Research projects overview

Major research projects I worked with are summarized below. (I was a project manager, if not indicated ‘participated in…’)
In separate web pages, under this one,  some of the projects will be presented in somewhat more detail.

2013 – ongoing projects on New Public Management in the welfare sector, and on Migration, work and housing in a small town.

2009 – 2013 Scandinavian Management Book Project. In cooperation with twenty Scandinavian researchers an anthology with nineteen chapters has been developed aiming at an overview of  book of international interest. was published late spring 2013: Nordic Lights. Work, Management and Welfare in Scandinavia, SNS förlag.

2000 – present MITIOR programme (Media, IT and Innovations in Organisations and Work), research leader: Studies of work, management and competence in Swedish ICT and Interactive media companies (Internet, multimedia) Several national surveys have been conducted and reports written. Several of the reports are available in full text pdf.

A key partner during the MITIOR programme has been Fredrik Movitz and his PhD dissertation is to a high extent based on empirical material from the project.

I also participated in then the Global Call Center Project, GCC, and wrote with Christer Strandberg the Swedish empirical country report.

1998 – 2001  News media 2003 (2003 års nyhetsmedier) We contributed studies of work and organization aspects in project co‑operation with designers and computer scientists primarily from Malmö University (project management) and with several (interactive) media companies. Case studies were made, in co‑operation with Örebro and Stockholm Universities, of work organization within on-line/web news production, and case study reports were published, one of them, by Sanja Magdalenic is available as full text pdf.

1997-1999 Modern unions (Moderna fack). A project on union renewal based upon dialogue seminars with trade unionists, in co‑operation with a science journalist. In this context Workshops: Organizer of three international workshops within the ‘Worklife 2000’ programme, as part of the Swedish EU presidency.

1996-1999  The New Media Project was a first broad and national survey of multimedia and Internet companies in Sweden, in European co‑operation, focusing on production and development of competence and companies. Reported in Nya medier and New media in Sweden (both 1998).

1993-1998  The Auto Industry Project aimed at studying the preconditions and stragegies, within car industry, for reaching at the same time goals of competitiveness and ‘good work’, an alternative to lean production. A group of more than twenty international researchers contributed in a major endeavor to describe and understand the developments. I made field studies in Sweden, France and Japan, and edited an ambitious volume entitled Enriching production. Perspectives on Volvo’s Uddevalla Plant as an Alternative to Lean Production. Avebury (1996) where I wrote myself the introduction and one chapter. I also edited a journal special issue with more theoretical and general analyses over the theme Good work and productivity, (1998).

1991-1992  Participation in the major Swedish Workplace/Establishment Survey (Arbetsplatsundersökningen) at the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University. The extent of ‘new’ forms of management and work organization in Swedish companies was studied and reported in a chapter in the volume Sveriges Arbetsplatser (SNS 1992).

1985 – 1992  ‘Management, work organization ‑ quality, efficiency’. A project with ten colleagues resulted in the book Ledning för alla? with a critical appraisal of popular management litterature (1987). This was followed by reflection groups/author workshops with two groups of interested individuals: personnel managers and trade unionists. With two journalists two books were produced: Nytt liv I facket (1990) and Det nya personalarbetet (1989). Also a study of convertible bonds and work was made, Sanna ägare (1991).

1985 – 1992  The New Front project (Nya Frontprojektet) A study of trade union organization processes and structure coupled to studies of transformations of the labour processes concluding; demarcation conflicts necessitate changes within the unions in line with changes in work and negotiation systems. Summarized in the book Rörelse över gränser (1988). In this context also the book Technological Change and Co­determination in Sweden (Temple UP, Philadelphia 1992) was written, a longitudinal study over fifteen years of changing working life and research in Sweden. The volume was based on but not restricted to summarizing results from our projects from 1975 until 1990 and developing them in a theoretical and comparative (Europe, US) perspective.

1980-1984  The Front project (Frontprojektet, Facket, rationaliseringar och ny teknik). Manager of the Swedish studies within this five country project financed by the EU, about technological change and employee access to information and participation. Comparative case studies were made within the banking, machine tool, food and chemical sectors. Researchers mainly from The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and from the NIWL participated. It turned out that Swedish employees and their representatives were comparatively advanced in building up their own competence and using it in these new areas.

1979 – 1982  The Methodology project (Metod‑projektet). I gathered some fifteen experienced researchers for reflection over their participation in local change oriented research projects in working life. In the book Forskning för förändring (1981) we concluded that in order to contribute to long term scientific accumulation of knowledge, phases of participation in change are fruitful but must be imbedded in phases of critical, theoretical reflection and empirical investigations. This was further developed in a special issue of a scientific journal (Sociologisk forskning) on theory of praxis research.

1979 – 1985  Participation in the Scandinavian Utopia project, with around fifteen researchers (sociologists, computer scientists from KTH, psychologists, ergonomists, gender researchers) together with skilled nordic graphical workers. The project developed models and specifications for IT-based technology in text and picture processing for newspaper production in cooperation with Nordic IT and graphic industry companies and trade unions. Apart from participation in and documentation of the common design processes, I published a study on the Utopia project seen as an example of a strategy for useroriented research and technology policy and related the project to the ideas of ‘alternative production’ (Mellan alternativ produktion och industriell F0U (1984). The Utopia and the Demos projects have become of great international importance in the articulation of a models for user-oriented participative design of IT and work, sometimes even called ‘the Scandinavian IT design model’ or ‘co-operative design’.

1975 – 1983  The Demos project, conducted at at the KTH Department of  Information Processing and Administrative Data Processing, and then continued at the Arbetslivscentrum (Center for working life). This was early example of co‑operation between researchers, workers and local trade unions in change oriented research. A multidisciplinary research group (computer science, sociology, civil engineering) supported and analyzed the ”computerization” on four workplaces: a newspaper, a department store, a steel work and a railway repair shop. New forms of trade union work were tried out and evaluated in relation to the labour process debate and to the development of co-determination. The project concluded that employees and unions have an essential role as actors, that there are managerial alternatives to Taylorism (responsible autonomy, sociotechnical systems) and the control intentions of management are not always realized. Above case study reports (e.g. Brytningstid, 1983, from the newspaper) I wrote more theoretical books (Varken offer eller herre, 1980) and the much used textbook Företagsstyrning och löntagarmakt, 1979 and revised 1982 (with Pelle Ehn).

1969 – 1975  At The National Swedish Defence Research Institute (FOA, Försvarets forskningsanstalt) I had the task of contributing social science and organization research perspectives to the primarily mathematical/operations research/engineering environment in FOA’s planning research department. One focus was the role of ‘professional operations research’ in organizational and political decision making processes; several reports and articles were written. Besides this work I conducted doctoral studies at the Sociological Departments at the Uppsala and Stockholm Universities and at the Department of Industrial Economics and Management at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. Dissertation: The limits to democratic planning (1976).

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