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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2018

Mikael Sundström and Robert Holmberg

The purpose of this paper is to study a class of issues that in spite of recognised needs and explicit managerial demands have proven hard to have “stick” in organisations…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study a class of issues that in spite of recognised needs and explicit managerial demands have proven hard to have “stick” in organisations (information security is used as an example). It offers a theory-driven rationale why superficially different issue areas can indeed be considered as instances of the identified class, and builds on complexity leadership theory (CLT) to explain how the related strategic challenges can be explained and possibly alleviated.

Design/methodology/approach

A. Kenneth Rice’s notion of organisations’ “primary task” is used to home in on its opposite that is here labelled “peripherality”. Existing strands of organisation research that can be related to this notion are then revisited to ground the fundamental concept theoretically. The CLT is finally used to provide a detailed understanding of the underlying dynamics.

Findings

The paper explains how and why certain issue areas seem resistant to common managerial intervention methods even though it would seem that organisational members are in fact favouring proposed changes (a state that would normally increase the chances of success). It also offers ideas how these challenges may fruitfully be approached.

Originality/value

Problems related to the suggested “peripherality” class of issues have thus far been approached as wholly unrelated (and for that reason as idiosyncratic). The proposed framework offers a hitherto never attempted way systematically to link these challenges – and so structure and concentrate discussion about possibly common remedies.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

Keywords

Open Access
Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2022

Anastasia Zabaniotou, Aigli Tsirogianni, Monica Cardarilli and Massimo Guarascio

Gender competence as part of engineering education can better prepare men and women to work on sustainable solutions that benefit entire societies. This chapter describes the…

Abstract

Gender competence as part of engineering education can better prepare men and women to work on sustainable solutions that benefit entire societies. This chapter describes the framework and lessons learned of a community of practice (CoP) for gender equality facilitated by the Mediterranean Engineering Schools Network. Faculty and students from Mediterranean European, North African and Middle Eastern countries came together in this CoP, which was supported by the TARGET project, to develop a practical plan using a reflexive approach. The transfer of knowledge between generations is achieved by using participatory learning processes, facilitating mindful awareness, widening experiences, deepening understandings and building a gender-sensitive mindset. Students embarked on the journey to become change agents. The process led to the consolidation of gender equality knowledge, competence building and the development of change agents for gender equality. This CoP can inspire other institutions to undertake a participatory path towards gender equality – at local, regional, or global level.

Details

Overcoming the Challenge of Structural Change in Research Organisations – A Reflexive Approach to Gender Equality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-122-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

Thomas Sewerin, Robert Holmberg and Mats Benner

This paper aims to present a case of project‐based management development with a group of younger researchers in a medical faculty in a university.

1776

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a case of project‐based management development with a group of younger researchers in a medical faculty in a university.

Design/methodology/approach

The case is based on documentation and recollections in which the first author was involved as a learning coach. The paper is a way to share a process of conversation between the authors and to highlight some critical issues through the elaboration of three perspectives: a macro perspective where the situation in the medical faculty is related to developments in the organizational field; a description from the consultant's point of view; and a human resource perspective in which the style of intervention is linked to the contingencies facing the organization at this point in time.

Findings

In retrospect the program was found to create opportunities for identity‐work and sensemaking involving the participants' individual roles as well as their representations of how the medical faculty was organized. While normal human resource management (HRM) may be seen as a kind of regular maintenance of an organization, it is suggested that the style of management development (as part of an overall HRM strategy) described here is better understood as a form of organizational identity work.

Originality/value

Distinguishing between different styles of HRM and relating them to contingencies in terms of threats to organizational identity contributes to a more nuanced discussion of the practical challenges, possibilities and risks related to different styles. There is a need for both large‐scale studies of the prevalence of new practices and in‐depth ethnographies of interventions like the one described in this paper, especially in situations where there are perceived threats to identity.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Robert Holmberg, Magnus Larsson and Martin Bäckström

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a leadership program in a way that captures leadership self-efficacy, political skills (PS) and resilience in the form of indicators of…

4142

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a leadership program in a way that captures leadership self-efficacy, political skills (PS) and resilience in the form of indicators of health and well-being that would have relevance for leadership roles in turbulent organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

The design was quasi-experimental with pre- and post-measurement with unequal controls. Measurement was made through a mail survey before and after the leadership development program. n=107.

Findings

Program participants differed from the control group in the post-measurement in that they reported higher levels on leadership self-efficacy and had better health compared to a year earlier.

Research limitations/implications

Concepts like leadership self-efficacy, PS and measures of health and well-being can be used to operationalize and measure broad and contextually relevant outcomes of leadership development.

Practical implications

Evaluation of leadership development can benefit from including these more psychologically relevant and generic outcomes.

Originality/value

The study illustrates how psychologically based concepts can help to elucidate key outcomes of leadership development that can be critical for meeting the challenges in the turbulent and fluid work situation managers currently meet.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Robert Holmberg, Mats Fridell, Patrick Arnesson and Mia Bäckvall

This paper seeks to investigate the role of leadership styles in the implementation of evidence‐based treatment methods (EBP) for drug abuse and criminal behaviour.

3005

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to investigate the role of leadership styles in the implementation of evidence‐based treatment methods (EBP) for drug abuse and criminal behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employs a triangulation approach through mail questionnaires to 112 treatment personnel (49 per cent response rate), interviews with 65 employees and managers, observations and feedback workshops.

Findings

Responses from treatment personnel involved in the implementation of EBP indicated that their views on their immediate superior's leadership behaviour was significantly related to the perceptions of organisational innovative climate, job satisfaction and work output. Problems with workload, lack of collegial and managerial support and a low priority given to the programmes and treatment integrity were the most common barriers to implementation of the programmes. Effective managers were providing space, time and opportunity for the staff to perform their treatment‐related tasks and to be creative during the implementation process. This functional space had to be continually protected, both vertically from demands from higher levels of the organisation and horizontally from non‐helpful colleagues.

Research limitations/implications

The correlational design used in this study does not permit conclusions about causality.

Practical implications

Implementation of evidence‐based treatment programmes in clinical settings should pay attention to the impact of leadership styles on the experiences of treatment staff (climate, job‐satisfaction, burnout) and programme outcome. These variables should also be considered in the evaluation of treatment effects. The process of implementation can be seen as a route for learning and innovation, and managers should pay attention to the facilitation of these processes.

Originality/value

The role of leadership in implementation concerns not only production and structure but also learning, creativity and persistency during the process. The triangulation approach in this study also sheds light on the limitations of questionnaires in capturing the dynamics of leadership in human service organisations.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Kent Thorén and Martin Vendel

Backcasting helps managers involve and align the organization throughout a strategy process. Its core idea is creating a logical path from a depicted future back to the present…

1852

Abstract

Purpose

Backcasting helps managers involve and align the organization throughout a strategy process. Its core idea is creating a logical path from a depicted future back to the present, to share, analyze and manage strategic challenges. Still its use in strategic management is under-researched. The purpose of this paper is to verify the relevance and validity of backcasting as a strategic management tool. It also analyzes and structures knowledge about backcasting and its practical application in strategic management.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employs desktop research method to outline the benefits and limitations of backcasting for strategy formation under VUCA conditions.

Findings

Backcasting can help organizations overcome cognitive barriers and broaden the scope of options when analyzing future positions. The research provides insights regarding the potential and limitations of backcasting when addressing uncertainty and its drivers. For instance, it helps managers to assess and align visions; increase the understanding and clarity regarding complex dependencies; as well as improve strategic agility.

Practical implications

Backcasting is exceptionally useful for investigating possible futures and alternative paths to it. Backcasting is an interactive workshop-based method that challenges prevailing mindsets by assuming we are in the future, looking back towards today to find a feasible path when major transitions are necessary. With it, managers can deal with even the most uncertain decisions in a structured manner.

Originality/value

Backcasting for many reasons has a great potential as a tool for strategy development. It has been successfully applied in other fields but only to a limited extent in business. This paper formally examines its applicability in this context and demonstrates its relevance for dealing with VUCA challenges.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 September 2020

Annukka Näyhä

In Finland, new forest-based sector (FBS) businesses are seen as important for the transition to the circular bioeconomy. The purpose of this study is to explore the transition of…

Abstract

Purpose

In Finland, new forest-based sector (FBS) businesses are seen as important for the transition to the circular bioeconomy. The purpose of this study is to explore the transition of Finnish FBS companies to new business models. The aim is to understand how FBS companies define their ideal future states and related business models for the year 2030.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses thematic interviews with managers from various FBS firms and companies from interfacing sectors. In the interviews, the key idea of backcasting was pursued when respondents discussed the desirable future states of their business.

Findings

The effort to achieve growth of the business and the appearance of new products characterize the company-specific desirable future states. In these desirable futures, expanded businesses will be based on strong knowledge. Resource efficiency and collaboration create a strong basis for the desirable future state of the whole FBS to create a sustainable and innovative “Wood Valley.”

Research limitations/implications

The key limitations are that the backcasting process has been conducted only through interviews and a participative approach with stakeholder dialogue is lacking in the process. This means that the desirable futures are created by the FBS companies only.

Originality/value

As a practical contribution, the study shows the future-oriented thinking and goals of FBS firms. As a theoretical contribution, it extends research on sustainable business models and discussions on the novel field of corporate foresight.

Article
Publication date: 21 February 2020

Souâd Taïbi, Nicolas Antheaume and Delphine Gibassier

The purpose of this paper is to first empirically illustrate the construction of accounting for sustainable development tool (Bebbington and Gray, 2001) and, second, to discuss…

1256

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to first empirically illustrate the construction of accounting for sustainable development tool (Bebbington and Gray, 2001) and, second, to discuss the operationalization of accounting for sustainable development (Bebbington and Larrinaga, 2014).

Design/methodology/approach

This research is based on a unique intervention-research approach, the main author having worked part-time for four years on the development of the tool for a business organization in the organic food sector.

Findings

This paper proposes an operationalization of sustainable development within an accounting tool and presents the results of the calculations. It also touches briefly upon the organization’s decision not to adopt the tool. The research concludes on the difficulty of operationalizing the economic, social and environmental capitals while proposing results that demonstrate “unsustainability”.

Practical implications

This research in operationalizing sustainable development paves the way for future potential use of the tool described, and future developments to address the model’s current shortcomings, notably in interconnecting social and economic capitals with natural capital.

Social implications

The non-adoption of the accounting tool raises questions about the acceptability among practitioners of visualizing the unsustainability of their own organization, in particular within “green” and “socially responsible” businesses. Moreover, it raises the question of growth and decoupling of the organization’s impact from its economic growth.

Originality/value

This paper makes three contributions to the current literature. First, it furthers the discussion on how to operationalize accounting for sustainable development, notably by trying to implement capital as a liability (a debt), placing its “maintenance” at the very heart of the design. Second, it offers an initial operationalization of “system thinking” within a tool to account for sustainable development. Finally, it contributes to the literature on “engagement research” through a four-year intervention-research project.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 11 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2012

Svante Lifvergren, Ulla Andin, Tony Huzzard and Andreas Hellström

Purpose – This chapter examines the developmental journey toward a sustainable health care system in the West of Skaraborg County in Sweden from 2008 to the present by proposing…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter examines the developmental journey toward a sustainable health care system in the West of Skaraborg County in Sweden from 2008 to the present by proposing and illustrating the concept of a clinical microsystem to capture the work of a mobile team to care for elderly people with multiple diseases in its embedded context.

Design – An action research approach was adopted that entailed four researchers, one of whom was also a health care practitioner, engaging in iterative dialogues with the mobile team. This aimed at catalyzing joint learning in repeated action-reflection cycles at least three times a year over a period of 3 years. Data from patient databases were also drawn upon as additional resources for reflection.

Findings – The outcome of the initial periods of the team's work in the microsystem dramatically improved the care of these patients, significantly increasing quality of life and stabilizing their medical situation. It has also led to decreased resource utilization, not just by the team, but elsewhere in the wider health system.

Originality/value – We draw on and develop the concept of clinical microsystems to argue that such systems have a team at their core, but their work practices and patient outcomes require us to look beyond the team itself and take into account its interactions with patients and actors in the wider health care system. We also draw on the framework of Christensen, Grossman, and Hwang (2009) to propose that each microsystem has three distinct value configurations, namely shops, a chain, and a network. In terms of design, we suggest that the clinical microsystem can be seen as a parallel learning structure to that of the established health care bureaucracy.

Details

Organizing for Sustainable Health Care
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-033-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 July 2019

Rob Aitken, Leah Watkins and Sophie Kemp

The purpose of this study is to understand what a sustainable future would look like and the nature of the changes needed to achieve it. Continued reliance on economic growth to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand what a sustainable future would look like and the nature of the changes needed to achieve it. Continued reliance on economic growth to meet the demands of a growing population is unsustainable and comes at an unacceptable social and environmental cost. Given these increasing demands, radical changes to present practices of production and consumption are needed to enable a sustainable future.

Design/methodology/approach

To address this the projective technique of backcasting was used in a pilot study to explore student visions of a sustainable future. An integrative framework comprising housing, clothing, travel, leisure and food provided the structure for six focus group discussions.

Findings

Thematic analysis identified three key characteristics of a sustainable consumption future, namely, efficiency, sharing and community and three critical elements, namely, the role of government, education and technology, necessary for its achievement.

Research limitations/implications

Demonstrating the usefulness of backcasting will encourage its application in a wider range of consumption contexts with a broader range of participants. The vision of a sustainable future provides a blueprint that identifies its nature, and the basis upon which decisions to achieve it can be made.

Originality/value

The research introduces the technique of backcasting and demonstrates its usefulness when dealing with complex problems, where there is a need for radical change and when the status quo is not sustainable. Unexpectedly, results suggest a commitment to prosocial values, collaborative experience, collective action and the importance of community. Research and social implications demonstrating the usefulness of backcasting will encourage its application in a wider range of consumption contexts with a broader range of participants. The vision of a sustainable future provides a blueprint that identifies its nature, and the basis upon which decisions to achieve it can be made.

Details

Young Consumers, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-3616

Keywords

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