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  • 1.
    Larsson, Pär
    et al.
    Ekonomiska Forskningsinstitutet (EFI), Handelshögskolan i Stockholm.
    Södergren, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
    Att förändra förändringen: en studie av förändringsarbete inom SVT2008Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    To manage change in an organization is difficult, but it is even more difficult to change the methods of change. In this report (written in Swedish) we present a study of change in a public service media organization - the Swedish Television (SVT).

    SVT finds itself, since several years, in a situation of radical change. Changes concern the market situation, with new media entering the television industry and increased competition. Cost cutting, outsourcing, and reorganizations are recurrent, and work roles and competence profiles change for professionals in the company. The use of digitalized and IT-based technology creates a new technological context. Archives and copyrights are more important than ever. The role of public service is also subject to political discussion.

    To meet this rapidly changing environment, actors within the company wanted to develop the way of leading and managing change in the organization. In this research project we followed a part of the company during 2004 - 2007. Leaders wanted to support broader participation in the change process, and further develop as a learning organization, with strengthened abilities of knowledge sharing and knowledge creation. The tradition had been to use more expert driven forms of change and top down implementation. Top management, many (but not all) middle managers, technicians, and employees shared the view that the company’s way of working with change ought to be changed.

    However, in spite of good aspirations, it showed to be difficult to change the methods of change in practise, and in this study we try to explain why. The analysis shows some deeply rooted characteristics in the organization. These characteristics are common in many other large organizations, so we have no reason to believe that SVT is unique or less developed when it comes to leadership, organizing or change methods. Instead, we would like to contribute with some in-dept knowledge that can be put in use when organizations strive to generate constructive change processes.

    In the report we describe how the internal dialogue about the change methods was given low priority, and how established communication patterns favoured expert- and technology driven change, rather than broad participation and collective learning. The study also illustrates how a knowledge based (or learning oriented) perspective on change tends to collide with technology oriented and expert driven change logic. It was hard to combine these parallel, but not explicitly outspoken, attitudes and beliefs, concerning for instance, competence, employee’s participations, cost calculating, buyer – deliver relations, and roles in the change process.

    It is argued in the report that the colliding logics in these areas cause a creative tension that could be constructively taken care of in change processes. It is also argued that both a technological/ expert driven rationality and a knowledge-based (or learning oriented) perspective, should be taken actively into consideration in times of radical organizational change.

  • 2.
    Södergren, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
    Ett kunskapsperspektiv på organisation och ledarskap: Studier om kunskapsprocesser och kunskapsorienterat ledarskap för innovation och förnyelse. Lärdomar från ett forskningsprojekt2008Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this research report (written in Swedish), reflections and learning points are presented, based on the findings from a research project called ”A knowledge based perspective on organization and management – studies of learning and knowledge creation in innovation and change”. Vinnova (the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) has supported the project financially.

    A series of qualitative studies has been carried out in knowledge intensive organizations, which all have been active in intensive innovation work or radical change. In such situations, the need to create favourable conditions for knowledge creation and learning is intensified. A knowledge oriented leadership, organizing for learning and the support for a favourable learning climate are of vital importance.

    Four general themes from the project are discussed in this report (The underlying studies are published in a series of research reports):

    • On knowledge intensive organizations and knowledge work. How do knowledge workers think about organization and management – and why is there a need for learning oriented work forms and even a knowledge based ”language”?

    • On tacit, personal knowledge – the organization’s most valuable resource. Tacit knowledge has a great importance for change and innovation. How can better conditions for sharing of tacit knowledge be enhanced? Is it possible to enhance knowledge that is not visible?

    • In search of knowledge oriented leadership. Leadership in knowledge intensive organizations is important, and especially one dimension of leadership have been highlighted in the project – the need for a ”horizontal”, integrating leadership that can facilitate cross-professional and inter-organizational cooperation.

    • The role of the psychological and emotional climate. With reference to international research from the emerging field of research Positive Organizational Scholarship POS) we highlight the importance of trust and personal relations. It is argued in the study that the learning climate is the ecological environment that enables knowledge to grow and spread in the organization.

  • 3.
    Södergren, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
    Ledarskap och kunskapsarbete i en nätverksbaserad innovationsmiljö: en studie av Swedish LCD Center2008Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study (written in Swedish) is about a knowledge intensive innovation center, Swedish LCD Center – a high-tech institute, partly based on informal networking, partly based on a formal organization. Swedish LCD Center work with research, development and product development concerning new applications of liquid crystals (LCD = Liquid Crystal Display).

    This study focuses on ” the work life in a ”New Knowledge Producer (NKP)”, following Gibbons et al, 1994. A NKP is a hybrid organization combining enterpreneurship, product development and research & knowledge creation. Applied research and research-based practice are normal activities in this type of organization. Swedish LCD Center is the core of a network consisting of different stakeholders from companies, universities and public sector.

    In the study the roots of complexity are studied, and why this type of innovation organization is genuinely complex. Data from the study show that multi-professional work, a high degree of knowledge intensity and mixed professional roles create a complex work situation. Leadership in an NKP of this type is suggested to be about balancing chaos and order, freedom and structure. It is also important to create and negotiate flexible work forms and even individually tailored contracts to enable different persons to participate from their respective platform and personal interest. Leading this kind of organization is not a ”one-man job”, but rather a collective or team based activity, where relational skills are extremely important.

    In the study, data are also analyzed in terms of ”resilience”, a notion from individual and organizational psychology. Resilience (i.e “elasticity”) means the ability to handle constant challenge and be able to recover quickly – ”the ability to bounce back” (Sutcliffe & Vogus, 2003). We suggest that public policy organizations who engage in the support of innovation systems, as well as the key actors within in this kind of innovation organization should strive to develop structural, emotional, relational and cognitive resources, in order to build up the capacity of resilience.

  • 4.
    Södergren, Birgitta
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
    Thor, Gunilla
    Ett lärande system: en studie av Hargs Bruk i Uppland2008Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study, (written in Swedish), is about an innovative company within the forestry industry, Hargs Bruk in Uppland, Sweden. New business, new enterprises and new techniques have been developed during several decades, and the company has contributed to new employment, new companies and an ecologically sustainable development in the region.

    We hope, through this study, to give a contribution to Positive Organization Scholarship (POS) (see Cameron, Dutton & Quinn 2003), since it is an in-depth case study of ”positive deviance”. The purpose of the study has been to investigate ”the human side of innovation”. The study focuses on how learning forms, cooperation, leadership, strategies and company values together have generated and reinforced a learning climate – which in turn has contributed to the innovative capabilities of the firm.

    The organization is described as a learning system, where several factors seem to reinforce innovation and development:

    • The core values that cause a creative tension between “traditional values” (respect for history, culture, environment, and human values), and ”industrial values” (focus on change, new technology and innovation).

    • The business strategy allow new initiatives, which are combined with gradually active learning (“emergent strategizing”). The company has often chosen their own way (innovation rather than imitation). Instead of internal growth and expansion, the strategy has also been to create opportunities for innovators to start a business of their own, and afterwards keeping a long-term relationship with them.

    • Leadership and organization reinforce the learning system. The organization is lean, and the leadership is distributed and delegated, but held together via continuous dialogues. The personal leadership is characterized by high personal presence and a focus on personal relations and trust. The leadership is also learning oriented, and focus on coaching and facilitation qualities.

    • Arenas and techniques for systematic learning are being used, that enhance both the development of own core competence and the inclusion of external competence.

    The case is thus described as a ”learning system” where the different factors above reinforce each other. The development in the company has, of course, not been free from problems, mistakes and conflicts, but data suggest that the supporting learning system (including values, strategies, leadership and learning forms) has helped to enable the organization to handle and overcome difficult situations, and to be able to continue to innovate.

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