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Advantage #2 2017



Thomas Nordås and his team at Sopra Steria believe in the power of sharing



WITH THE FUTURE IN MIND! Amir Sasson’s mission is to coordinate and increase BI’s external research funding from the private sector, EU and the Research Council

»If you don’t have a clear set of regulations that state how much a politician is allowed to earn on the side, you risk getting someone who uses their position to build their own network.« 1








Join us for BI’s 75th anniversary. Page 5.

New rankings. Among the global top 100. Page 7.

How fast-paced music boosts sales in stores. Page 16.

Roof top design meet in Berkeley. Page 49.

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The Executive MBA at BI is a truly international programme – where the world literally becomes your campus. You have the option of three tracks: GLOBAL, ENERGY or OCEAN INDUSTRIES. The programme takes you to various corners of the world, in order to learn from the very best in each field. Transform your career with the only ranked* Executive MBA in Norway.

Start up March 2018: bi.edu/emba *Financial Times 2016


Advantage 2 / 2 017


NEWS 007 The latest news from us. FRONTLINE 011 Stay updated with BI’s latest research. AMBASSADORS 021 Meet Eric Rivelsrud and four other successful alumni. INSIGHT 032 Increasing BI’s research collaboration and funding.


BUSINESS PROFILES 036 Knowledge sharing culture is key for Sopra Steria’s success. PROFESSOR 042 Benny Geys research provides a new view on local politics. WORLD REPORT 048 Alumni networking events around the world. RE AD US ONLINE ! www.issuu.com/bi_business_school




Barbro Kolbjørnsrud

Morten Ståle Nilsen Mikaela Hincks



Monica Skau Hansen

Rob Hincks



Audun Farbrot Audrey Paton

Forssa Print

36 BI ALUMNI RELATIONS DEPARTMENT Nydalsveien 37, N-0442 Oslo ­Norway WEBPAGE:


E-MAIL: alumni@bi.no ISSN: 1891-2874


Per Olsson



Rävudden info@ravudden.se

Staffan Frid


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BI Internship:


for creating unique opportunities for our students! For more information, contact karriere@bi.no


Celebrating BI’s 75th year 1943 – 2018


he most significant impact from BI is our alumni. In the months to come, activities and new initiatives will be lining up for you to join, and alumni will take center stage as we celebrate BI’s 75th anniversary in 2018.   2018 is a great opportunity to mark BI’s contributions to society since its establishment in 1943. The story of BI is best told through the individual stories of our students, alumni, faculty and staff. As part of the celebrations, we invite you to share your story with us.   NEW INITIATIVES

Your engagement, support and input is crucial in the development of BI for the future. The BI Alumni Advisory Board (AAB) has been established to strengthen relationships between alumni, students and the business community. I am very pleased that 22 experienced executives and young alumni in leading positions, representing the diversity of our alumni community, have accepted the invitation to serve as catalysts for communications and involvement through the AAB. Maalfrid Brath, Managing Director ManpowerGroup Norway, will serve as chair of the board. You can expect more news and opportunities to connect as the AAB commence their important task.

sWe greatly appreciate volunteering engagement from alumni. At this year’s matriculations and academic days at our four campuses in Norway, young alumni shared their experiences from BI, and as young professionals. As new students start setting their own goals – for their lives as well as their careers – alumni are a great source of inspiration. LOOKING AHEAD

An important reason for BI’s success is our continuous ability to innovate. Combining internationally recognized research, strong emphasis on excellent pedagogy and relevance we aim to contribute to positive development in business and the public sector. As we look forward to celebrating our 75th anniversary next year, we insist on looking even further ahead to meet the future needs of business and society – a future that you as our alumni are very much a part of. Stay tuned for invitations to the upcoming celebration in 2018.

Inge Jan Henjesand PRESIDENT



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20 %

Alumni discount

Executive Short Programmes

Get inspired bi.no/esp

Executive Short Programmes give you essential and business-relevant knowledge that you need in order to face new challenges at work. Learn from BI’s best academic resources and share experience with other Executives while expanding your network.






The President invites top executives


he Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre gave a lecture on the Norwegian economy and should be The Labour Party in the future when he visited BI in August. The guest lecture was a part of The President Invites series at campus Oslo, where BI’s President Inge Jan Henjesand invites top executives

President welcomes Jonas Gahr Støre

from Norwegian politics and business to speak to students, alumni and guests about current topics. You can find the video from this and other guest lectures on our YouTube channel. Lectures are announced in the calendar on bi.no/bi.edu.

New ranking from The Economist The Economist has ranked the 40 best Masters in Management programmes in the world. BI achieved 17th place for its MSc in Business programme – well ahead of a number of top international universities and business schools. BI scored high on indicators such as 'open career opportunities' and 'range of and access to overseas study programs'. The data for the rankings was collected from second-year students in the MSc in Business programme, and graduated alumni from the previous year. Thank you for your support!


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Caroline Dale DitlevSimonssen

The latest appointed professors at BI are Caroline Dale Ditlev-Simonsen from the Department of Law and Governance, Debbie Harrison from the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Lars E. Olsen from the Department of Marketing Professor Ditlev-Simonsen has international and comprehensive business and organisational experience in the areas of corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship and environmental and ethical issues. She is also Co-Director at the BI Centre for Corporate Responsibility.

BI President, State Secretary Meland and BI professor Reve

A new ecosystem In order to accelerate regional entrepreneurship in Western Norway, BI has signed a consortium agreement with the University of Agder, University of Stavanger, University of Bergen, NTNU and the University College of Western Norway, in cooperation with MIT REAP. The goal is to develop more successful start-ups, by investing in an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. State Secretary Monica Meland was present when the agreement was signed during Arendalsuka this August.


Top students honoured 71 exemplary students from 25 different countries were honored at the 2017 Scholarship Awards Ceremony in September. Annually BI offers a variety of scholarships to students and programmes. LEARN MORE: bi.edu/bi.no/scholarships

In a world of Big Data, analytics has become a strategic necessity in virtually all areas of business. This is why BI has developed a new MSc programme in business analytics. Candidates will learn how to combine highly advanced analytical skills with business and management skills. Programme starts autumn 2018. LEARN MORE:



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Managing Director Maalfrid Brath, Manpower Group Norway

UFDA, the Choir Boys of BI

Welcoming new students More than 4500 Bachelor and 600 Master students started their studies on our campuses in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger this semester. BI's President, alumnus Maalfrid Brath, Managing Director ManpowerGroup Norway, and UFDA greets new students at campus Oslo.

Ready for four more years as president

Extended term for Henjesand

Sopra Steria and alumnus Lily Chen brought Pepper to BI

BI Career Fair The Student Union did a great job in setting up the BI Career Fair in September, giving students a unique opportunity to attend workshops and network with more than 70 companies and organisations. Want to know more about promoting your company to students? LEARN MORE: bi.edu/recruitfrombi

The board of trustees at BI Norwegian Business School has extended Inge Jan Henjesands term as president. "BI has achieved excellent results during Henjesand’s leadership. The president has also initiated important development projects that will prepare us for the future", says Knut Haanæs, Chairman of the board. Henjesand is currently serving his first term as BI’s president, which started in 2014. His re-appointment is for the second fixed term period from August 2018 – August 2022.


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Go check out BI's new international marketing campaign: bi.edu/winter

Helping the Danish taxpayers

BI top 100 worldwide With the latest rankings BI keeps its position among the 100 top of 15 000 business schools worldwide.


Our MSc in Business programme is ranked number 17 among the 40 best Masters in Management programmes in the world by The Economist.

BI was ranked number 35 out of 90 in the Financial Times European Business School Rankings 2016, number three in the Nordic region.

In the same ­Financial Times Executive ranking our Open Enrolment Programmes are ranked 72 out of 75 schools.

Our joint programme with School of Management Fudan University is ranked number 38 among the 100 best Executive MBA programmes in the world by the Financial Times.

Our Master of Science in Business programme is ranked 77 on the Financial Times ranking of the world's 95 best Masters in Management programs.

Our Customised Programmes is ranked 57th of a total of 85 schools on the Financial Times Executive Education ranking.

Our BI Executive MBA is ranked 99 among the 100 best Executive MBA programmes in the world by the Financial Times.


38 57

Securing taxpayers money Professor Rune Sørensen at BI has been appointed chairman of the benchmarking unit at the Danish Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Interior. A central issue for his unit is ensuring that Danish taxpayers' funds are spent as efficiently as possible. Sørensen is professor of political economy and political science.




FACTS: Financial Times has 9 separate programme rankings, and BI participates in four of them: Masters in Management, Executive Education - Open, Executive Education – Customised and Executive MBA. We are also ranked on the summary school ranking (FT European Business School ranking). In addition, BI entered the new Masters in Management ranking by the Economist this year.

Even Berg Hjukse combines exchange at Fudan University, one of Chinas best universities, with an internship at DNB in Shanghai

Global mindset A record number of BI students will go on exchange this year. Numbers are up 20 percent from last year and France is still the most popular destination, closely followed by Italy, UK, Canada and Asia. Masters students also have the opportunity to combine exchange and internship. Interested in offering internships to students? READ MORE: bi.edu/recruitfrombi


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Frontline It is difficult to get all employees enthusiastic about change. But if the company simultaneously develops the staff with new competence, it will be easier for all employees to adapt to new job demands. Read on to find out how companies can help employees handle change.

Words by AUDUN FARBROT Head of Science Communication at BI


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Frontline the Center for Multisensory Marketing at BI Norwegian Business School has, along with Vilhelm Camillus Paus and Alexander Vossen, conducted a study in six different small grocery stores (shops of about 100-square-metres) in different parts of Oslo to investigate whether music impacts how customers shop when the shops are more-or-less filled with customers. The researchers conducted their experiment for four hours a day, six days a week, over the course of a six-week period from May to June 2014. Sometimes they would play fast-paced, catchy music such as Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift. Other times, calm ballads formed the soundtrack for the customers’ shopping trip. For a control group element, they also periodically switched the music completely off. They also monitored how busy the shops were at all times. Knöferle and his colleagues reviewed more than 43,000 grocery receipts to see whether the total was impacted by how many customers were in the shop and the music being played. SPEND THE LEAST WHEN THERE ARE FEW CUSTOMERS

Customers spend less money shopping when the shop is filled to the brim with customers. Fastpaced music takes sales to new heights, according to a study from BI.


magine walking into a small grocery store to shop. Will the total on your receipt depend on how many other customers are in the shop? Will the music playing from the speakers cause you to spend more money? Or does it not matter how many other customers there are or what music is playing?


Associate Professor Klemens Knöferle at

KLEMENS KNÖFERLE Associate Professor Department of Marketing


REFERENCE: Knoeferle, Klemens M., et al, An Upbeat Crowd: Fast In-store Music Alleviates Negative Effects of High Social Density on Customers’ Spending, Journal of Retailing (September, 2017).

When the shop is crowded, fast-paced, intense music played from the speakers will counteract the tendency to spend less. It actually makes us put more products in our shopping baskets. Customers spend the most when intense music is playing from the speakers in shops filled with customers. We do not purchase more expensive products, but pick up more products. Calm ballads have no impact on


Fast-paced music boosts sales

The study shows that we spend the least money when there are fewer customers in the shop. If we schedule the grocery trip at a time when there are a few more customers, we spend more. “We might be looking a bit at what others are buying, and might be tempted to pick up something we had not planned for,” says Klemens Knöferle. If we get the feeling that the shop is overfilled with customers, we spend less. The total on the receipt drops again. “If it is too crowded and there are queues, we want to leave the shop as quickly as possible,” says Knöferle, indicating a possible explanation.


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sales in shops filled with customers. “Instead of wanting to escape from the crowds, it would appear that intense music in shops with a lot of people, makes us feel like we are somewhere fun,” says the market researcher. In situations where there are few or a moderate amount of customers in the shop, music has no impact on sales, whether this is calm ballads or fast-paced music. During calm periods, the shop manager may as well turn off the music in a small grocery store. ■

SUMMARY : FAST-PACED MUSIC BOOSTS SALES What factors affect shopping patterns in stores? A new study shows that a store crowded with people is no good for business. But if the store plays fast-paced music when it is crowded business will improve.

Creative at the office? Fun, colourful offices are more of an image of being creative rather than actually fostering creativity.


any leading companies, including those in Norway, have spent considerable sums making office environments designed to stimulate employees to become more creative and innovative. A major industry has now developed around planning, designing and creating office workspaces. Architects, interior decorators, furniture designers and self-appointed experts are making lots of money. Much of this is driven by trends. When one major company does something that looks cool, others are likely to follow. The creative offices are often open office landscapes with colourful and fun furnishings. Adults are given permission to draw, dance, play, sit in the stands and otherwise have a lot of fun in their creative offices. And all during working hours. On their websites, companies are enthusiastic about showing pictures of their fun offices. Perhaps with the secret hope that this could attract bright new minds. Is this just a passing trend or could it be a profitable investment in the development of new products and services? Do employees become more creative in these creative offices? Associate Professor Donatella de Paoli at the BI Norwegian Business School, along

DONATELLA DE PAOLI Professor Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

with Professor Arja Ropo at the University of Tampere in Finland, have conducted a study to examine whether the new office solutions are designed in line with knowledge about what promotes creativity. The results of the study have been published in the scientific periodical Journal of Corporate Real Estate. The researchers searched online for the key words ‘creative workspace’, ‘creative office’ and ‘inspirational office’. They chose 40 pictures from the search results. De Paoli and Ropo analysed the different design solutions for creative and inspirational offices. The analysis shows that five main themes recur in creative offices: u Home (kitchen, living rooms and sofa corners) u Sports and play (youthful rooms with darts and a basketball hoop or exercise room) u Symbols and meaning (symbols for national culture) u Past and future technology (spaceship or submarine) u Nature (zen-like interior with greenery elements or nature murals). The open office landscapes create an exciting dynamic where people, information and ideas flow together in the room. “But where can you retreat to read, think or write?” says Donatella de Paoli. NARROW VIEW OF CREATIVITY

REFERENCE: De Paoli, D. and Ropo, A. (2017) Creative workspaces - a fad or making real impact? Journal of Corporate Real Estate.

The underlying premise of the creative office solutions is that creativity is a collective phenomenon that involves play, activity, fun, noise, dynamics and social interaction. “Creativity can bloom when we do something together, but not only right then. Individual creativity is underestimated in the new solutions,” says the BI researcher. Many creative people have an introverted side. They need peace and concentration in order to create. Individual expertise, talent and motivation are necessities for collective creativity. These factors are not highly emphasised in the creative office environments, according to the researchers. It is not necessarily the fancy, expensive offices that make people creative, but rather the opportunity to be spon-


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Frontline taneously creative when and how they themselves desire. “For example, artists thrive in worn-down surroundings with a patina that they can leave their mark on. In the theatre world, people work in completely black surroundings without lights,” says de Paoli. The researchers find reason to be critical of the major investments being made in offices for the sake of creativity. “The creative offices create more of an image of being creative rather than actually fostering creativity.” Instead of spending all the money on office design, managers should think about which tools office employees need to be more creative, according to the researchers. The office environments must take a basis in the equipment that office workers need to improvise, play and be creative. “Whiteboards, flipcharts, IT programmes and the internet are to knowledge workers what brushes and paint are to artists,” says Donatella de Paoli. For example, placing whiteboards near the coffee machine could be a good idea. People gather spontaneously around the coffee machine, and creative ideas can be developed and drawn on the wall. The researchers wondered whether the people working in the offices had anything to say. Generally not. Though the employees do contribute in some organisations, it is easy to be overruled by the design specialists. “It is important to have balanced, democratic and user-driven processes to develop good creative office solutions, both if you want creativity or productivity at the workplace,” says de Paoli. De Paoli and Ropo present four tips for managers who want to create room for more creativity in their organisation: u Have a good balance between cell offices and open office landscapes. u Stimulate spontaneous creativity instead of artificially stimulated creativity. u Invest in office tools such as whiteboard walls, other boards and IT that stimulates creative processes. u Users must be involved at an early stage in planning and design of office workspaces. ■

Five reasons for cost overruns Why do some projects go so wrong? And what can we learn from successful projects? JAN TERJE KARLSEN Professor Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

SUMMARY : CREATIVE AT THE OFFICE? Do creative offices make people more creative? A new study shows that most creative people need peace and quiet in order to be creative. Something that is rarely found in creative office environments.


he cost of a building project at Norway’s parliament, Stortinget, was supposed to be NOK 700 million. However, the price has risen to nearly three times that during construction and might now end up around NOK 2 billion. The Office of the Auditor General has analysed the building project and been rather harsh in its criticism of the way the project has been handled. This is not the first time one hears of public projects going terribly wrong, either in Norway or abroad. Many private projects suffer the same, very expensive fate. Failed public projects mean unnecessary


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spending of money that belongs to us all. Private projects that fail may have a severe impact on the company through unnecessary costs and loss of business opportunities. WHY DO THINGS GO SO WRONG?

Why do things go so wrong in some projects? Professor Jan Terje Karlsen at BI Norwegian Business School has reviewed reports and research in the field of project management in his quest for answers. Karlsen has identified five reasons that keep recurring in projects that cost more than planned: 1) Deliberate under-budgeting to make the project proposal more acceptable. To have one’s bid considered at all, or for the project to be realised, underbidding on costs may be crucial in the first round. Only when the project has started up, will the real costs be put on the table. By then it is often difficult to stop the project, and so extra money has to be allocated to pay for the added costs. 2) Underestimating the complexity of the project. Decision-makers will often have too optimistic plans for execution of the work. Many projects also turn out to be more complex than first assumed. This may be due to insufficient information, new technology, a number of systems that need to be integrated, technical challenges or expansive administrative routines. 3) The client has provided a diffuse description of the project scope, i.e. what will actually be ordered and delivered. This may be because the needs that must be met have not been adequately assessed. Hence, the requirements that the work will be based on are unclear. New needs, altered requirements and an increase in the project scope often lead to delays and added costs.  4) The urge to get started. Many people feel a pressure to get started. Often, the technical basis for the work has not been adequately assessed. The planning is deficient. This will in many cases lead to poor decisions; mistakes are made that must be rectified, and the extra costs are running.  5) Cost elements have been omitted or overlooked. This may be due to carelessness, insufficient information or a lack of experience and expertise. Unexpected extra costs may also occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Other costs that are easy to forget about are price rises, changes in exchange rates and project administration. Happily, not all projects fare badly. “We are more likely to hear about the failed

SUMMARY : FIVE REASONS FOR COST OVERRUNS Why do so many public projects overrun their budget? A new study shows that a lot of the projects that fail have been run by to poor project management.

»Failed public projects mean unnecessary spending of money that belongs to us all.«

REFERENCE: Jan Terje Karlsen: Prosjektledelse – fra initiering til gevinstrealisering (Project management – from initiation to realisation of gain). Universitetsforlaget, 2017.

projects,” Jan Terje Karlsen points out. The vast majority of projects are completed ­successfully, according to the BI professor. Three well-known Norwegian projects that went well are the construction of the new Bislett sports stadium, the new opera house in Oslo and the Norwegian Armed Forces’ frigate project. “What characterises these projects is that they have adhered to many of the principles of good project management.” WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS?

Jan Terje Karlsen points to six winning ­factors for successful projects: u The client must make sure the project has a well-prepared steering document where objectives and expectations for the project are in line with the framework conditions. u The cost ceiling should be the result of an appropriate estimation process where scope and quality have been clarified. The steering document must provide clear steering signals on what to prioritise between the budget, time limits and quality/ scope. u Uncertainties in the project should be analysed, and measures must be implemented to address these uncertainties. Back-up financing should be estimated and set aside to cover unforeseen expenses. The client, or a steering group, must control the use of this reserve.  u When new requests are expressed or changes proposed in the middle of a project, there must be good routines for how to handle them. The client should prepare a clear contract strategy concerning the suppliers and should be able to see things from the suppliers’ point of view. u Research shows that it is crucial to have a competent and motivated project organisation, a clear distribution of responsibilities and good routines and systems for how to follow up the project. u Make sure there is good communication, and that the project has a joint strategy for how to communicate and handle relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders. ■


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Help employees handle change Not all employees are enthusiastic about change. If they get help to develop new competence, they are better able to adapt to changes and new job demands.


ost organisations, both companies and public enterprises, operate in constantly changing surroundings. Sometimes, organisations must implement changes to meet new demands from their customers and surroundings. This may include utilising new technology to be competitive and live up to expectations from users. This entails that both managers and employees must change how they perform their work tasks. Some employees appear to thrive on

change, and can easily adapt to new job demands. However, not all employees are ready for change. Employees that are less than enthusiastic about change, are at risk of being considered inept at adapting to new ways of working. In some cases, they are replaced with new employees with the right qualifications. Is that necessary? WHAT CAN THE ORGANISATION DO?

ELISABETH SOLBERG Associate Professor Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

REFERENCE: Elizabeth Solberg. “Adapting To Changing Job Demands: A Broadcast Approach to Understanding Self-Regulated Adaptive Performance and Cultivating It in Situated Work Settings”. Series of Dissertation - 05/2017. BI Norwegian Business School.

“It is not necessarily prudent to give up on employees who are generally not open to changes,” claims Associate Professor Elizabeth Solberg at BI Norwegian Business School. Solberg recently completed her doctorate by studying how employees in different types of organisations adapt to changed job demands. When organisations are recruiting new employees, they now place greater emphasis on identifying candidates that are also able to adapt to changes and enjoy this. But what about those who have been in the organisation for a while? Solberg has been particularly concerned with studying what organisations can do to better enable existing employees to adapt to changes and new job demands. In her doctoral project at BI, she followed about 70 civilian employees in the


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Norwegian Armed Forces over a six-month period. Each month, the participants in the study answered questions on what training activities they have participated in, and how often they adapted to changes in the work situation.

The good motivation


The study shows that training is important to employees’ ability to adapt to changes from month to month. Training is particularly important for those employees who are the least open to change. Solberg actually found the strongest correlation between training from month to month and how often the employee adapts to changes, among employees who are generally not very open to change. This is quite logical according to the organisational researcher. “Employees who are not very open to change typically do not have much experience with adjustment. They therefore have a limited repertoire of abilities and skills to draw on,” she says. For these employees, it will therefore be critical to develop new competence and learn new ways of working to handle changing job demands.

BÅRD KUVAAS Professor Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour


The study also shows that managers who actively support the learning activities of employees who are not open to change, are rewarded with employees that adapt to new job demands to a greater extent. Managers who are concerned with supporting their employees so they can master the tasks they need to solve, are often called mastery-oriented supervisors. These managers take time to understand each employee’s need for development. They advise and support, which helps the employees improve, and they facilitate the employees’ training. “Mastery-oriented managers praise and recognise employees who perform well and fulfil their development goals,” says Elizabeth Solberg. ■

REFERENCE: Bård Kuvaas, Robert Buch, Antoinette Weibel, Anders Dysvik og Christina G. L. Nerstad: “Do intrinsic and extrinsic motivation relate differently to employee outcomes?”. Journal of Economic Psychology, 2017, 61, pg. 244-258.

SUMMARY : HELP EMPLOYEES HANDLE CHANGE Changes can be costly for organizations because employees do not want to be involved in change. But if the company takes responsibility for developing and training staff at the same time, they can succeed better.

Will employees who are passionate about their job perform even better if they receive an additional bonus payment for good performance?


ost organisations want their employees to be passionate about their work, i.e. to be intrinsically motivated. When the employees experience intrinsic rewards such as satisfaction, joy or meaning in connection with the work they do, they perform better than those who do not experience this. At the same time, many organisations use bonuses, billable hours and management by objectives using quantitative indicators to achieve extrinsic motivation. “It appears as if these organisations are trying to have it both ways,” says Bård Kuvaas, Professor of organisational psychology at BI Norwegian Business School. There have been several studies documenting the advantages associated with intrinsic motivation. There has been less research on the effects of extrinsic motivation, where the work performance is aimed at achieving positive and avoiding negative consequences. “That’s a shame. Many managers obviously believe that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be combined to achieve a form of optimal motivation,” says Kuvaas.


Along with researchers Robert Buch, Antoinette Weibel, Anders Dysvik and Christina G. L. Nerstad, Professor Bård Kuvaas has conducted an extensive study to compare intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The researchers wanted to see how extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are connected to employees’ work performance, attitudes and well-being in three different groups. The study was conducted among employees in the finance sector,


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Frontline at petrol stations and in a large health technology organisation. The researchers found that there were negative correlations between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in all groups. The more intrinsically motivated the employees were, the less extrinsically motivated they were, and vice versa. “This means that it is not very realistic to try to combine or balance intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and believe that this will improve performance,” says Kuvaas.

a less than optimal form of motivation, according to Kuvaas. “It is difficult to understand why many organisations still encourage extrinsic motivation,” he says. Who wants poor work performance, lower loyalty, higher burn-out, work-family conflict and turnover intention, which are possible results of extrinsic motivation. “It is damaging for both employees and organisations.” ■

Find meaning in meaningless jobs


The study shows a positive correlation between intrinsic motivation and work performance as assessed by managers in a group consisting of 552 employees at petrol stations. The extrinsically motivated employees’ performance was assessed as worse by their managers. In another group consisting of more than 4,500 employees in the finance industry, the researchers collected data at two different times. “What we found here was that the more extrinsically motivated the employees were, the less loyal they were to the organisation, the more they thought about leaving the organisation and the higher they scored on burn-out and work-family conflict.” The findings for intrinsic motivation were the opposite, which is that the more intrinsically motivated the employees were, the higher the loyalty and the lower the turnover intention, burn-out and work-family conflict. LIMITS FOR LOW AMBITIONS

Previous studies have shown that extrinsic motivation can be less harmful than no motivation. “But there should be limits for low ambitions. Managers should instead try to maximise the intrinsic motivation and minimise the extrinsic,” says the BI Professor. For most jobs and activities, extrinsic motivation does not represent a second-rate form of motivation, it is rather

SUT I WONG Professor Department of Communication and Culture

CHRISTIAN FIESELER Professor Department of Communication and Culture

DOMINIQUE KOST Associate Professor Department of Communication and Culture

REFERENCES: Sitter, N. (2017): Terrorismens historie. Attentat og terrorbekjempelse fra Tsar Aleksander II til ISIL. Dreyers forlag.

SUMMARY : THE GOOD MOTIVATION An extensive study shows that companies who combine intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for their employees will not improve their performance.

Is it possible to create a sense of meaning in your work when you are sitting alone in front of a computer screen performing small and boring routine tasks? A new study yields surprising answers.


growing number of people are making money solving small, tedious and non-prestigious routine tasks online. The tasks can e.g. be published through dedicated job posting services, also called crowdsourcing. One example is Amazon Mechanical Turk, which had more than 750,000 available tasks in March 2017. People can sign up on these sites to perform the listed tasks. The digital odd jobs, which are called microwork, require a human assessment. This means that they cannot be completed by computer programmes or robots. For example, these tasks might involve typing text that has been written by hand, classifying photos, classifying opinions in comment fields, assessing the relevance in a search engine search or selecting a representative illustration photo from a video clip.


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The people doing the jobs find the work to be meaningful, despite the fact that it appears tedious and perhaps also meaningless. The workers derive meaning from sources such as morality, social significance, self-development, the opportunity to decide when the job can be done and the prospect of earning money. They believe that the work is a concrete contribution to others. The microworkers feel that the job is important for society and that they are contributing to something positive. They also feel that they are able to use their skills or specific talents. The researchers wondered how it is possible to see the potential benefit of their contribution when they are working in isolation and devoid of any form of personal feedback. The workers rarely received enough information to be able to assess to what extent their work had any significance and impact for others. However, they were still able to create a perception of those that actually benefited from what they did. MONEY ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH


The people who perform the digital odd jobs, often work by themselves, completely isolated from others. They have no direct contact with their employers or others that are doing the job. The jobs are often just small pieces of a much larger puzzle. It is not always easy to see what role and significance their job will have. With such a basis, one might think that it must be hopeless to derive any meaning at all from the job. Contact with other people, whether they are colleagues or managers, is often considered the key to deriving meaning in a job. IS THE JOB MEANINGFUL?

Researchers Dominique Kost, Sut I. Wong and Christian Fieseler at the BI Norwegian Business School have completed a study among 110 people who work for Amazon Mechanical Turk to learn whether they find the tasks they perform to be meaningful. The results surprised the researchers.

»Contact with other people is often considered the key to deriving meaning in a job.«

Money alone was not enough to make the job meaningful. However, financial compensation could be a positive contribution for creating meaning in the work, but only in combination with other factors. For example, this could be the significance the task had for others or the ability to decide for yourself when the tasks would be performed. As humans, we all have a psychological need to have a meaningful job. Is this a sustainable working model in the digital age? Or a desperate act by workers looking to find meaning? “Even if the job in itself is not particularly meaningful, it appears as though we are still able to create a perception that makes the job meaningful,” concludes Associate Professor Dominique Kost at BI. ■

SUMMARY : FINDING MEAINING IN MEANINGLESS JOBS A new survey shows that people who make their living from micro jobs, often regarded as meaningless jobs, find their job satisfaction when fulfilling an important function for other people.


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Motivation leading to discoveries Was Archimedes strongly motivated when he discovered Archimedes’ law?


he story says that Archimedes was actually having a bath when he had his famous revelation. The phenomenon of having insights in relatively relaxed motivational states is seen as so typical that it has been called the bed-busand-bath-phenomenon by the scientist Margaret Boden. Can it really be so that low motivational arousal leads to discoveries and insights? What would that imply for work performance systems emphasizing incentives, bonuses or other motivational schemes? To back up the main idea here we have done what scientists typically do in such cases, and rigorously and experimentally tested whether low, medium or high motivation is better for performance on demanding insight tasks. We have based ourselves on a model where the strength of motivation has two main sources: u Perceived competence for the task at hand. u The strength of the drive to perform well/achieve. When competence and achievement drive is combined we get what is called total motivation. But here comes the unintuitive paradox: very strong total motivation is not considered optimal for performance on complicated insight tasks. In a controlled experiment that we conducted to test this theory, it turned out that our ideas were fully supported by the results. Total motivation in the lower range was indeed conducive to performance on difficult insight tasks. However, the underlying mechanisms were quite complex. For people with a certain thinking style we found that a strong achievement drive was detrimental to performance. It also turned out that a strong achievement drive was quite conducive to performance for people with another thinking style. Clearly, effects of achievement

ØYVIND MARTINSEN Professor Head of Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

ADRIAN FURNHAM Adjunct Professor Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

THORVALD HÆREM. Associate Professor Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

REFERENCES: Martinsen, Ø. & Furnham, A. (2015). Cognitive style and performance on complex, structured tasks. Learning and Individual Differences, 42, 106-109 Martinsen, Ø. & Furnham, A. (2016). The Assimilator–Explorer styles and creativity. Personality and Individual Differences, 98, 297–299 Martinsen, Ø. Furnham, A. & Hærem, T. (2016). An Integrated Perspective on Insight. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 1319-1332

drive were dependent on who you are, and thinking styles play a prominent role here. The thinking styles that we based ourselves on were developed by Kaufmann (1979) and called the Assimilator-Explorer styles. Explorers like novel kinds of tasks. They have competence for tasks that demand exploration and trial and error approaches. They are not very good at using well-known rules. When Explorers face high novelty and demanding insight tasks, they probably feel competent for the task. When such task competence is combined with a strong drive to perform well, total motivation becomes quite strong. According to our theory, however, strong motivational states are not good for performance on insight tasks. In our experiment, low levels of achievement drive made Explorers perform better. The other thinking style is called the Assimilator style. People with this habitual way of thinking like rules, procedures, and structure. They are not seen as good at coping with high novelty in the task. However, when their initially low perceived competence is combined with a strong need to achieve they actually perform as well as Explorers with a low need to achieve. Thus, the need to achieve has opposite effects for Explorers and Assimilators when the task is difficult and needs to be solved in a novel way. Our ideas have been clearly supported so far. Still, we also needed to ask if the same, general mechanism would hold when Assimilators face tasks where they feel more competent and Explorers less competent. Such tasks are considered better solved by following a rule or a procedure. Will the strength of achievement drive still work in opposite ways for Assimilators and Explorers? Yes, our results supported this idea also. Because insight is associated with scientific discovery, our findings may have implications far beyond the insight tasks that we employed in our studies. The findings may dictate much more nuanced approaches to the use of incentives or other motivational schemes in the business world. Perhaps it would be an even better idea in such businesses to let people regulate themselves. ■

SUMMARY : MOTIVATION LEADING TO DISCOVERIES Can some types of problems be solved in a better way when you have no pressure? For example, in the bathroom or on the bus? A new survey eliminates the mechanisms behind problem solving


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»Globally, the biggest change for traditional brands is to meet the continuosly increasing competition from new digital brands. This is forcing us to stay alert.«

ERIC RIVELSRUD Commercial Director at Parfums Christian Dior

Meet Laura, Vegard, Unni, Eric and Kjell Eirik. Five Alumni making an impact worldwide. Words by A N N A O L AU SS O N

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A GREAT VARIETY Before she graduated Laura Kuitunen secured a trainee position at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. In what way is your education relevant for your current position? I feel that my work matches my studies, although it is more about applied economics and finance and less about theory. I am lucky to be surrounded by so many talented colleagues from all over Europe, which makes my work environment really inspiring. How do you spend your workday? My job is a mix of quantitative and qualitative assignments, which I really enjoy. I write briefings and reports and prepare presentations, but I also work with data, risk indicators and economic models. You say that the nature of your assignments depends a lot on the nature of the projects. Do you like the variation? The variety of assignments suits me well. I expected to spend more time working on my own, but fortunately, that’s not how it is. In some projects, we liaise with the Eurosystem national central banks and other shareholders, whereas other projects are more internal. Was it your goal to get an international position straight away? Yes, it was, although for me this would have included Norway as well. ECB is ➢ AGE: 27 a unique working environment in the ➢ LIVES: Frankfurt am Main sense that I am at the heart of important ➢ COMPANY: European decisions regarding economy and policy. Central Bank Given my background in economics and ➢ JOB TITLE: Analyst finance, I didn’t think twice about accept➢PROGRAMME AT BI: ing the trainee position. MSc in Business 2016, How has your time at BI helped your International Summer career? Programme 2012 I grew professionally and personally ➢ OUTSIDE INTERESTS: Travelling during my time at BI. I had wonderful ➢ BEST ABOUT FRANKFURT: fellow students with whom I collaborated It’s truly a European city on group assignments, and we had a great time doing them. Writing my master thesis however, meant that I got to test my own capabilities. Any career advice for recent graduates? At this early stage of my career, I would say that the most difficult thing is to trust your own skills and capabilities. But in the end, that is what gets the job done. I think it is very important to seize opportunities, even though they might look completely different to how you envisaged them.

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Laura’s best career tips? Trust your own skills and capabilities

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MR FRENCH CONNECTION From the mass market to the premium market. Eric Rivelsrud’s mission is to strengthen Dior’s brand in Norway. You have a career behind you at Procter & Gamble, an American company. What’s the biggest difference when working for a French company? There are some obvious cultural differences, but personally, the biggest difference was leaving the mass market of shampoo and batteries for the premium world of fashion and cosmetics. Although a well-known brand, what is the biggest challenge for Christian Dior? Globally, the biggest challenge for traditional brands is to meet the continuously increasing competition from new digital brands. This is forcing us to stay alert, keep innovating and work closely with our retailers, to ensure we give the consumer the best shopping experience. What is the most satisfying with the industry? Working for a great brand like Dior is a privilege. Our motivation is to build on our long-standing heritage of making, primarily women, all over the world, look ➢ AGE: 33 and feel great. ➢ LIVES: In Høvik, outside Oslo What does a Commercial Director do? ➢ COMPANY: Parfums I am responsible for the strategic direcChristian Dior tion and the future of Dior in Norway, but ➢ TITLE: Commercial Director at the same time I need to be aware of ➢ PROGRAMME AT BI: operational details and day-to-day Bachelor of International business. My role is very comprehensive. Marketing 2007 I can be in Paris one day, discussing our ➢ OUTSIDE INTERESTS: long-term strategy with the European Family, friends and numerous Top management, and spend the next in sports like skiing, football and Bodø, installing furniture and loading water sports shelves before the opening of a new store. ➢ BEST ABOUT HØVIK: It is close to both nature and sea, After 10 years in marketing, what but not too far from the city. skills have you acquired? I have had various roles that have helped me gain a good overall understanding of business and leadership. I have also learned extensive selling and negotiation skills through tough negotiations. And in my latest positions, I have broadened my understanding of different business environments and cultures. Does your career follow a pattern? My career has evolved around agility. Being agile has helped me adapt relatively quickly to new situations, and focus on things that matter. A great manager once taught me to always try to see the landscape through the eyes of the consumer, and in my view, that makes for good decision making.


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Eric Rivelsrud stays in regular touch with BI, giving career advice to tomorrow’s marketers

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THE LOYAL INVESTOR Vegard Søraunet began his career as a trainee at ODIN Fund Management. Eleven years later he is Investment Director. What has been the biggest change in the financial industry since you started in 2006? Markets are getting more and more correlated. Before the financial crisis, it was possible to diversify in different regions and countries. Today I would say that sectors are the best way to diversify your portfolio. Another long-term change in the financial industry is short-term obsession. In the 1990s, an average holding period of shares was two to three years, and today it is less than six months. How much do you trust your instinct, your gut feeling? Gut feeling is just an add-on to a deeply analytical and fundamental approach to investing. At ODIN, we decide by looking at three P’s. Performance, Prospects and Price determine whether to invest or not. In addition, we are very focused on the management of a company, and the owners. We get on the ➢ AGE: 37 phone or a plane to find out more. ➢ LIVES: In Oslo What makes a great Portfolio ➢ COMPANY: ODIN Fund Manager? Management I think portfolio managers spend too ➢ JOB TITLE: Investment Direcmuch time deciding whether a share tor at ODIN, Senior Portfolio is cheap or not. If they spend the same Manager ODIN Sverige and amount of time analysing the long-term ODIN Norden development of a company, they could see a ➢ PROGRAMME AT BI: bigger return on their investment. Siviløkonom 2004, Master What has your career been like? Programme in Accounting 2006 After the dotcom crisis and the terror ➢ OUTSIDE INTERESTS: attacks of 2001-2003, opportunities in Downhill skiing or a boat trip on the financial industry were affected. To the Oslo fjord get a job in accounting at PwC at the end ➢ BEST ABOUT OSLO: There of 2003 was a milestone. While doing my are not that many capitals Masters in accounting at BI, I started as a where you can take the bus to trainee at ODIN Fund Management while the ski slopes in winter, and in I was still studying. the summer, enjoy water sports As a leader, what is your focus? in the middle of the city I am a true fan of decentralised leadership, where every employee has a goal and where performance is monitored along the way. What career advice would you give to someone who wants to work for ODIN Fund? The financial industry is not easy. If you don’t have passion for shares and companies, look for something else.


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Performance, prospects and price determine whether ODIN and Vegard invest or not

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Aker Biomarine cares for the company’s start-up mentality

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FOCUS ON THE FUTURE Trond Atle Smedsrud, EVP Innovation and Marketing at Aker Biomarine, has a clear idea of how he wants to improve the world. Aker Biomarine was named Norway’s most innovative company in 2017. What will the biggest challenges look like in the future? To utilize all the possibilities within the digital arena. To be able to capture and analyse data, and act upon it. These are and will be the keys to future success. I believe this applies to almost every industry, company and department today. How would you describe your business? We are a company with a vision to improve human and planetary health. Today, we are doing that with one of the most sustainable resources in the world; krill. We harvest and refine it, extracting its key nutrients, Omega-3’s and protein, to make the world a healthier place. At the same time, we are maintaining our start-up mentality. What characterizes your start-up mentality? To be one step ahead of everyone else. It is still possible to create significant impact with limited resources. In time, these opportunities will be more limited, so we ➢ AGE: 35 need to be among the frontrunners, ahead ➢ LIVES IN: Oslo of the competition. ➢ COMPANY: Aker BioMarine Are there any milestones in your ➢ JOB TITLE: EVP Innovation and Marketing career? ➢ PROGRAMME AT BI: BacheIf you are too focused on milestones, you lor in Marketing 2005, Master may not be able to identify and utilise unof Science in Marketing 2007 expected possibilities which could benefit ➢ ENJOYS OUT OF OFFICE: your career. Work hard, act on values, and Physical activities, mostly do it consistently over time. Then, I believe related to triathlon that you will succeed in the end. ➢ BEST ABOUT MY HOMEBeing an athlete, do you bring those TOWN: Diversity skills into your leadership? There are a lot of similarities between competing in sports, and leadership. In my opinion, you have to prepare differently with regards to a training session and an actual competition. It is impossible to be 110 % prepared for every project and every meeting. You will burn yourself out. You need to define your key areas and deliver 110 % on those. For the rest 90 % is ok – you can view this as preparation ahead of delivering a top competitive result. How can your colleagues recognize your background from BI? I did both my Bachelor and Master at BI. I hope they can recognize that I have a background from a school with a high academic level, and not just BI in particular.



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Unni Silkoset has always been open to exploring opportunities abroad. Now she heads up Laerdal Medical’s operations in South Asia. You have worked for non profit organizations like Unicef. What is different about working for Laerdal Medical? Non profit work is usually project based with fixed budgets. In Laerdal Medical, we plan long-term based on business cases. It is interesting to work for a company that develops and manufactures physical products, and combine these with training programmes and local implementation. Working alongside designers and engineers and being part of a creative process is very rewarding. What qualities are important in your position as Regional Director? The ability to multi-task and analyse a lot of information within a short period of time. Balancing structure and flexibility, and find solutions that are culturally appropriate are also important. How would you describe your job? I have just completed one year where focus has been on strengthening the company set-up in India. We have gone from 10 to 30 staff, established two new offices ➢ AGE: 44 and put a range of policies and procedures ➢ LIVES: In Mumbai, India in place. This will prepare us for growth ➢ COMPANY: Laerdal Medical and for making India the hub of the South ➢ JOB TITLE: Regional Director Asia region. My role is to lead this process. South Asia Did you always know that you wanted ➢ PROGRAMME AT BI: to work abroad? Executive MBA 2016 I have always been open to new chal➢ OUTSIDE INTERESTS: lenges. My interest in working in developTravelling, hiking and music ing countries started with a Unicef intern➢ BEST ABOUT MUMBAI: It is ship in Togo and I spent seven years with a pulsating and colourful the organization. After six-and-a-half mega-city, always full of surprises years with the Norwegian Foreign Service including three-and-a-half as a diplomat in New Delhi, I wanted to explore opportunities in the private sector focusing on social entrepreneurship. This led to my enrolment in the Executive MBA and subsequently obtaining the job with Laerdal Medical before I graduated. In your opinion, what are the biggest rewards when working abroad? Getting to know other cultures broaden your horizon and perspectives. Research is now talking about cultural intelligence and how working in cultures different from your own prepares you for the global economy. How has your EMBA degree prepared you for this new role? The EMBA at BI has given me confidence. I am now able to draw on the latest research in business administration and management, to enhance the skills that are relevant for my leadership role.


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Unni prepares Laerdal Medical for growth in the South Asia region

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Amir Sasson

Research - with the future in mind BI seeks to increase its research collaboration and funding with companies, EU research programs and the Norwegian Research Council. The institution needed someone to coordinate these efforts. His name is Amir Sasson. Words by PER OLSSON Illustration by HANS VON CORSWANT

BI and Amir Sasson are constantly looking into the future to know which programs will be important


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“External funding, beyond tuition fees, will become more important for BI’s overall economy in the coming years”, said President Inge Jan Henjesand in a press release last year. And continued: “The government has clear expectations that we, as a research institution, will increase our funding from the EU programs and from the Research Council, and that we will cooperate more closely with business and society. We will do this in such a way that it helps develop our academic environment, and we will demonstrate how BI’s business subjects are key in meeting industry and society’s challenges. I’m glad to have Amir Sasson on board to help realize these aspirations.” ABOUT

AMIR SASSON Professor Amir Sasson takes an eclectic approach to both life and research. He has lived in five different countries, has travelled for more than a year around the world and continues to do so. He has studied economics, law, management and sociology. He speaks three languages on a daily basis, sometimes all three in one sentence. Questions left unanswered motivates his research endeavours. . Academic degrees 2005, BI Norwegian Business School Ph.D. 2000, BI Norwegian Business School Master of Science 1998, The University of Liverpool, UK. Bachelor Work experience 2015 - Present BI Norwegian Business School, Professor 2008 - 2016 BI Norwegian Business School, Associate Professor 2012 - 2013,Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology, Visiting Scholar 2006 - 2008, University College Dublin, Lecturer 2005 - 2006, BI Norwegian Business School, Associate Professor 2004 - 2004, Stanford University, CA, USA, Visiting Scholar

BI needed someone to coordinate externally funded research projects on a full-time basis? Yes. And also basically to be the middleman between the large research programs from the Research Council and the EU and the specific academics. Because there exists what we call “search costs”, namely the time and effort – it takes time and effort to find research programs. There are always other demands on your time: teaching, research, publishing. The problem at BI is never motivation, it’s about the fact that there are only so many hours in the day. What makes you the right man for this job? I’m not sure I’m the greatest lobbyist ever. But I’m not shy. When I go to meetings, I state my opinion, irrespective of whether people like it or not. I’m a professor and a teacher here, but I’m also very eclectic in my thinking. That might be due to the fact that I’ve studied economics, law and management. And I know the vast majority of the 400 academics here, and what they do. What does the research cooperation look like? The business community and organizations are of vital importance to BI. We educate students who will work for these organizations or work there currently and would like to acquire new competences. Collaboration with these organizations range from education programs to research programs. In relation to research programs, we, together with the organizations, create a system by which we can upgrade research competences (e.g., doctoral candidates or post docs), increase professional networks and acquire and disseminate knowledge relevant to both the funding organizations and society. Where will you look for research programs? There are a quite a few financing operations out there. Horizon 2020, a EU Framework Program, is currently the largest research and innovation program in the world. The Research


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»We can help quite a lot, whether it’s the financing of it, the accounting of it, the business model, strategy or the marketing, business law or even the internal motivation of your employees and incentive systems.« Council also has a large number of industrial and academic projects. BI has always, to a certain extent, been involved in those things, but we have a lot more capacity. Has being involved in externally funded research projects been a “blind spot” for BI? I would say that BI has moved more slowly than other institutions. NTNU, for example, has had a lot of success in this area, and The University of Oslo, too. So it was about time. It’s about being part of the discussions. Programs don’t come out of a void – they’re the results of people meeting and talking. So you meet with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Education and get a sense of what kind of knowledge they would like. Then maybe you get the government to allocate a budget for it. Research programs aren’t established because an administrator woke up in the middle of the night and said “let’s have a program!” They take years of lobbying by everyone who has an interest in them. So in a way, your job is to look a few years ahead? It’s important for BI to look five or ten years ahead. If we’re passive, and just look at what the Research Council decided five years ago, then it might be too late. We’re trying to preempt programs, if you like, so we can be 100% ready on the day they become official. Then we can submit our research plans immediately. Give me an example of what you see when you look five or ten years ahead. The ocean will provide us with even more resources than it does today. For Norway, the ocean equals wealth, and I’m not talking about just fish, gas and oil. We’re moving into new era where we’re looking at ways to industrialize energy from the ocean – wind or waves. Industrializing aqua-culture too. We think very narrowly when it comes to solar energy. There are quite a few opportunities. How will what you do affect business and society? Having research programs that are just about developing technology will not achieve what Norway would like to achieve. You must also be able to translate the technology into the things that the Ministry of Finance cares about: Value creation. That’s where BI comes in. You must have some technology, some innovation, to move forward. Once that is in place, we can help quite a lot, whether it’s the financing of it, the accounting of it, the business model, strategy or the marketing, business law or even the internal motivation of your employees and incentive systems. ■


EXTERNAL RESEARCH FUNDING Amir Sasson’s mission is to impact society by connecting BI’s excellent researchers and thinkers and funding bodies like the Norwegian Research Council, EU, other organizations and private companies. If Norway today extracts oil, gas and fish from its seas, it is important to know what the seas will give Norway in the future, for example energy. This means that the labor market will demand workers and leaders with new set of competences.


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Sopra Steria consultants who have all taken a Master in Organizational Leadership and Psychology at BI. Top from left: Leila Laksiri, Marie Hjermann, Synne Langeland, Vibeke Ødegård, Thomas Nordås, Helene Pederstad Øien, Benedicte Fjellanger, Ingrid Berge, Julie Solberg.Bottom from left: Louise Helliksen, Lily Chen, Espen Haugen.


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Business Profiles

A HUMAN TOUCH Sopra Steria in Oslo, the head office of Scandinavia, is the IT consultancy that has found success in a strong and sharing culture. Words by PER OLSSON | Photographs by BOBO OLSSON ADVANTAGE 37


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Business Profiles

»Our job is not only about building new technology, but about building a new culture.«

SYNNE LANGELAND ➢ AGE: 29 ➢ LIVES: Oslo ➢ TITLE: Business Consultant ➢ PROGRAMME AT BI: MSc in Leadership & Organizational Psychology, 2013 ➢ BEST ABOUT OSLO: Belongingness through friends, church and at work


his elegant office space commands panoramic views of Oslo, on the top floors of Postgirobygget, Norway’s tallest office building. We are at Sopra Steria, one of Scandinavia’s fastest growing IT consultancy firms. The office is quiet. There’s the odd corridor encounter, and customer meetings on the 23rd floor. On the 25th floor, the office opens onto a roof terrace with colourful outdoor

Synne Langeland, Business Consultant, likes that Sopra Steria encourages social networking

furniture and lush-looking plastic greenery. Thomas Nordås, Managing Director of Sopra Steria Business Consulting in Scandinavia, points out some of Oslo’s major landmarks: The Royal Palace, the ski jump at Holmenkollen and the Oslo Fjord. Thomas has been in charge of the Business Consulting department since 2013. Today, his department has 180 consultants, and of these, 13 have a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Psychology from BI. “We have understood that our customers also buy processes. There has been a huge change in our industry over the last three years. Previously, we would be engaged by IT managers. Today, IT consultancy services are needed by all kinds of departments and organizations. Our job is not only about building new technology, it is also about building a new culture within the organisation – one that will be equipped to handle new technology.” Sopra Steria was established in 2014 upon the merger of Sopra Group and Group Steria SCA. The head office is located in Paris, but Scandinavia is managed from Oslo. One of Sopra Steria’s most important cultural expressions is called Power of Sharing. Staff are encouraged to share both good and bad experiences with each other, and this has resulted in creating a solid foundation for trust, openness and humbleness. How would you describe your organisational culture? ”We are motivated by the success of colleagues. Humility is also important. It makes us curious and eager to learn new things, and to learn from each other. We also see each other socially; at a party, while exercising or at work training. This



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A driving force for Thomas Nordås, Managing Director Business Consulting, is to develop people

THOMAS NORDÅS ➢ AGE: 46 ➢ LIVES: Oslo ➢ TITLE: Managing Director Business Consulting ➢ PROGRAM BI: MBA, 2001 ➢ BEST ABOUT OSLO: Close to the mountains and close to the sea Watch the interview on bi.no/alumni


»As a company, we have developed the breadth of our consultancy expertise in recent years. This means that our employees represent a broader competency. For Sopra Steria it is crucial to be able to capitalise on all our skills and we have done this by building a culture of sharing. We call that culture Power of Sharing, and it is based on sharing what we are good at with others. Power of Sharing can be divided into three areas: sharing between our employees, our customers and with society.« THOMAS NORDÅS, Managing Director Business Consulting



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Business Profiles

ESPEN HAUGEN ➢ AGE: 26 ➢ LIVES: Oslo ➢ TITLE: Junior Business Consultant ➢ PROGRAMME AT BI: Bachelor of Media Management and Journalism 2013, MSc in Leadership & Organizational Psychology 2017 ➢ BEST ABOUT OSLO: That it is both urban and close to nature.

Espen Haugen, Junior Business Consultant, on the terrace on the roof of Sopra Steria office

develops both the individual and the group. We have removed all assistants, as we don’t want anyone doing anyone else’s job. We are also very clear about setting individual goals and identifying what motivates each employee. We work with coaching and support at all levels of the organisation and have a comparatively large proportion of managers. One of my own driving forces as leader is to develop the people around me.” You are a French company, but your culture sounds more Scandinavian. ”We are completely independent and have invented our own culture. My desk is situated among everyone elses in the department. This way I can keep track of how we are doing, I’m available and can participate without influencing others work too much. I’m there to help and create structures. Without structures, there is no clear and strong culture. To me, it is absolutely crucial to know where the company pulse is and where we have momentum and can go full speed. There are many competitors out there. How do you manage to find the right people? ”We offer the opportunity to create your own role, based on what you are good at and how much responsibility you want. But it goes without saying that it has helped having been ranked one of the top three workplaces amongst large-scale companies in Norway, three years in a row.”


ynne Langeland, Business Consultant at Sopra Steria since January 2017, also highlights the clear and strong corporate culture. ” There are some incredibly talented people here. There are no partners protecting their own assignments, and we focus on the exchange of knowledge. It really feels like we work for each other. A consultant is often based at the client’s office, with longer periods of time away from the office and colleagues. Sopra Steria works to keep its employees connected through social events, and staff are invited to



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»At Sopra Steria, soft skills are valued just as highly as technology.« take new initiatives. This has helped to build strong networks, and running clubs, book clubs and female networks have been formed.” Half of the IT-consultants in my department are women, which is a good balance. Benedicte Fjellanger, Consulting Manager, was employed when she was seven months pregnant with her first child. “Now I have been selected for an internal management training programme, while carrying number two.” For a long time, Benedicte was convinced that she would not work as a consultant. Instead, she studied sociology, before going on to do her MSc in Leadership and Organizational Psychology at BI. ”I had loads of preconceived ideas about consultants, but here at Sopra Steria I am proved wrong on a daily basis. It’s about teamwork and a culture that makes everyone better. Even though it’s a high-performance job, there are no sharp elbows. There is also no contradiction between technology and organisational development; we all know that they must go hand-in-hand if we are to be successful. It’s a well-known fact that many major IT projects collapse because users haven’t understood how and why to use the technology. At Sopra Steria, soft skills are valued just as highly as technology.”

ect for NAV, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. ”At the moment, I’m absorbing everything and grasping every opportunity. I will do a year as junior consultant, and have plenty of time before I specialise. There is a lot to learn from both clients and colleagues. What have you learned from the corporate culture? ”Being a consultant is sometimes a lonely job, so it’s great that you can always talk to a colleague or manager, regardless of the subject.” ■

BENEDICTE FJELLANGER ➢ AGE: 34 ➢ LIVES: Oslo ➢ TITLE: Consulting Manager ➢ PROGRAMME AT BI: MSc in Leadership & Organizational Psychology 2012 ➢ BEST ABOUT OSLO: It is a tiny capital, but still has a lot to offer: Music, food, nature and a bunch of friendly and open-minded people


spen Haugen was first given the opportunity as a summer intern at Sopra Steria in 2016. He went on to land a position as Junior Business Consultant, before graduating from BI. “ It was easy to say yes to this international company’s one-year consultancy training programme. Here I get to use both the latest technology and organisational theories.” He is already part of a team working with communication and coordination on a large digitalisation proj-

Benedicte Fjellanger, Consulting Manager, has re-evaluated her view of the consulting world



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»My theory is that rules and regulations often are quite vague, and that’s when people take advantage. After a scandal, regulations tend to be tightened.« One of Professor Benny Geys fields of expertise is fiscal federalism. How a country’s public finances are managed at the local levels. Words by PER OLSSON Photographs by MARTE GARMANN

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Benny Geys never planned for an academic career. Still, he became an Associate Professor at 33.

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»Reading fiction has helped my writing. While studying, I read a lot of 19th-century classics, which really inspired me. Today when I write, I try to avoid using too much tricky terminology. Instead I use a rich language to captivate the reader. «

You became an Associate Professor at 33? When did you realise you wanted to work in academia? – It was actually a few years into my PhD, at Vrije Universiteit in Brussels. I didn’t have a plan, like my PhD students do today. In my family, I’m the only academic and I lacked the self-confidence I should have had. What turned things around? – I started my PhD because I liked research. I liked being given a problem to solve, throwing myself into facts to find a pattern that would confirm a thesis. In Brussels, I wrote report after report for my supervisor. It was time-consuming, but after a while I discovered that my analysis was correct more often than not. It became clear that my research actually led somewhere, and that’s when things turned around. I think the reason I like research is that I read a lot as a child. Growing up in the small town of Rijkevorsel in Belgium, I only had access to a small library. After having read all their books for kids and teens, I got myself a library card in a nearby town, and did the same there. Do you still read a lot of fiction? – While studying, I read a lot of 19th-century classics, which inspired me and has helped develop my writing. I try to use a rich language that will captivate the reader, and at the same time avoiding too much tricky terminology.

Do people comment on your style of writing? – Yes, they do. Most people appreciate the way I explain my research. Or at least they say so. One of your research areas is fiscal federalism. Can you elaborate? – It is about how a country’s public finances are managed on more local levels. Which functions and instruments work best when centralised, and which should be decentralised. Research in fiscal federalism is often about how expenditure and revenue are distributed across different political functions. What attracted you, in particular, to this field? – After my PhD in Brussels, I was very lucky to get a position as a researcher at WZB Berlin. A fantastic place, where research is focused on problems that arise in communities in a globalised world. I came from a small and resource-limited university, and in Berlin, for the first time, I was part of a broader context. I stayed for five years – five good years of researching local public finance and local government taxes. What are you researching at the moment? – Right now, I’m writing a report about how public donations are linked to public sector contracts. If donations can lead to advantages.

Benny is one of the most productive researchers in Norway.

Can they? – We have researched a large


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amount of data from the Czech Republic, where we look at the correlation between companies that make donations to a political party and companies that get more profitable getting more profitable commissions from regional governments. The report shows that there are benefits connected to donations. But I don’t think this is unique to the Czech Republic. You read about political scandals everywhere, about people allegedly giving someone advantages, or even benefiting themselves. My theory is that rules and regulations often are quite vague, and that’s when people take advantage. After a scandal, regulations tend to be tightened. It’s an import-

ularly keen on that since it usually leads to a very unbalanced debate. For example, I wrote a research report on Belgian mayors and how their salaries were determined. The decisions were governed by how many citizens lived in the mayor’s area at a specific time. One treshold was 5,000 inhabitants. If there were 4,999, you would be paid less than if there were 5,001. The report examined data dating back to 1977 and showed that the number of inhabitants often rose faster at population thresholds linked to higher mayor wages. My conclusion was that there should be another way of determining salaries, not based on the number of residents. But in-

»Donald Trump is a good example. Vague laws have given him the opportunity to host international political meetings at his own hotels.«

ant debate because it’s about everyone’s money and how it’s spent.

stead, we we created a debate about mayors abusing the system.

When you find a correlation in your research that suggests that something isn’t right, do you take a stand? – No, I don’t. My conclusion is to highlight a certain correlation. A political party may benefit from taking donations from a company, one that’s been commissioned to build a new bridge for example. The bridge building company may be extra efficient and quick, because of the relationship it has with the political descision-makers.

With the EU, there must be a huge amount of data to analyse within your field? – Yes, there is. And with the EU, the amount of data is constantly increasing. Another exciting field for me is local politicians with supplementary incomes. In some geographical areas, there are rules that stipulate how much you’re allowed to earn, but not for how long. This certainly makes for very exciting research. Say a politician is involved in drawing up local regulations, but also runs a law firm. Will this make them a worse politician? Perhaps this person is absolutely perfect for the job, because they will also have good insight into people’s everyday lives in terms of laws and legis-

Since your research often focuses on what takes place at a local level, does it attract attention from the local press? – It happens, but I’m not partic-

lation. But if you don’t have a clear set of regulations that state how much a politician is allowed to earn on the side, you risk getting someone who, instead of being passionate about local politics, uses their position to build networks and market the law firm. Donald Trump is a good example. Vague laws have given him the opportunity to benefit personally, by hosting international political meetings at his own hotels. Every weekend, he can check the giant Presidential entourage into his own golf resorts. Can these vague regulations be found everywhere? – I think most countries have their fair share. Belgium, where I come from, is known for not always using money in the way in which it was intended. In Belgium, fairness across regions is everything, and this can lead to inefficiency when developing the community. If Flanders really needs a new bridge, fairness states that Wallonia must also get something, perhaps a new motorway. Hence, a motorway will be built, even though it isn’t really needed. Belgians refer to is as waffle-iron politics. Have you ever thought of taking a job in the private sector? – No, and that’s probably because there aren’t that many jobs in local public finance and local government taxes. Once you have your PhD, your skill-set is not necessarily optimized for many positions offered by private companies. Research, lectures and networking seem to be a major part of the job of a professor. Which of these are your strengths? – My driving force is research, finding patterns and new answers in large amount of data. On the teaching side, I try to be as accessible to my students as possible. I also appreciate the value of a strong network and work at improving my own networking capabilities. ■


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MORE ABOUT BENNY GEYS ➢ AGE: 40 ➢ LIVES: Oslo ➢ WORKS AS: Professor at the Department of Economics ➢ TEACHES: Micro ­Economics ➢ ACADEMIC DEGREES: 2004 Ph.D at Vrije Universiteit Brussel 2000 MSc in Economics at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven ➢ WORK EXPERIENCE: 2015 – Present BI Norwegian Business School, Professor in Economics 2010 – Present Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Research Professor

2010-2015 BI Norwegian Business School, Associate Professor 2005-2010 WZB Berlin, Senior research fellow

➢ RESEARCH FIELD: Local government per­ formance, intergovern­mental relations and civic engagement ➢ AUTHOR: Proportional Representa­ tion, Political Fragmentation and Political Decision-­ Making: an Economic Analysis, 2004

➢ PUBLISHED: Economic Journal, Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Public Economics, Leadership Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly, European Journal of Political Research and British Journal of Sociology

Benny’s conclusions sometimes start local debates.

➢ AWARDS: Recently ranked number 36 among the top 100 researchers in Norway across all disciplines, and first among economists


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WORLD REPORT News from the world of BI Alumni

Meeting the mind behind the design The latest Annual BI Business Networking Event in Berkeley took place in March, on top of the Memorial Stadium, at Haas Business School. The programme contained networking, idea sharing and learning from top Norwegian designer and entrepreneur Per Selvaag, Principal MONTAAG. Gro Dyrnes,

Regional Director Americas Innovation Norway was also guest speaker. Since 2012, this annual event has brought together over 600 alumni, BI MBA students and collaborators, helping to facilitate a stronger connection for our students and alumni alike.


Aasebø with Elisabeth Seim, Director at campus Bergen

Fredrik Aasebø received this year’s “Young Alumni Award” at the BI Alumni Day – campus Bergen. He received the award for his accomplishments as CEO in Norwegian Red Cross First Aid AS. Under his leadership, the company has become one of the country’s leading suppliers of first aid, safety and preparedness courses. Aasebø has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Communication from BI in addition to a specialization in Sales Management and Personal Sales.

BI Business Networking Event on the roof top of Memorial Stadium in Berkeley

IN NEED OF A TOOLBOX? The seminar series Lederens verktøykasse (Leaders toolbox) gives you tools you can use directly in your work. Join this networking group to receive information to future events at campus Oslo. alumni.bi.no


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JOINT INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS SCHOOL ALUMNI EVENT BI and seven other triple crown accredited business schools hosted a joint alumni in London in June. Over 200 alumni representing this global network enjoyed meeting colleagues from their alma maters, in addition to making new contacts from across the alumni networks. UK based alumni shared insightful key learnings on how to thrive in a new business and cultural environment. Representing BI was Anne-Lise Johnsen, Youth and Sports Marketing Specialist at Arsenal FC. She won Young Marketing Leader of the Year 2016 from the Marketing Society UK. Her team were also awarded Best Fan Engagement Programme in Sports, Sports Business Awards, 2017.


ABOVE: Graeme Cooper EMBA 2016 in conversation with Sergio Castedo EMBA 2006 LEFT: Anne-Lise Johnsen, Young Marketing Leader of the Year 2016

Eivind Roald, SAS

Log on to alumni.bi.no and synchronize your existing LinkedIn account with your BI Alumni profile.


31 brand new BI alumni

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BBA CLASS OF `17 The BBA closing Ceremony in June brought the class together for the last time before the official graduation in September. Welcome to the BI Alumni network!

‌ to a profitable lifestyle company was the headline for Lederskolen (the Leadership Academy) at campus Stavanger this September. Alumnus Eivind Roald Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Office SAS gave alumni and members of the business community in Stavanger insight into how SAS has carried out one of the Nordic region’s biggest turnarounds and what steps have been taken in order to build a financially strong SAS. Lederskolen, a collaboration between BI and Stavanger Chamber of Commerce, is held 6-8 times per year. It is free of charge for alumni, so keep your profile up to date to receive invitations.


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WORLD REPORT GREAT CHINA DAY Before the summer BI hosted China Day together with NHO and Abelia and Fudan University, at campus Oslo. The programme included prominent speakers and a panel debate. Alumni and guests also enjoyed a taste of China through food and culture at the China Market exhibition. Graduating students from the BI-Fudan MBA programme had the opportunity to meet with Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at campus Oslo

GLOBAL COMMUNITY! Join international alumni communities at alumni.bi.no: Belgium • China • Denmark • France Germany • Iceland • Netherlands ­Norway • Romania • Russia • Singapore Spain • Sweden • Switzerland • Ukraine United Kingdom • United States • Vietnam

YEARLY MEET IN MADRID Alumni in Madrid, our BI-Fudan MBA and Executive MBA students attending IE Business School, colleagues from IE and guests enjoyed the yearly BI Business Networking Reception in Madrid. The event took place at the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence in June 2017. Håkon Bruaset Kjøl received the Best student award

STRENGTHENING TIES IN HAMBURG BI teamed up with Innovation Norway in Hamburg for this latest event. Innovation Norway’s Tim Genge gave alumni insight into the initiatives and sectors IN is focusing on in order to strengthen the business relations between Norway and Germany. Following the event, Alumni enjoyed an active discussion at a networking reception held at the Innovation Norway offices. Creating new opportunities between Norway and Germany



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Associate professor at BI Øyvind Kvalnes

FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR ICELAND After the bank collapse in Iceland, individuals and organizations in the country have had reason to rethink the ethical dimensions of their activities. At the September joint alumni event in Reykjavik, Øyvind Kvalnes, BI and Ketill Berg Magnusson, Reykjavik University discussed the extent to which responsible leadership is now in place in Iceland, and where the current and future challenges lie.

ALUMNI SUMMER GATHERING BUCHAREST Alumni in the Bucharest community gathered for this after work alumni networking dinner in July. The next alumni event in Bucharest is scheduled for November 2017 and will be hosted by the Head of Alumni Relations, Barbro Kolbjørnsrud.

FREE ACCESS TO ACADEMIC JOURNALS Alumni membership gives you free access to top academic journals in all subject areas. You can also read trade- and business magazines. Download from alumni.bi.no.


Alumni experts met in Copenhagen

President Inge Jan Henjesand attended the Spring BI Alumni Copenhagen Reception in March. Alumni, representatives of Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy in Copenhagen attended the event. Join the Denmark community and keep your profile up to date to receive invitations to our regular events in Copenhagen.


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The World of Energy – a Global Challenge

Start up: March 2018 bi.edu/emme

Executive Master of Management in Energy is a programme designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of key energy issues and improve your analytical and managerial skills. Shape your future with a master’s degree designed to develop your comprehensive understanding of key energy issues. A cooperation between BI Norwegian Business School and IFP School in Paris. OIL & GAS – ELECTRICITY – RENEWABLES

Profile for BI Norwegian Business School

Advantage #2 2017  

Advantage #2 2017