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Management & Organisation Research

The research portfolio of the Management & Organisation Section can be schematically separated into five themes, at times overlapping and yet distinct.

The research endorses multiplicity in terms of disciplinary perspectives as well as research methods, but there is a slight bias towards qualitative and ethnography inspired research methods. In terms of perspectives, Management & Organisation Section scholars works with a variety of theoretical frameworks including institutional theory, actor-network theory, innovation management and internationalization processes.

The Management & Organisation Section is affiliated with Centre for Global HRM, Centre for Business in Society, Centre for International Business Studies, Centre for Regional Analysis and the Business & Design Lab.

Managing sustainability

Business and Society scholarship addresses a wide variety of challenges facing today’s globalized industries and firms including sustainability issues, questions pertaining to the integration of a diverse workforce, the role of unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the ability to live up to internal regulations and legal framework today imposed on companies and collaboration between private and public organizations.

Our research in this field is primarily concerned with how firms develop sustainable strategies, i.e. the transformation towards economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Examples of projects:

Changes in the governance of Garment Global Production Networks: Lead Firm, Supplier and Institutional Responses to the Rana Plaza Disaster.

The April 2013 Rana Plaza building disaster in Bangladesh was a focusing event triggering major international and national policy initiatives aimed at improving labour and environmental standards in global garment production.

The project analyses changes in lead firm policies and practices relating to these standards across four countries - two liberal market economies (Australia and the UK) and two co-ordinated market economies (Germany and Sweden). It complements this analysis with an examination of changes in actual labour and environmental standards in Bangladeshi factories that supply garments to these lead firms. The assessment of the local situation in Bangladesh includes factory managers' and workers perceptions of changes in standards since the Rana Plaza disaster in the context of current institutional reforms.

A unique multi-level, multi-actor design should allow important policy implications to be drawn for improving supply chain governance structures and labour and environmental standards in Bangladesh and more widely.

The project is conducted in cooperation with researchers from Freie Universität Berlin, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of New South Wales in Australia and BRAC University in Dhaka/Bangladesh.

Participating researcher: Niklas Egels-Zandén

Organising labour market integration of immigrants – theory and practice

The starting point of this multi-disciplinary research programme is the vertiginous growth in international migration and the recent “refugee crisis” in Europe, as well as the ever-present questions of social and economic integration of recent refugees and other immigrants. The programme aims to examine the challenges and opportunities created by novel initiatives that aim to support labour market integration of refugees and other immigrants who have been granted residency in Sweden – including the problems of coordination and organisation between the plethora of initiatives. Focusing on both top-down and bottom-up initiatives, the programme will investigate the following issues:

• What ideas of integration give rise to and are promoted by the contemporary integration initiatives?
• How is the labour market integration of refugees and other immigrants organised in practice? That is, what organisations, groups and individuals are being enrolled in integration activities, and how do they react to these integration initiatives? What do they do?
• What are the effects of these integration initiatives - on foreign-born persons' lives, and on their labour market integration in terms of diversity, gender and power relations?

The programme is a multidisciplinary research program hosted by Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI), School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg. More about the programme

Participating researchers
Maria-José Zapata-Campos & Vedran Omanović
Funder: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare (Forte), 2017-2019.

Human Resource Management

HRM scholarship examines how both investment in human capital and human resources create long-term competitiveness of a firm or an industry and create qualify of work life benefit. HRM is a long-standing research tradition in business administration rooted in the human relations movement developed at Harvard Universities in the 1930s and today demonstrate a great deal of variety.

Our research in this field is primarily concerned with how human resource management is transformed in times of change.

Example of projects:

Establishment of young and foreign-born in the retail industry

One of the Swedish society's biggest challenges are youth unemployment and how foreign-born can get a good foothold in the labour market. The project's overall objective is to contribute to increased knowledge and understanding of retailers' role as industry helping young and foreign-born to enter into the Swedish labour market. Within the project the researchers will:
1. Identify, describe and analyze patterns of employment in the retail sector using available labour and industry statistics.
2. Describe and analyze initiatives and measures which aim to facilitate or support the establishment of young people and foreign-born in retail.
3. Document and disseminate experiences from initiatives and measures in the retail sector that contributes to that young and foreign-born enter into the labour market.

Participating researchers:
Ola Bergström and Vedran Omanovic
Funder: The Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council, Handelsrådet 2015-2017

Organizational capability for delayed retirement – an intervention study

Demographic changes with an increasing proportion of older people has led to a need for an extended working life and delayed retirement. The aim of this project is to study the conditions and practices in workplaces that inhibit and promote the retention of employees beyond the previous norm for age of retirement. The aim is also to test and implement the knowledge of the necessary organizational changes. Previously such organizational activities have been called "age management", which for example may involve adapting the work environment, management, job content, or modification of norms on ageing and retirement in the workplace. The study includes a survey and two in-depth case studies as well as a process intervention that will be conducted in collaboration between researchers and practitioners. The study is part of the new AgeCap center for collaboration between different disciplines.

Participating researchers: Ewa Wikström and Rebecka Arman
Funder: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare, Forte 2015-

Managing new technologies

Managing new technologies has always been a central part of management and organizational scholarship. Studies in this field is concerned with the how organizations develop and adopt new technologies, the impact of technologies on various organizational processes and how organizational actors use technologies.

Our research in this field is primarily concerned with how new technologies create new opportunities and challenges in the everyday life of organizations and the blurred boundaries between human and non-human actors.

Example of projects:

Organizing complex practices

The current organization of health care is challenged by the development of new technologies and new methods. Among the driving forces behind these changes there are strong expectations of improved treatment methods and effective use of resources, but for these expectations to be realized it requires not just better adapted facilities and new technologies, it also requires new ways of organizing work. One example of such a development is Hybrid Operating Rooms. The hybrid concept implies that multiple methods for diagnosis and treatment are combined for the benefit for high-risk patients suffering from complex problems. The aim of the study is to examine how work is organized in a Hybrid Room and thus improving our knowledge of how materiality matters in the organizing of complex practices. That is, how new practices are constructed in the meeting between past experiences, established professional identities, new technologies and new physical conditions.

Participating researchers: Kajsa Lindberg, Lars Walter, Elena Raviola
Funder: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare, Forte 2015-2017

Implementing building-integrated solar electricity: obstacles and opportunities in practice

The project aims at studying management and organizing processes in the implementation of solar arrays on real estate, as well as to analyse potential obstacles and opportunities (organizational, technical, legal and natural) and how they are dealt with in practice. Qualitative case-study methods will be used to map the involved actors, activities, actions, resources and the situational dependencies in order to carry out comparative analyses of what is done in the implementation work and why. The focus is on studying praxis, that is patterns of actions, and how it is influenced by material and institutional contexts.

Participating researcher: Fredrik Lavén
Funder: The Swedish Energy Agency, 2017-2019

Managing Multinationals

One of the most important areas of interest within the research field of International Business is concerned with understanding the ways multinational corporations (MNCs) operate in the age of globalization.

Often the focus is on the relationship between the headquarters and the subsidiaries – e.g. the control mechanisms used – and how this relationship differs due to the global structure chosen and strategy applied. Empirically, recent focus in the field has been on understanding MNCs from emerging markets, the increasingly important role played by subsidiaries in the MNCs’ global networks – e.g. due to offshoring of R&D activities – as well as the development of subsidiary capabilities due to the change of subsidiary mandates.

Research at the Centre for International Business Studies, CIBS,  is very much in line with the above sketched overall interest, however, distinguishes itself from the prevailing literature by applying longitudinal case studies, which not only allows an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon studied, but not at least also the opportunity to understand the various (change) processes over time involved.

Examples of projects:

The Globalization of R&D in Multinational Enterprises: A Need of New Theoretical Explanations

Large MNCs in Sweden have been shown to be more globalized than similar MNCs from other countries. They have now the majority of sales, production and employment outside Sweden, where especially the emerging markets in Asia have become important. These geographical shifts are also visible in the R&D activities, where half of their investments now are made abroad, including in Asia and other emerging markets. The aim of the present study is to analyze the driving mechanisms behind this new trend of R&D globalization in MNCs, where foreign R&D units increasingly are involved in the development of new technology for global, regional and local markets, rather than in their traditional role to locally adapt the parent corporations existing technology, and where co-location with manufacturing units is a main locational determinant.

Participating researchers: Inge Ivarsson and Claes G. Alvstam
Funder: Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond 2015-2017

The Development of R&D Competence and Capability in Emerging Markets

An increasing number of MNCs have realized that emerging markets offer good preconditions to conduct R&D activities in order to develop innovative products and services for their global markets to a lower cost. In order to leverage this opportunity, however, MNCs need not only develop the necessary local R&D competence and capacity, but also further need to integrate these new R&D units with already existing ditto elsewhere in the MNC; thereby enabling knowledge sharing. Applying a longitudinal case study approach, the aim of the project is to contribute to the literature on strategic and organizational behavior of MNCs by studying the efforts made and challenges experienced by several Swedish MNCs when developing R&D competence and capacity in India.

Participating researcher: Roger Schweizer
Funder: Torsten Söderbergs Stiftelse 2015-2016

Managing innovation and growth

This line of research examines how firms and industries are capable of not only accommodating to and complying with institutional, political, and cultural changes in its environment but also how they create competitive advantage on basis of the ability to e.g., produce new innovations (goods or services), penetrate new international markets, and to pursue economic value-generating strategies. In addition, new sources of economic value creation are generated on basis of skilled entrepreneurship, creating business de novo, and thus making the economic system more dynamic.

Our research in this field is primarily devoted to open innovation, clusters, entrepreneurship and strategic responses to the use of new technologies, such as digitalization.

Examples of projects:

Time, Temporality and Speed of Firm Internationalization

Ever since the first reports of Born-global firms were published, speed of firm internationalization has come to occupy a central position in the debate about the validity of traditional internationalization theories. Addressing this debate, we seek to extend knowledge about internationalization speed, its determinants and potential outcomes. Based on theories on resource accumulation, e.g. time compression diseconomies and learning advantage of newness, hypotheses are developed and confronted with data collected on site at 200 Swedish, 200 Chinese, and 150 Polish firms.

The project is conducted in collaboration with colleagues at Uppsala University and Mid Sweden University.

Participating researcher: Mikael Hilmersson
Funder:Jan Wallanders and Tom Hedelius stiftelse, Handelsbanken, 2015-2018

Venture labour in the knowledge economy: Professional work in venture capital-backed companies

Start-up firms entering more mature phases are relying on venture labour, that is, skilled professional workers that embody an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to carry the risks inherent in any life science venture but that still hold no legal rights to the economic value extracted from the venture in the case of a successful introduction on the stock market or the acquisition of the firm. How do venture labourers in life science start-up companies regard their working life situation? And how do they cope with the risk and uncertainty that is part of their career choice? The study will combine interview data collection methods, participative observations, and archival data to examine how venture labour is organized today and how this category of professional workers enact their identities and role in the innovation-led and knowledge intensive economy.

Participating researchers: Alexander Styhre and Maria Norbäck
Funder: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences



Page Manager: Maria Persson|Last update: 8/8/2017

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