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Foundations of Strategy - 5 ECTS - HYBRID

Date and time

Monday 22 January 2024 at 09:00 to Thursday 1 February 2024 at 16:00

Registration Deadline

Monday 15 January 2024 at 23:55


Hybrid - online / Kilen, room KL2.53 (second floor) , Kilevej 14A, 2000 Frederiksberg Hybrid - online / Kilen, room KL2.53 (second floor)
Kilevej 14A
2000 Frederiksberg

Foundations of Strategy - 5 ECTS - HYBRID

Course Coordinator: Francesco Di Lorenzo, Department of Strategy and Innovation, CBS


Professor Hans Christian Kongsted
Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI), CBS

Nicolai J. Foss
Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI), CBS

Professor Louise Mors 
Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI), CBS

Tenure Track Assistant Professor Julia Bodner
Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI), CBS

Assistant Professor Thomaz Teodorovicz 
Department of Strategy and Innovation SI), CBS

Professor with special responsibilities Kristina Dahlin
Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI), CBS


No prerequisite


The aim of this course is to offer an introduction to the theoretical foundation in the field of Strategy, as well as an overview of the primary topics in Strategy-related research. In addition, quantitative methods typical in Strategy research will be discussed.

Course content

The course provides an overview on the most relevant theoretical traditions and topics and as well as more recent empirical developments used in the research field of Strategic Management. The aim is to offer students: i) comprehensive understanding about the foundations, assumptions and implications of economic and organizational theoretical perspectives, ii) overview of the areas of research iii) introduction about empirical methodologies. Ideally, at the end of the course students are able to engage in theory-building activities, selecting and employing theoretical approaches more appropriately linked to the economic and organizational foundations of the field of Strategy. In addition, students are able to identify suitable empirical methods and approaches in line with those more familiarly used in Strategy, and specific to the primary topic of interest. The course aims to be a balanced combination of Organizational Theory and Topics in Strategy.

More specifically, these are 3 main areas developed during the course:

1.     Economic and Organizational Theories in Strategic Management

2.     Topics in Strategy Research

3.     Methodologies

The structure of the course is based on 2 main activities and related objectives:

  1. Lecture. In session, papers-based discussion supported/guided by lecturing.
  2. Reading. Preparation of the mandatory readings for each session to come.

The course includes 9 lecture-based sessions of 3 hours each. The sessions will be highly interactive, involving students in leading discussions on the assigned readings.

The course is based on a high level of student involvement. Students are expected to be thoroughly prepared and actively participate in the material's presentation and discussion. Given the high content-to-time ratio, teaching is based on lectures, illustrations, and discussions, and its success is also based on interactive student involvement.


To obtain the course certificates the participants are expected to show a high level of preparation and class participation. Minimum 80% attendance is required.

The delivery can be either of these options:

1.     A research proposal on a specific topic in Strategy covered during the course, highlighting the research gap/opportunity, arguing what would be an ideal theoretical foundation for such study and why, and describing the possible methodology and explaining the reasons of the choice.

2.     A reflection on current ongoing research (chapter of the thesis, working paper, thesis proposal section, etc…) revisited from either a theoretical perspective or from a methodological perspective. It is not relevant, in this case, that the topic of discussion falls into the primary topics discussed during the course.

Format: max 5 pages (all included), 1-inch margin all around, Times New Roman, 12 pt, 1.5 interline space.


This course is offered in a hybrid format. Students can participate in all sessions either in person on campus or online. Please indicate in your registration whether you attend on campus, online or a mix of both. 

Session #







Theories in Strategy

Economic and Organizational Theories

Nicolai Foss

22nd Jan



Theories in Strategy

Economic and Organizational Theories

Nicolai Foss

23rd Jan



Theories in Strategy

Economic and Organizational Theories

Nicolai Foss

24th Jan



Topics in Strategy

Strategic Human Capital

Thomaz Teodorovicz

25th Jan



Topics in Strategy

Innovation Strategy

Kristina Dahlin

26th Jan



Topics in Strategy

Corporate Strategy

Julia Bodner

29th Jan



Topics in Strategy

Networks and Social Structure

Louise Mors

30th Jan



Methods in Strategy

Quantitative Methods I

HC Kongsted

31st Jan



Methods in Strategy

Quantitative Methods II

HC Kongsted

1st Feb



Sessions Description and Literature

Session 1-3 Economic and Organizational Theories

In the three introductory sessions, each containing two modules, we will learn about important theories frequently applied in the Strategic Management domain, namely agency theory, transaction cost economics, resource based view, behavioral theory of the firm, knowledge based view, and resource dependency theory. The sessions will be highly interactive, discussion-oriented. For example, we will discuss the foundational readings of each theory (marked with a * in the reading list) and students will be assigned to act as “experts” for certain theories. Specifically, for each session there will be one or more students who will assume the role of “expert(s).” Experts are supposed to read everything for the relevant session, i.e., also the “optional readings” and the “applications.” We will also debate important phenomena in strategy by taking alternative theoretical perspectives on them. Eventually, all this should help and familiarize students when working with alternative theories on their Ph.D. topic. 

Legend to read the papers below:

* Mandatory readings

+ Optional readings (for all except the session expert(s)).

^ Applications

Session 1: Foundations of the Theory of the Firm


·       * Coase, R.H. 1937. The nature of the firm, Economica 4: 386–405.

·       * Penrose, E.T. 1955. Limits to the growth and size of firms. American Economic Review, 45: 531-543.

·       * March, J.G. 1962. The business firm as a political coalition. Journal of Politics, 24: 663-678

·       + Foss, N.J.  and P. G. Klein. 2008. “Organizational Governance.” In Raphael Wittek, Tom Snijders, and Victor Nee, eds., The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Downloadable in working paper format from

Session 1: Agency Theory


·       *Alchian, A., and Demsetz, H. 1972. Production, Information Costs, and Economic Organization. American Economic Review, 62: 777–95.

  • * Jensen, M. C., and Meckling, W. H. 1976. Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure. Journal of Financial Economics, 3(4), 305-360.
  • + Gibbons, R. & John Roberts. 2013. Economic Theories of Incentives in Organizations. . In Robert Gibbons and John Roberts, eds. 2013. The Handbook of Organizational Economics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • ^ Foss, N.J. and K. Laursen. 2005. “Performance pay, delegation and multitasking under uncertainty and innovativeness: An empirical investigation,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 58: 246-276.

·       ^ Pepper, A. & Gore, J. 2015. Behavioral Agency Theory: New Foundations for Theorizing About Executive Compensation. Journal of Management, 41: 1045-1068.

Session 2: Transaction Cost Economics


·      * Williamson, O. E. 1991. Comparative economic organization: The analysis of discrete structural alternatives. Administrative science quarterly, 269-296.

·      * Cuypers, I. R., Hennart, J. F., Silverman, B. S., & Ertug, G. 2021. Transaction cost theory: Past progress, current challenges, and suggestions for the future. Academy of Management Annals, 15(1), 111-150.

·      + Macher, JT.. & Richman, B.D. 2008. Transaction cost economics: An assessment of empirical research in the social sciences. Business and Politics, 10: 1-63.

·      ^ Nickerson, J. & Zenger, T. 2004. A knowledge-based theory of the firm: The problem-solving perspective. Organization Science, 15: 617-632.

Session 2: The Behavioral Theory of the Firm

●      * Cyert, R. M. and March, J. G. 1992.  A Summary of the Basic Concepts in the Behavioral Theory  of the Firm, Chapter 7; In Cyert, R. M. & March, J. G. A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, 2nd edn, Oxford: Blackwell, 1992, 161-176.*

●      * Gavetti, G., Greve, H. R., Levinthal, D. A., and Ocasio, W. (2012). The behavioral theory of the firm: Assessment and prospects. Academy of Management Annals, 6(1), 1-40.

●      + Simon, H. A. 1979. Rational Decision-Making in Business Organizations, American Economic  Review, 69(4): 493-513.

●      + Argote, L., and Greve, H. R. 2007. A behavioral theory of the firm—40 years and counting: Introduction and impact. Organization science, 18(3), 337-349.

●      ^ Greve, H. 1998. Performance, Aspirations, and Risky Organizational Change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 43: 58-86.

Session 3: Resource-based and Attention-based Theories of the Firm

●      * Peteraf, M. 1993. The cornerstones of competitive advantage: A resource-based view. Strategic Management Journal, 14: 179-191.

●      * Barney, J. B. 1991. Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17: 99-120

●      Ocasio, W. 1997. Towards an Attention-based View of the Firm. Strategic Management Journal, 18: 187-206.

●      + Peteraf, M. and Barney, J.B. 2003. Unraveling the resource-based tangle. Managerial and Decision Economics, 24: 309-324.

●      ^ Krakowski, S., Luger, J., and Raisch, S. (2022). Artificial intelligence and the changing sources of competitive advantage. Strategic Management Journal (in-press).

Session 3: Knowledge-based and Resource-dependency Theories of the Firm

●      * Grant, R.M. 1996. Toward a knowledge-based theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal 17: 109-122.

●      ^ Haas, M.R. and Hansen, M.T. 2005. When using knowledge can hurt performance: The value of organizational capabilities in a management consulting company. Strategic Management Journal, 26: 1-24.

●      * Hillman, A. J., Withers, M. C., & Collins, B. J. (2009). Resource dependence theory: A review. Journal of management, 35(6), 1404-1427.

●      ^ Casciaro, T., & Piskorski, M. J. (2005). Power imbalance, mutual dependence, and constraint absorption: A closer look at resource dependence theory. Administrative science quarterly, 50(2), 167-199

Session 4 Corporate Strategy

This session of the Ph.D. Foundations of Strategy course summarizes major streams of research on Corporate Strategy that answer the question, “How do managers set and oversee the scope of firms?” and relates to phenomena like acquisitions, alliances, or divestments.

Together, our goal in the seminar is for students to gain an overview of these phenomena and related theoretical lenses, foundations, and existing and ongoing work to foster a possible discussion around gaps and potential future developments in this work. To achieve this, we give special attention to seminal work and articles that summarize the development of the work on corporate strategy. We also rely heavily on students reading assigned materials and thinking critically about linkages of the discussed topics with literature and readings from other sessions.

Mandatory readings

●      Chandler, Alfred D., “Introduction-Strategy and Structure,” in Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1962), pages 1-19.

●      Penrose, Edith E., “‘Inherited’ Resources and the Direction of Expansion,” in The Theory of the Growth of the Firm(Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 1959), pages 58-75.

●      Rumelt, Richard P., “Diversification strategy and profitability,” Strategic Management Journal, 3 (1982), 359–369.

●      Feldman, Emilie R., “Corporate Strategy: Past, Present, and Future,” Strategic Management Review, 1 (2020), 179–206.

●      Helfat, Constance E., and Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., “Inter-temporal economies of scope, organizational modularity, and the dynamics of diversification,” Strategic Management Journal, 25 (2004), 1217–1232.

●      Skim: Karim, Samina, and Capron, Laurence, “Reconfiguration: Adding, redeploying, recombining and divesting resources and business units,” Strategic Management Journal, 37 (2016), E54–E62.

Additional readings

●      Dyer, Jeffrey H, and Singh, Harbir, “The relational view: Cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage,” Academy of Management Review, 23 (1998), 660–679.

●      Levinthal, Daniel A., and Wu, Brian, “Opportunity costs and non-scale free capabilities: Profit maximization, corporate scope, and profit margins,” Strategic Management Journal, 31 (2010), 780–801.

●      Villalonga, Belén, “Diversification discount or premium? New evidence from the business information tracking series,” Journal of Finance, 59 (2004), 479–506.

●      Zuckerman, Ezra W., “Focusing the corporate product: Securities analysts and de-diversification,” Administrative Science Quarterly, 45 (2000), 591–619.

How do I get started? “Primers” on Corporate Strategy phenomena

●      Bodner, Julia, and Capron, Laurence, “Post-Merger Integration,” Journal of Organization Design, 7 (2018), 1–20.

●      Feldman, Emilie R, and McGrath, Patia J, “Divestitures,” Journal of Organization Design, 5 (2016).

●      Folta, Timothy B., Helfat, Constance E., and Karim, Samina, “Examining resource redeployment in multi-business firms,” Advances in Strategic Management, 35 (2016), 1–17.

Recent examples

●      Feldman, Emilie R., Gartenberg, Claudine, and Wulf, Julie, “Pay inequality and corporate divestitures,” Strategic Management Journal, (2018), 2829–2858.

●      Feldman, Emilie R., and Sakhartov, Arkadiy V., “Resource redeployment and divestiture as strategic alternatives,” Organization Science, 33 (2022), 1–20.

●       Kaul, Aseem, and Wu, Brian, “A capabilities-based perspective on target selection in acquisitions,” Strategic Management Journal, 37 (2016), 1220–1239.

●       Kim, J. Daniel, “Startup acquisitions, relocation, and employee entrepreneurship,” Strategic Management Journal, (2022), 2189–2216.

●      Vidal, Elena, and Mitchell, Will, “Virtuous or vicious cycles? The role of divestitures as a complementary Penrose effect within resource-based theory,” Strategic Management Journal, 39 (2017), 131–154.

●      Tandon, Vivek, Asgari, Navid, and Ranganathan, Ram, “Divestment of relational assets following acquisitions: Evidence from the biopharmaceutical industry,” Strategic Management Journal, (2022), 1–40.

Session 5 Innovation Strategy

Innovation and technical strategy are topics covered by many academic disciplines and levels of analysis. One stream of research started off in the R&D labs of the 1950s and 60s studied engineers and information flows, while a second stream is based on Schumpeter’s 1930 (in English 1942) creative destruction concept that describes how technological change nullifies competitive advantages of established firms, was picked up by management in the 1960s and has become a central theory in strategy and has bifurcated into different streams.

Mandatory readings

(in order of reading – please not that 1 is very short and for 3 mainly look at the tables)

●      Schumpeter, J. A. (1942). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. London: Routledge. Pp.82-83. ISBN 978-0-415-10762-4.

●      Anderson, P. and M. L. Tushman. (1990). Technological discontinuities and dominant designs: A cyclical model of technological change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 604-633.

●      Dahlin, Kristina and Dean Behrens. (2005) “When is an invention really radical? Defining and measuring technological radicalness.” Research Policy, 34: 717-737. //Focus on the tables//

●      Cohen, Wesley, and Daniel Levinthal. (1990). "Absorptive capacity: A new Perspective on learning and innovation." Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 128-152

●      Teece, David J. (1986). Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration. Licensing and public policy. Research Policy, 15: 285-305

●      Raffaelli, R. (2019). Technology Reemergence: Creating New Value for Old Technologies in Swiss Mechanical Watchmaking, 1970–2008. Administrative Science Quarterly, 64(3), 576–618.

●      Eggers, J. P. (2012). Falling Flat: Failed Technologies and Investment under Uncertainty. Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(1), 47–80.

Optional readings

●      Arrow, K. J. (1962). Economic welfare and the allocation of resources for invention. In R. Nelson (Ed.), The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity (pp. 609–625). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

●      Allen, T. J. and S. I. Cohen. (1969). Information flow in research and development laboratories. Administrative Science Quarterly, 14, 12-19.

●      Cristensen, C. and R. Rosenbloom. (1995). Explaining the attacker's advantage: technological paradigms, organizational dynamics, and the value network. Research Policy, 24: 233-257.

●      Dosi, Giovanni. (1982). "Technological Paradigms and Technological Trajectories: A Suggested Interpretation of the Determinants and Direction of Technical Change. "Research Policy, 11:147-162.

●      Furr, N. R., & Snow, D. C. (2015). Intergenerational Hybrids: Spillbacks, Spillforwards, and Adapting to Technology Discontinuities. Organization Science (Providence, R.I.), 26(2), 475–493.

●      Kaplan, S. and Vakili, K. (2015), The double-edged sword of recombination in breakthrough innovation. Strat. Mgmt. J., 36: 1435-1457.

●      Mansfield, E. (1985). How rapidly does new industrial technology leak out? The Journal of Industrial Economics, 34(December), 217-223.

●      Nelson, R. and S. Winter. (1982). An evolutionary theory of economic change. Cambridge, MA, Belknap.

●      Rindova, V. P., & Petkova, A. P. (2007). When Is a New Thing a Good Thing? Technological Change, Product Form Design, and Perceptions of Value for Product Innovations. Organization Science (Providence, R.I.), 18(2), 217–232.

●      Stuart, Toby E., and Joel M. Podolny. 1995. “Local search and the evolution of technological

●      capabilities. ”Strategic Management Journal (Special Issue), 17: 21-38.

●      Utterback, J. M., and W. J. Abernathy. (1975). A dynamic model of process and product innovation. Omega, 3(6).

Session 6 Strategic Human Capital

In this session we will learn and discuss the study of human capital – i.e., the knowledge and skills of individuals that provide work for an organization – as a strategic resource for an organization. Specifically, we will follow the evolution of how strategy scholars conceptualize human capital as a source of competitive advantage to organizations.

Mandatory (in order of expected reading)

●      Coff, R. W. 1997. Human Assets and Management Dilemmas: coping with hazards on the road to resource-based theory. Academy of Management Review, 22(2): 374–402.

●      Coff, R. W., & Kryscynski, D. 2011. Drilling for Micro-Foundations of Human Capital-Based Competitive Advantages. Journal of Management, 37(5): 1429–1443.

●      Campbell, B. A., Coff, R. W., & Kryscynski, D. 2012. Rethinking Sustained Competitive Advantage from Human Capital. Academy of Management Review, 37(3): 376–395.

●      Starr, E., Ganco, M., & Campbell, B. A. (2018). Strategic human capital management in the context of cross‐industry and within‐industry mobility frictions. Strategic Management Journal, 39(8), 2226-2254.

●      Kryscynski, D., Coff, R., & Campbell, B. 2021. Charting a path between firm‐specific incentives and human capital‐based competitive advantage. Strategic Management Journal, 42(2): 386–412.


●      Kryscynski, D. 2020. Firm-Specific Worker Incentives, Employee Retention, and Wage–Tenure Slopes. Organization Science, (October): 1–24.

●      Morris, S. S., Alvaraz, S. A., Barney, J. B., & Molloy, J. C. 2016. Firm-Specific Human Capital Investments as a Signal of General Value: revisiting assumptions about human capital and how it is managed. Strategic Management Journal.

●      Nyberg, A., Moliterno, T., Chadwick, C., & Coff, R. W. 2019. Commentary on “Rents from human capital complementarities: a relational view of value creation and value capture.” Handbook of Research on Strategic Human Capital Resources, 68–75.

●      Ployhart, R. E., & Moliterno, T. P. 2011. Emergence of the human capital resource: A multilevel model. Academy of Management Review, 36(1): 127–150.

●      Teodorovicz, T,; Lazzarini, S., Cabral,S., McGahan,A. (2022).  Investing in general human capital as a relational strategy: evidence from arrangements with contract workers, working paper

●      Wang, H. C., He, J., & Mahoney, J. T. 2009. Firm-Specific Knowledge Resources and Competitive Advantage: the roles of economic and relationship-based employee governance mechanisms. Strategic Management Journal, 30: 1265–1285.

Session 7 Networks and Social Structure

This session will cover the readings that lay the foundations for a network perspective on strategy. The foundations of network theory as used as a lens to study organizations comes from sociology. We will discuss the theory and fundamental concepts and measures utilized in this perspective. Finally, we will talk about potential applications to the field of strategic management. This list of optional readings is long in order to add to your library of readings.

Required readings:

●      Nohria, N. 1994. Is a network perspective a useful way of studying organizations. In Networks and Organizations: Structure, Form, and Action by Nohria, N, Eccles, R.G. (eds). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. 

●      Burt, R. 1994. The social structure of competition.  In Networks and Organizations: Structure, Form, and Action by Nohria, N, Eccles, R.G. (eds). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

●      Granovetter, M.  1985. Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91(3): 481-510.

●      Nahapiet, J., Ghoshal, S. 1998. Social capital, intellectual capital and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review.

●      Podolny, J. M. 2001. Networks as the pipes and prisms of the market. American Journal of Sociology, 107(1): 33-60.

●      Gulati, R., Gargiulo, M. 1999. Where do interorganizational networks come from? American Journal of Sociology, 104(5): 1439-93. 

Optional readings:

●      Ahuja G. 2000  . Collaboration networks, structural holes, and innovation: A longitudinal study. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45: 425-455.

●      Feld S. 1981. The focused organization of social ties. American Journal of Sociology, 86: 1015-1035.

●      Gould R, Fernandez R. 1989. Structures of mediation: A formal approach to brokerage in transaction networks. Sociological Methodology, 19: 89-126.

●      Granovetter M. 1973. The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78: 1360-1380.

●      Gulati, R. 1999. Network location and learning: The influence of network resources and firm capabilities on alliance formation. Strategic Management Journal, 20: 397-420.

●      Hansen M. 1999. The search-transfer problem: The role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organization subunits. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44: 82-111.

●      Ibarra H. 1993. Network centrality, power, and innovation involvement: Determinants of technical and administrative roles. Academy of Management Review, 36: 471-501.

●      Marsden P. 1990. Network data and measurement. Annual Review of Sociology, 16: 435-463.

●      Marsden P, Campbell K. 1984. Measuring tie strength. Social Forces, 63: 482-501.

●      Rogan, M., Mors, M.L. 2014. A network perspective on individual-level ambidexterity in organizations. Organization Science, 25(6): 1860-1877.

●      Uzzi B. 1997. Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: The paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42: 35-67.

Sessions 8 and 9 Quantitative Methods

The session “Methods in Strategy: Quantitative” will help students to be able to identify suitable econometrics approaches and data sources in line with those commonly used in Strategy. It will also highlight some of the challenges and potential pitfalls that are commonly encountered.

Compulsory Readings:

●      RA Bettis (2012). The search for asterisks: Compromised statistical tests and flawed theories, Strategic Management Journal, 33 (1), 108-113.

●      R Bettis, A Gambardella, C Helfat, W Mitchell (2014). Quantitative empirical analysis in strategic management, Strategic Management Journal, 35 (7), 949-953.

●      P Criscuolo, O Alexy, D Sharapov, A Salter (2019). Lifting the veil: Using a quasi‐replication approach to assess sample selection bias in patent‐based studies, Strategic Management Journal, 40 (2), 230-252.


Registration deadline and conditions

The registration deadline is 19 december 2023. If you want to cancel your registration on the course it should be done prior to this mentioned date. By this date we determine whether we have enough registrations to run the course, or who should be offered a seat if we have received too many registrations.

If there are more seats available on the course we leave the registration open by setting a new regsitration deadline in order to fill remaining seats. Once you have received our acceptance/welcome letter to join the course, your registration is binding and we do not refund your course fee. The binding registration date will be the registration deadline mentioned above.

Payment methods
Make sure you choose the correct method of payment upon finalizing your registration:
CBS students:
Choose payment method CBS PhD students and the course fee will be deducted from your PhD course budget.
Students from other Danish universities: 
Choose payment method Danish Electronic Invoice (EAN). Fill in your EAN number, attention and possible purchase (project) order number.
Do you not pay by EAN number please choose Invoice to pay via electronic bank payment (+71). 
Students from foreign universities:
Choose payment method Payment Card. Are you not able to pay by credit card please choose Invoice International to pay via bank transfer. 

Event Location

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Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475

Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475