Britta Holzberg

Contact image

PhD Student

Institute of Development Research and Development Policy
Ruhr-University Bochum
Universitätsstr. 105, Room 2.23 / 2.24 / 2.27 / 2.32
44789 Bochum

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-22278

Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

Download information as: vCard

Research Interests

  • Human Resource Management
  • Diversity Management
  • Decent Work and Labour Standards
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • MENA region: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia

PhD Thesis

Decent work and price competition in global production – the dilemma of mid-sized supplier firms (in Egypt)

Revelations of exploitive work conditions in supplier firms repeatedly spark the public and scientific debate on work conditions in global production networks. NGOs, politicians and consumers voice their demand for the improvement of work conditions in supplier firms. This increasingly obligates multinational companies to pay attention to the quality of work conditions when making procurement decisions. At the same time, price pressure remains fierce in global production. Labour costs determine the location of production facilities in labour-intensive industries. This, in turn, motivates a race to the bottom where buyers and suppliers lobby for less strict labour laws in order to become or remain competitive in globalised markets. Business and development literature dissecting this dilemma, generally, focuses on the perspective of international buyer firms and social actors/ pressure groups active in the field. Only little research discusses the perspective of the firms downstream in the supply chain who have to ensure international labour standards and decent work on the ground. What drives their decisions in regard to work conditions? How are their Human Resource Management (HRM) practices influenced by buyers’ and other stakeholders’ demands? The PhD project builds on literature from the realm of HRM, Supply Chain Management, Global Production Networks and Corporate Social Responsibility in Development and analyses with the help of qualitative interviews and a quantitative survey design the impact of (international) stakeholders’ demands on suppliers’ implementation of (decent) work practices in Egyptian labour-intensive export industries.

Prof. Dr. Uta Wilkens, Ruhr-University Bochum
Prof. Dr. Peter Knorringa, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague


since 2013:   Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (since 2013) and
International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands (since 2016) PhD candidate in International Development Studies
since 2013:   Freelance Consultant, Germany Project Focus: HR Management, Organisational Development, Public Sector (MENA region and Europe)
2010 - 2013:   Roland Berger Strategy Consultants GmbH, Germany Project focus:
Social-political initiatives, HR Management, Gender Diversity, Project and Change Management (EU and Germany)
2003 - 2009:   Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
Diplom in Business Administration
2007 - 2008:   London School of Economics and Political Sciences, United Kingdom
MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology


  • Human Resource Management
  • (Gender) Diversity Management
  • Organisational Development
  • Project and Change Management

Conferences and Workshops

  • ‘Labour Standards and Prize Competition in Global Production – the dilemma of mid-sized supplier firms in Egypt’ (poster), PhD Conference on International Development, Bochum (Germany), 24-25 September, 2015.
  • ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment and the New Global Development Agenda’, International Association for Feminist Economics Annual Conference, Accra (Ghana), 27-29 June, 2014.
  • ‘Lebensrealitäten von Frauen in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern‘, Tagung des Interdisziplinären Arbeitskreises Dritte Welt, Mainz (Germany), 17 January, 2014.

Teaching and Mentoring

  • Course: Qualitative Research Methods, MA in Development Management, 2015
  • Master supervision: Namuli, Proscovia (2015): Family Planning in Mukono District, Uganda – Knowledge, Perceptions and Determinants of Contraceptive Usage, MA in Development Management, 2015