#1 A magazine from USBE Umeå School of Business & Economics
A magazine from USBE Umeå School of Business & Economics
Elena’s two hometowns The Perugian professor who loves Umeå
Scaling Mount Everest How are decisions made in extreme environments?
“The whole of Africa is poised for incredible growth” Longstanding cooperation with Tanzania
”We want to bring the world here!” The multinational Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics
Xavier leads innovative statistical research Register-based research may have considerable societal implications
The New Altitude meå School of Business and Economics (USBE) was established 25 years ago, through significant and active support from the business community within the region. Today, we are an integral part of Umeå University, with clear responsibility for our three main tasks: education, research and cooperation with business. USBE has achieved a high level of internationalisation in terms of student exchanges with our many partner universities abroad and our international recruitment of researchers, faculty and students. USBE features a genuinely international working environment, where researchers and faculty from different countries contribute towards a diverse cultural learning situation. The school has become an exciting international meeting place for researchers and students.
In 2012, USBE introduced a new organisation in which core competencies within the various fields of business administration were strengthened with the addition of economics and statistics. We have thereby broadened our education programmes and deepened the central research areas in our interaction with society. This broader expertise has also made interdisciplinary focuses possible within subjects such as Finance, in which Corporate Finance has been strengthened with Financial Economics and Economometrics. USBE is home to strong research within a large number of fields, and a sustainability profile characterises many of these areas. We bring together Europe’s most prominent research teams within environmental and natural resource economics to evaluate the effects of various policy instruments. We have also led the world’s largest sustainable asset
management programme, in order to assess the economic outcome of different types of sustainable and responsible investment strategies. The Research Institute for Sustainability and Ethics in Business has more of an overall business economics responsibility when it comes to supporting and developing research activities relating to sustainability and ethics in business-related decision-making. This research provides us with a sound basis for increasing the sustainability element within education and cooperation. The education should feature values based on longterm value creation and sustainable business and social development. The economists and managers of the future will take these values with them when they leave us to join the labour market. When it comes to our third task of collaborating with business and society, we are keen to support new business and business models with our sustainability expertise. Collaboration with the private sector, the public sector and our partner universities is of great importance in order for the school to provide advanced education. In this collaboration, we evaluate our course offering continuously to ensure that it stays relevant and corresponds to the future challenges that our students will encounter. It is incredibly valuable for our students to gain an insight into real problems and thereby gain practical experience and contacts, as well as an idea of the kind of work their education might lead to. Umeå is one of Sweden’s fastest growing cities, and is easily reached from around the world. Exciting new things are always happening here. For example, Umeå will be a European Capital of Culture in 2014. All this helps to make the city a fascinating meeting place that contributes towards the future-oriented development of our region, and this is something that USBE also wants to be part of.
Lars G Hassel, Rector
An international character at all departments
From a ducal town to the City of Birches
External partners boost retail and supply chain management research
Scholarship to France
The multinational Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics
Major player gets involved at USBE
New network for students
In great demand in the job market
Sustainability and ethics move up the agenda
What impact does childhood have on lifelong health?
Markus scales Mount Everest
Top marks in national agency’s evaluation
Komatsu Forest forges contacts with future employees
Award-winning researcher improves tests
28 Kaya enjoys the changing seasons in Umeå
From 19th century child auctions to modern-day elderly care procurement
Conferences attract visitors from far and wide
Helping students to study abroad
Tanzanian researchers make progress
Maximilian chairs the university’s biggest student association
Perugia and Umeå have lots to learn from each other
What happens when companies compete and cooperate at the same time?
Meet Hannah Öst, editor-in-chief of Ekbladet
Altitude is a magazine from the Umeå School of Business and Economics at Umeå University. Find out more about the business school at www.usbe.umu.se Legally responsible publisher: Lars G Hassel Editor: Susanne Schmidt
Culture: a springboard for growth
Production/texts: Plakat Printing: Joma Grafisk Produktion Cover photo: Andreas Nilsson Photography: Malin Andersson, Elin Berge, Mats Bäcker, Patrick Degerman, Marie Holmberg, Rickard Lindberg, Mikael Lundgren, Andreas Nilsson, Mattias Pettersson, Erik Trysberg, Gösta Wendelius Illustration on page 12: Pia Koskela
Do you have any views on the content of this magazine? If so, please contact: Susanne Schmidt, tel. +46 (0)90 786 56 42, e-mail susanne.schmidt@ usbe.umu.se
2,000 students from all around the world USBE is home to more than 2,000 students from around the world. The school offers education at first-, second- and third-cycle levels, and there are a number of internationally established research environments. Operations are carried out within three departments – business administration, economics and statistics – all of which have an international character. At the Department of Business Administration, comprising 80 faculty and administrators, research and teaching is performed within the sub-disciplines of Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Management and Marketing. Across these disciplines, strong research forms two research profiles: Projects, Innovations and Networks (PIN), and the Research Institute for Sustainability and Ethics in Business (RiseB). Researchers from the department also lead the international Sustainable Investments Research Platform (SIRP).
Many exchange students The department hosts four 4-year programmes resulting in a degree of Master of Science in Business and Economics and five master’s programmes. It is also a partner in the Master’s Program in Strategic Project Management, an Erasmus Mundus programme. The education is international, and all courses at second-cycle level, most courses during the third year and the 4-year International Business Program are taught in English. The broad range of courses held in English annually attracts a large number of exchange students. In addition to its own programmes, the department is involved in a large number of other first-cycle programmes at Umeå University. The department actively engages in corporate and community collaboration, for example in the form of commissioned education, joint research projects, internships and via the Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation. The department also has extensive experience from strategic development programmes focusing on SMEs and other organisations.
A global meeting place Today, the Department of Economics is a meeting place for researchers and students from Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. From autumn 2012 onwards, the entire course offering can be studied in English. International students and 04
faculty members can be found at all levels. The department has also become increasingly international as a workplace. Of the fifty or so employees connected to the department, more than a quarter come from outside the Nordic region. As a result, English is the most commonly used language. Research is carried out within several of the main fields of Economics. The key areas are Public Economics (including issues relating to taxation, public procurement, and municipal and regional aspects), Environmental and Resource Economics (including the Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics, CERE, which was created by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Umeå University), Labour Economics and Econometrics.
Jessica Eriksson, Associate Head of Department, Business Administration.
Developing new statistical methods The staff at the department of Statistics includes about 30 persons who work with teaching, research and collaboration. The aim of the department, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is to equip students with both basic and more in-depth statistical knowledge. It is therefore of great value that those who work at the department today have an interest in both teaching and research. This means that students can benefit from high quality teaching provided by committed faculty members with a close link to the research being carried out within the subject. The main focus of the department’s research is the development of new statistical methods that are required in order to analyse register data, which is often collected over time. Most of those who work at the department collaborate with national and international researchers in other disciplines, such as Demographics, Economics, Medicine, Psychology and Forestry, and this collaboration is of great importance to the department. One form of collaboration is throught consulting which often leads to new ventures of teaching new student groups and initiate new research projects, both within and outside the university.
Kenneth Backlund, Associate Head of Department, Economics.
Ingrid Svensson, Associate Head of Department, Statistics.
“It’s only natural for us to be involved”
Apply for a scholarship to study in France Are you a student or researcher at USBE and keen to spend time in a French-speaking country? If so, you can apply for a scholarship from the Per & Eivor Wikström Foundation. “My father thought there was too much emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon world, so he started the foundation to increase exchanges with French-speaking countries,” explains Carl Wikström, who is on the board of the foundation. The foundation was established in 1996, and has helped hundreds of students and researchers to spend time in locations such as Marseilles and Grenoble. The size of the scholarships varies, from SEK 10,000 per semester to considerably larger amounts for research which have been awarded over the years. After their time abroad, recipients are expected to write a couple of pages about their experiences. “The overall impression is that seeing new university environments in another country and gaining new insights is an enriching experience,” continues Carl. Some scholarship recipients have gone on to get jobs and remain in France. Businessman Per Wikström decided to
link his foundation to Umeå School of Business and Economics because a significant portion of his business was based in Västerbotten. He had been on the board of Masonite AB in Nordmaling for many years, and was MD of the Masonite Group’s subsidiary P. Wikström Jr AB, a trading house specialising in sawn timber and other building materials. The Wikström family is still active in Nordmaling through P. Wikström Jr AB, which owns Olofsfors AB, a world-leading manufacturer of tracks for forest machines.
Interested in applying? Find out more at http://www.usbe.umu. se/internationalisering/stiftelse/
In 1989, Handelsbanken supported the creation of USBE. The two parties have enjoyed close cooperation ever since. Today, Olof Lindstrand – adviser to Handelsbanken’s management – is the school’s Chairman of the Board. When USBE was formed in the late 1980s, it received financial backing from a number of different companies. One of these was the bank Handelsbanken, which was also awarded a place on the school’s board. Since then, the bank’s involvement has evolved into close cooperation. “Over the years, Handelsbanken has donated funding for a professorship in Finance, and our various research foundations have supported many research projects within USBE,”says Olof Lindstrand. Lindstrand became the school’s Chairman of the Board a year ago. During his first year, the board has decided that the school should begin a quality assurance process in the form of accreditation. The board has also decided that the school should adopt a sustainability profile, with key steps including the introduction of an environmental management system and application for certification. “We are doing this to sharpen USBE’s profile,” he explains. According to Lindstrand, the school’s students study subjects that are relevant to the bank. Some students may therefore be employed directly by the bank, while others will be employed by the bank’s key customers. “As a large regional player, it’s only natural for us to be involved in USBE.” 05
USBE is home to more than 2,000 students. The school offers education at first-, second- and third-cycle levels within Business Administration, Economics and Statistics, and attracts students from all around the world.
Education that attracts businesses
Even before graduating, USBE’s students are in high demand in the job market. Undergraduate student Sahar Bokharaei, who is studying on the Retail and Supply Chain Management Programme, suggests an explanation for this: “We get an overall picture of businesses, instead of detailed knowledge within a limited area.” Although Sahar is still studying at USBE, she has already had the opportunity to work within her future profession. Last summer, she worked at Volvo Powertrain in Gothenburg and was involved in four projects. For example, she learned how to carry out a sustainability assessment when choosing suppliers. Sahar explains that USBE’s students get an overall view of how organisations work. This enables them to solve underlying problems that arise, whatever specialisation they have chosen.
A semester in Finland During their studies, students do of course hone their expertise. In Sahar’s case, this involved an exchange semester in Finland where her studies included logistics at second-cycle level. She doesn’t regret not spending her exchange semester somewhere more exotic than Finland. “The advantage of studying in the Nordic region is that the same standards and attitudes apply. You don’t have to adapt to the study culture before getting stuck in with your studies.”
Guest talks from alumni However, students don’t need to travel very far to learn about the world of business, since the school offers a variety of guest lectures and inspiration days. “For example, alumni have given talks about their career paths.”
Education offered by USBE At USBE, students can choose between a number of programmes on different educational levels.They also have the option of creating a unique degree by combining single subject courses.
Undergraduate and Graduate Programmes The Statistics programme 180 ECTS The Study Programme in Business Administration and Economics 240 ECTS The International Business Programme (IBP) 240 ECTS The Service Management Programme 240 ECTS The Retail and Supply Chain Management Programme 240 ECTS Master’s Programme in Accounting 120 ECTS Master’s Programme in Business Development and Internationalisation 120 ECTS Master’s Programme in Economics 120 ECTS Master’s Programme in Finance 120 ECTS Master’s Programme in Management 120 ECTS Master’s Programme in Marketing 120 ECTS Master’s Programme in Strategic Project Management 90 ECTS (A Joint program offered together with Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and Politecnico de Milan in Italy)
Doctoral Programmes Doctorial Education involves four years of full-time study, and comprises a course element and a thesis element. Admission to doctoral education takes place after advertising available positions. Doctoral Programme in Business Administration Doctoral Programme in Economics Doctoral Programme in Statistics
Single Subject Courses USBE offers a wide range of courses within Business Administration, Economics and Statistics, in both Swedish and English. Some of the courses given in Swedish are online courses.
Commissioned Education USBE provides tailor-made education for businesses, organisations and authorities.
Close contact with business Komatsu Forest, a world-leading manufacturer of forest machines, is one company with which USBE enjoys a close relationship. Over the years, the company’s collaboration with USBE has involved everything from research projects and undergraduate theses to study visits and internships. “We both compete in an international market, and can help each other to keep pace,” says Roland Lundqvist, Chief Information Officer at Komatsu Forest. Komatsu Forest is one of the Umeå region’s larger companies, and has a clear international focus. The company operates worldwide, and is therefore an interesting business for both students and researchers. “Many of those who come here to study move back south afterwards to work internationally,” says Roland Lundqvist. “But there are also opportunities here in Umeå. The forest industry is strong in this region, and Cranab, Indexator and Olofsfors also have significant export operations. And Ålö, which manufactures agricultural front loaders, has a presence in more than forty different countries.”
The workforce of the future Komatsu Forest is always interested in recruiting skilled employees, and one benefit of the company’s relationship with USBE is contact with potential future workers. “Many students have an international outlook, and are therefore particularly interesting to us.” For students, the relationship represents an opportunity to gain experience of realistic case studies and to take a close look at professional life. Over the years, USBE students have completed a number of theses and dissertations on the company. “We can normally find case studies within our operations that are relevant to both us and students.”
Popular study visits Study visits are another popular aspect of this collaboration. On occasions Komatsu has been
able to accommodate up to 80 visitors at the same time, giving them a tour and an insight into how things work in reality. The company has also accepted students on internships from USBE. “An internship is an ideal opportunity for us to test the recruitment process and to find out whether an individual is a good fit for us. But internships are dependent on time constraints. Treating an intern professionally requires resources, and this isn’t always possible in our streamlined organisation.”
Researching the information flow Komatsu is one of several companies currently taking part in a research project coordinated by USBE on Competitive Intelligence. The project involves researchers studying the information flow within Komatsu, seeing how the company obtains external information and converts this into information for operational use. “The project has only just started, but I think it will be extremely interesting. A lot of this information relates to our gut feeling – how we react to the various signals we receive. It’ll be fascinating to see whether there is any kind of structure within the information flow, and if we can learn anything from this.”
Different worlds come together Roland says that the cooperation between Komatsu and USBE is based on a long-term relationship, and that the parties understand that they work in different worlds. “Within business, we have to be operative, effective and hands-on. Things move quickly,
and answers are needed immediately. Within academia, it’s a matter of learning things from scratch, thoroughly and methodically. This also means that linguistic usage is different in business compared with academia.” In order to develop this cooperation, Roland believes it is important that USBE continues to have committed individuals who understand how industry works. “We, in turn, must be sensitive to what students are looking for, and must make the effort to be visible in their arenas, such as Uniaden, the university’s main annual careers fair, if we are to attract applicants and compete for the highly trained workforce of the future.”
About Komatsu Forest Komatsu Forest is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of forest machines, and is headquartered in Umeå. The company has around 1,300 employees, of whom 370 work in Umeå where the majority of production and technological development is carried out. Since 2004, Komatsu Forest has been part of the Japanese group Komatsu, the world’s second largest manufacturer of mining equipment, forest machines and industrial machinery, with around 30,000 employees and sales of approximately USD 13 billion.
he editorial team caught up with Kaya at a café in the centre of Umeå, and it didn’t take long before she mentioned her love for the city, which she will be sad to leave this summer when she completes her Master’s degree. “Although it’s not a particularly large city, it has everything I need. I felt at home almost immediately. I think that has something to do with the atmosphere here in Umeå. And I like the fact that there’s always plenty going on. It has the feel of a young, forward-looking student town.”
A globetrotter T who feels at home in Umeå
A fan of small cities
Kaya van Enckevort, from Arnhem in the Netherlands, is a real globetrotter. Before starting USBE’s Master’s programme, she studied and worked in Norway, Australia and New Zealand. Kaya is now very much at home in Umeå where, as well as studying, she also represents her fellow students on USBE’s programme committee. “Umeå is exotic. I love the contrasts between the seasons.”
Kaya van Enckevort believes that students in Umeå have a close relationship with their teachers. Discussing matters with faculty is easy, and there’s no real hierarchy.
Kaya has a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Management from Arnhem Business School in the Netherlands. And she certainly is an international type, through and through. During her studies in the Netherlands, she spent a semester studying international marketing in Norway and completed her degree project at the Nomads Hervey Bay hotel in Australia. She also carried out an apprenticeship at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in New Zealand. “I love travelling and seeing new places. Perhaps I’m looking for a place where I feel at
home. I prefer small cities to large ones – it’s easier to have a social life.” She ended up in Umeå both by chance and as a logical continuation of her global exploration. “I love Scandinavia. During my time in Norway – where I studied in Rena, a small town of 2,000 inhabitants about 70 kilometres from Oslo – I met a professor who knew people up in Umeå and recommended the city.”
A university with an excellent reputation After studying in Norway, however, Kaya first continued her studies in Arnhem and travelled to New Zealand and Australia, before finally reaching Umeå in 2012. “I knew that the university had an excellent reputation, and I found useful information about the Master’s programme on the university’s website. Otherwise, all I knew about Umeå was that it’s cold and dark in the winter and incredibly light in the summer. And that’s certainly true. I think it’s really cool that there are such dramatic contrasts between the seasons.” In terms of studying, Kaya believes that Umeå and Sweden differ from many other European universities. “Elsewhere in Europe, you study all subjects in parallel during your education, so your attention gets split up. In Umeå, the focus
is on one subject at a time, and that suits me better. In the Netherlands, for example, Master courses have generally a strong theoretical focus, whereas in Umeå there’s a better balance between theory and practice. I’ll benefit from that in my professional life. And I like the fact that the faculty and students are on the same level here. It’s easy to contact teaching staff to discuss matters. It’s a flat organisation, and there’s no real hierarchy.”
A link between the school and the students Since coming to Umeå and USBE, Kaya has been on the school’s programme committee. There, she acts as a link between the students on all seven Master’s programmes and the school, and monitors issues such as the quality of the education. “I’m a bit like a spider in the web. I ensure that the right people discuss the right issues relating to the programme. The school’s management listens to our views, and we students can really influence the education through the programme committee. For me, as an international student, it’s also been a great way of getting to know about the university’s operations and finding out what’s happening. Otherwise, it would have been easy to focus just on my studies and end up being a little isolated.”
Kaya believes that all the education is of a high standard, and that it is constantly becoming even better. If there’s something she could change, it would be the grading system. She would prefer a system with a more international grading scale. “It’s a big thing to change, but discussions are under way and I hope they’ll result in a change.”
Yoga, squash and barbecues When Kaya isn’t studying or working on USBE’s programme committee, she spends a lot of time at the IKSU sports facility, which is one of the largest in Europe. “IKSU is perfect! It’s so nice to take a break from studying a few times a week, and do something different to clear my head. I normally run on the treadmill, do yoga or play squash. Squash is a great way to take out your aggression!” Another of Kaya’s favourite places in Umeå is Lake Nydala, which she likes to walk around to clear her thoughts, as well as enjoying barbecues in warmer weather. “And we also have lots of house parties. As students, we often don’t have much money left over for having fun, and it’s cheaper than going out. When I do go out, it’s often to one of the student pubs.”
The benefits of studying in another country
“All our students should seize the chance to go abroad during their studies. It’s the perfect opportunity for them.” So says Monica Palmqvist, International Coordinator at Umeå School of Business and Economics. Each year she and her colleagues help around 150 students to head out into the world – and welcome just as many visiting students. SBE works intensively on its goal-driven approach to internationalisation. While at Umeå University, the business students are the ones most likely to study abroad and USBE has partner universities across the globe. “A great deal of effort has gone into our exchange collaborations. Without this focus on internationalisation, we wouldn’t be competitive either nationally or internationally,” asserts Monica Palmqvist.
Umeå – best in Sweden She has been involved in exchange work at USBE for over 10 years and shares responsibility for Umeå University’s excellent grades in the International Student Barometer – a survey completed by international students when having finished their studies. In the barometer, Umeå University tops the Swedish list in several areas – including quality of education and introduction. “We’re pleased, of course,” says Monica. “The International Office works hard with the university’s buddy programme, which helps international students settle into their new environment as quickly as possible. They go on trips around the region together, bake Swedish cakes and get together for various social events and so on.”
Highly valued by employers Many of the students choose to study abroad twice during their time at USBE. In Monica Palmqvist’s experience, the students’ first time is often about a change of scene and trying something new. The second time they go abroad, they are usually more focused on the academic quality of the courses. “Various surveys show that experience of living abroad is highly valued by employers. It’s an excellent thing to have on your CV,” she says. But of course there are many other benefits to spending a semester abroad – familiarizing yourself with a new language, a different culture and a different educational system, making new contacts and building networks for the future.
“In many cases the personal development is just as important as the academic progress.” USBE has around 70 of its own exchange agreements with other universities around the world. Many of these have high tuition fees, which domestic students and those travelling and studying independently (known as free movers) have to pay. But within the framework of an exchange agreement, studying is free. “That’s a fantastic benefit, and as an exchange student you also receive grants and loans from CSN, just like at home,” explains Monica.
No regrets Around 150 exchange students per year come to USBE, and more or less the same number from Sweden travel abroad. Despite thousands of students having chosen to travel abroad over the years, Monica Palmqvist has never met anyone who regrets their choice. “It’s an invaluable experience that stays with you your whole life – even if it’s not a bed of roses all the time. Going on an exchange is quite straightforward, with systems in place at each end to help you along the way. Students are often assigned a ‘buddy’ to help with practical matters, and they get help with accommodation and extra money in the form of a scholarship. We’d like to see even more people taking up the chance to study abroad!”
“Various surveys show that experience of living abroad is highly valued by employers,” says Monica Palmqvist, International Coordinator at USBE
Perugian professor with her eye on hidden variables
Elena Stanghellini is Professor of Statistics at the University of Perugia – but also, at least since 2008, a familiar face at USBE and its Department of Statistics. She visits Umeå a couple of times a year in her capacity as lecturer, guest researcher and student supervisor. “Perugia and Umeå have a lot to learn from each other. I hope we can set up an exchange between students and researchers at the two institutions this year,” she says.
lena’s story of how she ended up in Umeå shows just how international the world of academia is today. At a 2005 conference in North Carolina, USA she fell into conversation with Xavier de Luna, Professor of Statistics at USBE. It turned out they were in similar fields of research and this eventually led to Elena being invited to examine a doctoral thesis in Umeå. “I clearly remember the first time I flew to Umeå from Stockholm,” laughs Elena. “I just saw water and forest everywhere outside the window and wondered what I’d got myself into and whether I was on my way to the ends of the earth. But I quickly felt right at home. I received a warm welcome and was inspired by all the activity in my field.”
Dreams about Umeå Since 2008, Elena has come to Umeå a few times a year, usually for two or three weeks. When we talk to her she is in Perugia, but tells us that she dreamt about Umeå the night before the interview. “It’s become my second home and I hope to return soon, probably in the autumn. On my last visit I got to make candles for the first time 14
“I just saw water and forest everywhere outside the window and wondered what I’d got myself into and whether I was on my way to the ends of the earth. But I quickly felt right at home.”
in my life, which was very interesting.” Elena has built up a wide circle of friends in Umeå over just a few years. When she is here, she socialises a lot with them, but also likes cycling (in the summer), going to the cinema and attending NorrlandsOperan’s performances and concerts. “I’m amazed by the lack of traffic in Umeå. I can cycle on the road with the cars and cross the street without risking being run over. It’s not like that in Perugia.”
Italy versus Sweden With her insight into academic life in Perugia and Umeå, Elena believes both can learn from each other. She describes Umeå University as more structured than Perugia, with the teaching focused more on the students going on to become researchers. She also thinks that the students are a more homogeneous group in Sweden. It’s easy to understand which background they are from and what level they are at when they begin university. In Italy there is much greater variation in the students’ level of understanding, which requires more work on the part of a lecturer. Elena believes that teaching has a greater emphasis in Perugia than in Umeå.
“Generally speaking, the students in Italy are a little more undisciplined and extrovert, and lectures can be a bit livelier in Perugia than in Umeå.” Elena is working with colleagues in Umeå to set up an exchange between the two universities, with the first step possible this year through the EU-funded Erasmus programme. “Sharing experiences and collaborating would benefit everyone, not least the students. In today’s globalised world, it’s more important than ever to be comfortable moving in international circles from an early stage.”
Teaching more and more Elena obtained her doctorate in 1995 and was entirely focused on research during the first few years of her academic career. However, over time she has started doing more teaching, including on her visits to Umeå, where she is a popular lecturer. “I just love teaching. The interaction with the students is rewarding and worthwhile. I learn a lot from the way they behave. And getting to shape a new generation of statisticians feels both exciting and meaningful.” On the question of what she is most proud
“Umeå has become a second home to me,” says Elena Stanghellini, Professor of Statistics at the University of Perugia.
Elena Stanghellini loves going to NorrlandsOperan when she’s in Umeå. This picture is from a performance of La Bohème.
of so far in her years as a statistician, she replies: “I’ve certainly come up with some results that are original and interesting, but I’d prefer to be able to say that I’ve influenced many people, opened their eyes, got them to realise how important statistics are in understanding our modern world. That’s what I’d like to achieve through my teaching.”
Homelessness and sustainability Elena has produced a prodigious amount of research since 1995, with her main focus on applied statistics. Much of her research is based on graphic Markov models and how they can be used. These models are employed to determine the probability of future actions based on previous actions – for example, the probability that I will eat a particular meal tomorrow based on what I ate today. Over the years, the models have been applied in both social science and economic research. Elena’s own twist on these models is the matter of hidden variables, or how the models account for information not apparent in the underlying data. “Recently, these have been used in trying to estimate how many homeless people there are in Italy. There are more than the statistics 16
show, and research using my methods takes account of this latent factor.” Between 2010 and 2012, Elena was involved in the major international research project SIRP (Sustainable Investment Research Platform), which included researchers from a range of different disciplines. As part of SIRP, Elena published a report titled ‘How to measure sustainability?’, in which she shows how statistics can be used to help measure how sustainably – in both social and environmental terms – a company is operating. “Measuring sustainability is highly complex, with so many factors to take into account, and the research is still in its infancy. We don’t yet know which statistical model is most reliable. It may be that we have to combine different models.”
Personal development in Umeå’s research environment Doctoral student Stefanie Heidrich swapped the ducal town of Wolfenbüttel in Germany for the City of Birches, and she is glad she did. “I get great supervision here, there’s lots of snow and I’ve made many new friends,” she says. Stefanie Heidrich comes from the town of Wolfenbüttel in the German state of Niedersachsen. The population is around 55,000 and an impressive ducal castle bears testament to the town’s history. Wolfenbüttel is a beautiful place with its broad avenues and large squares, and it attracts many tourists every year. It is also home to the classic après-ski drink Jägermeister. Stefanie Heidrich moved to Uppsala four years ago to study on a Master’s Degree course at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). She studied economics and environmental economics, and was then invited to become a doctoral student. She decided to stay in Sweden and after one year of doctoral studies she applied to Umeå. “It was a good choice. Umeå is a lovely city with so many fun and interesting people,” she says.
Discussions on the job The thesis she is working on relates to public economics, which involves studying the state’s role in the economy. “At the moment, my supervisors and I are working on a theoretical model studying optimal taxation when individuals make educational choices under the influence of social norms,” explains Stefanie. She enjoys teaching, discussing and learning new things, all of which she gets to do on a daily basis. “It’s fantastic. I’m doing exactly what I’m most interested in. It’s just what I would want from a job. As a doctoral student, you often
“The climate is the biggest difference between Germany and Umeå,” says doctoral student Stefanie Heidrich.
become a mini-expert in one field. But by being part of a wider research environment and talking to other researchers, you’re always developing your knowledge across a broader front.” She is committed to her work and readily becomes absorbed in her research. “But it’s important to take a break and clear your head occasionally. For that I usually go to spinning or dance classes, or head to the gym. I also love music and play the piano and guitar.” Since Stefanie Heidrich came to Sweden, she has learned to skate and cross-country ski. “It’s great fun. Swedes learn it all at school as a matter of course, but that’s not the case in Germany. We have a different climate and it isn’t as cold. I wouldn’t have the nerve to try downhill skiing though, it looks dangerous.”
Never seen so much snow In fact, it is the climate that she thinks is the biggest difference between Wolfenbüttel and Umeå. “Looking out the window, there are huge piles of snow everywhere. I’ve never seen so much snow.” Every year she travels home to Germany for Christmas and for two weeks in the summer. However, this summer her mother and two sisters are coming to visit her in Sweden. “They’re going to have a proper Swedish holiday. Or at least the kind of holiday all the Germans think Swedes have: in a little red cottage by a lake with a beach. Most German children read Astrid Lindgren’s books and that’s where they get their view of Sweden from,” laughs Stefanie.
USBE has around 90 lecturers and researchers with PhDs. They have an extensive network of contacts, work in internationally established research environments and are experts in Business Administration, Economics and Statistics.
Attracting researchers from around the world
“We want to bring the world here!” So says Professor Runar Brännlund, one of the driving forces behind CERE, the Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics, at USBE. “We want the best talent going, and we can’t stop at Umeå or Sweden’s borders.” unar Brännlund is a researcher in environmental and resource economics. He spent many years working at the Department of Economics, which brought him into close contact with colleagues at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Eventually, he decided it was a waste of time running between the two all the time. “I said to my research colleague Bengt Kriström at SLU that we should join forces,” says Runar Brännlund.
No sooner said than done. They presented their idea to each university, received approval and set about establishing CERE. The centre became a reality in December 2009. “We borrowed a lot from Umeå Plant Science Centre in the natural science field. It’s exactly the same arrangement, with two universities and their researchers pooling resources,” explains Runar. The strategy for CERE is crystal clear. Firstly, the team should be large and physically located in one place. Secondly, there should be an intellectual flow, with CERE constantly at-
“Wherever a person comes from, we’re all basically the same. That’s great to see.” tracting new personnel and interesting people for short and medium-term research postings. Thirdly, CERE should recruit internationally. “Umeå is a small and peripheral place, but we want to attract the very best, which means casting our net beyond Umeå or Sweden. We want to bring the world here! And we’re attracting attention – we’ve had 60 to 80 applications for each post, from China in the East to California in the West,” says Runar.
English is the lingua franca There are currently around 30 people working at CERE, representing many different nationalities: Dutch, Irish, American, British, South African, Turkish, Mexican and so on. As such, English is very much the lead language at CERE. “It’s exciting and almost comical at times. Wherever a person comes from, we’re all basically the same. That’s great to see,” laughs Runar. From its inception in 2009 to the present, CERE has been in something of a development phase. Two universities have had to merge into a single unit, which has caused a few headaches – primarily on the administrative front. How will the telephones be connected? Which university should be invoiced for shared expenses? “All this has started settling down now and we’ve transitioned to a consolidation phase where we can look to the future,” says Runar. CERE has probably the greatest concentration of resource economists in Europe, which means that USBE has become something of a hub for sustainable development. This makes the research at the school of interest to other research constellations in Europe when it comes to EU funding and other projects. “We’re now able to attract more resources than would have been possible individually.” CERE’s goal is to take its research out into the world, reaching decision-makers and the general public.
“I have to say I think we’ve succeeded. In 2012 alone, CERE published more than 30 papers in international journals, five books and countless conference papers and book chapters,” says Runar.
Among Sweden’s most influential figures CERE is also extremely effective in engaging with the outside world, led by Runar Brännlund and Bengt Kriström. They have been involved in all the major Government Commissions on environmental and resource economics and management since the 1980s. “In 2012, Bengt and I were actually on Miljöaktuellt’s list of Sweden’s most influential figures in the environmental field. So we’re certainly having some impact,” says Runar. He believes that many universities are considering the same approach that CERE has taken – setting up one centre and benefiting from the economies of scale. “Getting to work together with the same goals is fantastic,” concludes Professor Brännlund.
Runar Brännlund is one of the driving forces behind the CERE research centre at USBE.
About CERE CERE is the Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics – an inter-disciplinary research centre in the field of environmental and resource economics and management. Located in Umeå, the centre is a joint venture between Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
A call for more action on ethics and sustainability
The debate on sustainability and ethics in business has come into sharper focus in recent years, not least due to this year’s horse meat scandal. “The issues are now higher up on the agenda and that’s a good thing, but there is still a lot to do when it comes to corporate social responsibility,” says Johan Jansson, director of the Research Institute for Sustainability and Ethics in Business (RiseB) at Umeå School of Business and Economics.
he School of Business and Economics at Umeå University has been researching sustainability and ethics in business for several decades, but only in recent years have resources been brought together under the umbrella of RiseB. “The research institute concentrates the relevant expertise of Umeå School of Business and Economics and enables us to get our research out there more effectively,” explains Johan Jansson. RiseB supports, develops and communicates research on sustainability and ethics in business decision-making. The focus is on both individual and organisational levels, with a diverse range of perspectives and methods employed to analyse globally recognised social and environment-related problems. “This is a broad and complex field of research, as can be seen by the doctoral theses published by RiseB colleagues in recent years. They address everything from so-called environmental cars, eco-tourism and the investment choices of private consumers to business clusters for bioenergy.”
Sustainable investment Two major projects that RiseB is currently involved in are the climate-labelling of food – a joint venture with various links in the food chain– and SIRP (Sustainable Investment Research Platform), an international research project in which RiseB is investigating sustainability in relation to financial returns. “SIRP is something of a flagship for our research. In fact, it won the Globe Award 2008 for ‘outstanding and tangible research in the field of CSR’.” The SIRP researchers have studied how asset management can create added value for institutional investors, notably pension funds investing for the long term. Large institutional investors also have the power to nudge companies towards more sustainable development.
Plenty of talk, little action Johan Jansson suggests that issues of sustainability and ethics in business now have greater prominence than they have had for a long time – with a major boost coming five or six years ago as the climate change debate began in earnest – and that more research is being conducted
now than ever before. However, while there is plenty of talk, there is still little action. “The issues are now being widely discussed, which is good, but very little of a practical nature is coming out of that. However, students are showing considerable interest in the subject, and news of the horse meat scandal and accusations of bribery against leading companies like Telia serve to intensify discussions. We also work closely with several companies, since we really want to know what companies think about these issues and what they feel stands in the way of taking action. For example, they come to us and present cases that the students then get to work on.”
Obstacles and the future Johan Jansson sees a number of political and economic obstacles to progress, but he believes that the key hurdles are psychological. “To enable widespread change, we have to revise our ingrained ways of doing business. We must find new ways to move forward. Do we need to consume as much as we do today? Should a company’s profits come before employees’ working conditions and what is environmentally sustainable?” According to Johan Jansson, we already have much of the knowledge required to drive through the necessary changes. The problem is more about being willing to change – and about communicating the issues in an engaging way. “Thanks to all the research, we know a great deal about what we’re doing wrong. Let’s encourage more people to see environmental problems as the common enemy of humanity that can be defeated if we all stick together. We have the tools but we need to start using them.”
is definitely room for more companies in other industries to make similar commitments. It could strengthen many companies’ brands and bring competitive advantages, forcing out less sustainable alternatives.” Johan Jansson also mentions other examples of companies that have successfully embraced sustainability and ethics, including clothing company Patagonia – whose focus is on recycled materials – and Klättermusen, something of a Swedish equivalent to Patagonia. Swedish burger chain Max, which champions carbon offsetting, and Umeå company redQ also stand out in this area. “redQ is particularly interesting because it was set up by two students from Umeå School of Business and Economics. They’ve now sold their company, but they built up a business based around ethical and environmentally sound home furnishings manufactured in Bangladesh. The products are now available from major home furnishings chains in Sweden and many other people have been inspired by their success.”
Companies as drivers of change Although the changes may be happening slowly, there are several examples in both large and small companies where clear ideas about sustainability and ethics go hand in hand with a successful business model. Perhaps the best known example is The Body Shop, which was the first large-scale business to take a stance against animal testing in production and to introduce reusable packaging. “The Body Shop’s approach influenced the entire cosmetics industry, with a whole host of companies following in its footsteps – and there
“If we are to achieve any real breakthrough in sustainability and ethics in business, we must change our ingrained mindset,” states Johan Jansson, director of the Research Institute for Sustainability and Ethics in Business (RiseB), part of Umeå School of Business and Economics.
Decision-making on the way up Mount Everest
Markus Hällgren studies organisation and decision-making in extreme environments – climbing expeditions and emergency medical care – in which people risk coming to harm. For the last year and a half he has worked at Stanford University, one of the world’s top universities, as a visiting researcher. “It’s an incredibly stimulating environment,” he says. he editorial team met up with Markus during a brief visit to Umeå. He has just come from Aarhus in Denmark, where he gave a lecture about his research. Markus leads the Extreme Environments – Everyday Decisions (Triple E.D.) research team, based at USBE, which consists of eight researchers from Sweden, Finland and the UK. The team was formed just over a year ago, but Markus has been researching mountaineering since 2007. “It was only by chance that I got involved in this,” he explains. “I’d written extensively about diesel power stations, but I grew tired of that and wanted to do something else. Then I read Touching The Void by Joe Simpson, about his dramatic adventure in the Andes, and I was struck by the fact that a climbing expedition is a project that I ought to be able to study in terms of organisation and decision-making.”
Everest expedition His research in this new field soon gathered pace, and since 2007 a great deal has happened. He has contributed towards new knowledge within this relatively unresearched field, and has come to know some of the world’s leading mountaineers, including the Swede Fredrik Sträng, who was part of the 2008 K2 expedition in which eleven people died. Several of these mountaineers have also spoken at seminars and workshops at Umeå University and Stanford University. At the end of March, Markus and his research team will be travelling to Kathmandu to study an Everest expedition at close quarters. The researchers will gather large amounts of data from the expedition through observations, interviews, helmet cameras, radio communications and audio diaries. The guides for the expedition they will be following are Americans who Markus has previously interviewed for his research. As well
as monitoring their own expedition, they will also be studying other expeditions there. “It’ll be an incredibly exciting adventure that will provide a wealth of new insights into how organisations and decision-making work in extreme environments. If you make a wrong decision on the way up Mount Everest, you risk both your own life and those of others.”
Tough at the top Although Markus and most of the research team won’t actually be climbing Mount Everest, they are making meticulous mental, organisational and physical preparations. Markus runs long distances every week in order to ensure that he is physically prepared for the thin air at high altitude. One of the researchers faces an even tougher challenge. As a mountaineer, he will be climbing together with the expedition to gather data at a higher altitude. As well as all the knowledge available in Umeå, the team has also received help from researchers at Stanford to prepare for the research involved in the project. The technical equipment needs to be chosen with care, since it has to work at high altitudes. The researchers are currently leaning towards the use of energy-saving iPads with external keyboards as one of their most important tools. “Everything needs to be triple checked and working one hundred percent before we leave. Once we’re headed for Mount Everest, there won’t be many opportunities to replace equipment that fails.”
Everyday decisions in extreme conditions What the members of Markus’ research team are particularly interested in isn’t what happens when things go wrong in extreme
“We’re mainly interested in the everyday decisions which ensure that things work in extreme environments, despite the tough conditions,” says Markus Hällgren, leader of the Extreme Environments – Everyday Decisions (Triple E.D.) research team, and currently working as a visiting researcher at Stanford University.
environments and accidents occur, but everyday decisions – what ensures that things work despite the tough conditions. “One thing we’ll be studying is group dynamics in temporary organisations with time-bound goals. In this type of organisation, we’ve seen that there’s a risk of behaviour arising whereby those involved become obsessed with achieving the goal. This can lead to the goal being prioritised over the project as a whole. In extreme projects such as mountaineering, this type of behaviour can result in people dying. In more conventional projects, similar behaviour can lead to people starting to feel extremely unwell and burning out, or organisations spending a lot of money on something that ultimately doesn’t get used.” Markus cites the collapse of Barings Bank as an example. This happened when trader Nick Leeson tried to compensate for previous losses incurred after taking excessive risks. “It’s important to have clear decision points in an organisation, and not to cut corners with them. In our research, we try to find out how structures within an organisation can affect its behaviour.”
Emergency medical care at Stanford The Triple E.D. team has also started to study emergency medical care at Stanford University Hospital, based on the same methods used to study mountaineering. Eventually, Markus hopes that they will also be able to expand this study to include the accident and emergency department at Norrland University Hospital in Umeå. 26
“We haven’t made as much progress with our research into healthcare as we have with mountaineering, but the initial studies are interesting. So far, these have been based on a large number of care staff interviews and participant observations. For example, we’re looking at how doctors and nurses interact. The next study involves following hospital staff for a number of days and seeing who they talk to, how they talk to each other, and what they enter into the hospital’s system.” One thing the team has noticed so far is that time is highly significant in terms of how people work together, that time is manipulated to get the right help at the right time, and that at an accident and emergency department people need to be able to cooperate with many different people, since all sorts of individuals pass through the department over the course of a day.
Working with his idols For the last year and a half, Markus has lived with his wife and their three children in Menlo Park near San Francisco. He works as a visiting researcher at Stanford University’s Department of Sociology, one of the world’s top social science institutions. This is the best possible environment within his field, and his enthusiasm is obvious when he talks about his work there. “You could say that I’m working with my idols. Professor James March, for example, is a legendary name within research into organisations and organisational decision-making. I’m learning an enormous amount from working with him. Almost everything at Stanford is of
an excellent standard, not least the seminars. You can tell that there are smart and ambitious people there with exceptional drive.” At the same time, Markus also sees many strengths in Umeå and the Swedish system. “We enjoy a great degree of openness in our research, and it’s relatively easy to get the opportunity to study companies. And there’s a lot of understanding about the importance of local, national and international collaboration.” One thing that he would like to take away with him from Stanford is the opportunity to involve students and doctoral students more in collaboration with the business sector, for the good of both academia and industry. Markus sometimes sits and works at Starbucks near his home in the heart of the Silicon Valley. And even an apparently normal coffee break is imbued with the area’s go-getting attitude. “There are almost always venture capitalists sitting there discussing their latest business ideas, which can be stimulating – it’s easy to get sucked into their enthusiasm. There’s a palpable feeling that anything is possible.” Markus will certainly benefit from this feeling in future. Particularly at the end of March when he heads to Kathmandu to follow the Everest expedition.
Award-winning researcher improves the quality of tests It shouldn’t matter which version of a test you receive when you take a test. This is associate professor Marie Wiberg’s basic idea when developing statistical methods for analysing achievement tests such as driving licence tests and university admission tests. “Everyone should have the same chance to succeed,” she says. Marie Wiberg is an award-winning researcher who specialises in psychometrics. The word is a combination of ‘psyche’ and ‘metrics’ (meaning ‘measurement’). In purely practical terms, this involves developing statistical methods for analysing and evaluating psychological tests and achievement tests. “My research is mainly based on improving the quality of standardised achievement tests and how the results are used,” she explains.
Tests should be comparable One of Marie’s project aims to develop the theory in order to analyse and evaluate achievement tests so that fair tests are created for all test takers, regardless of which test version they receive, or their gender or ethnicity. A significant part of the project has focused on the problem of equating, in other words the statistical process of determining comparable test scores from different test versions. One example is the Swedish Scholastic Assessment Test. That test is valid for five years, and is given once during the spring semester and once during the autumn semester. “How do we ensure that the results from the spring and autumn are comparable?” asks Marie. “Fair tests are important. Two scores can make the difference between being accepted for a course or not.”
Marie also carries out modelling of Year 8 pupils’ achievement in mathematics and science based on international large scale assessments. “Testing is becoming increasingly common in society, and national tests are now given to younger pupils than before. It’s important that these tests are designed well so that comparisons are fair for everyone. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re average, above average or below average, or which part of Sweden you come from. The best methods should be used when creating tests to ensure that no-one is disadvantaged.”
Wants things to be right In 2008, Marie received the Royal Skyttean Society’s prize for younger researchers at the Faculty of Social Sciences for her research within psychometrics. At the end of the same year, she also received Umeå University’s Young Research Award. Marie has also recently received funding from Umeå School of Education and the Female Professorship Grant from Umeå University. “I’m driven by curiosity and the desire for things to be correct. Listening to another researcher or discussing an issue can lead to a moment of realisation. The University offers so many opportunities.”
“Fair tests are important. Two points can make the difference between being accepted for a course or not,” says Marie Wiberg, who has received awards for her research in psychometrics.
Driven by curiosity and interest in public issues Sofia Lundberg is a senior lecturer in economics at USBE, and carries out research into public procurement. “Procurement is an important part of our welfare society,” she says. And the subject is a broad one. Sofia’s research has stretched all the way from 19th century child auctions in Sweden to modern-day elderly care procurement. ofia Lundberg is involved in several different research collaborations, with public procurement as the common denominator. “It’s a fascinating market,” she says. “Many public services are procured, and in total this generates around 15 percent of Sweden’s GDP.” Sofia has been interested in bidding processes since she was a doctoral student, and in 2001 she defended her thesis which included 19th century child auctions in Sweden, when orphans were sold to the lowest bidder. The price paid reflected the payment requested by the child’s new foster parents in return for looking after the child. “In most cases, this was driven by a financial motivation – the buyer wanted to use the child as a source of labour,” explains Sofia, who researched the children’s health, the price paid and the buyer’s profession using the records of the poor relief boards held in the municipal archives of towns such as Umeå and Sundsvall. She continues: “These child auctions were an early form of public procurement. We still need to find foster parents today, but the procedure has changed.”
Mortality rates among the elderly More recently, Sofia has carried out a study together with Mats Bergman, Professor of Economics at Södertörn University, into how public procurement affects the quality of elderly care, particularly in residential situations (nursing 28
home for the elderly). Among other factors, the pair measured whether or not mortality rates for the elderly were affected by the switch from in-house production to private provision via procurement. “We actually saw that the procurement of elderly care resulted in lower mortality rates among the oldest residents and lower costs, without any deterioration in quality. But of course, further work is required in order to ensure the quality of future care for the elderly.”
The use of bonuses should increase One of Sofia and Mats’ proposals is, therefore, that options for renewing contracts should be used more actively as a tool for maintaining quality. Quite simply, those providers who perform the worst should not have their contracts renewed. The use of financial penalties and bonuses should also be developed. “Our research is relevant not only to the public sector, but also to tenderers who can learn something from us. Public procurement is a fact of life, but it will probably evolve. For example, new procurement directives are expected from the EU.” Although applying for funding for various projects is time-consuming, Sofia loves working as a researcher. “I’m driven by curiosity and the public interest. It’s a real privilege having a job where the only thing standing in the way of my development is myself.”
“It’s a real privilege having a job where the only thing standing in the way of my development is myself,” says Sofia Lundberg.
Long involvement in Tanzania Thanks to USBE’s cooperation with Tanzania, around 20 African students have been able to complete their doctoral degrees. The project has been running for more than 20 years, and helps to strengthen and retain expertise in Africa. “We want to contribute with what we’re good at,” says Professor of Business Administration Håkan Boter. “The entire African continent is poised for incredible growth.”
SBE’s involvement in Africa began in Zimbabwe during the early 1990s. However, after a few years the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency removed Zimbabwe from its list of programme nations, and the project was transferred to Tanzania. At the same time, the ‘sandwich model’ was developed, which helps students to complete doctoral degrees while enabling them to remain in their home country so that their expertise is retained. “We help students to achieve a full research degree,” says Håkan Boter. “This means that the quality of teaching improves, and has a scientific basis. Students gain stable knowledge which they can transfer to others, and eventually this means that new businesses can emerge and management expertise among established businesses can grow. This is essential for the development of society.”
Travelling between the two countries A researcher who gains a doctoral degree through the Tanzanian project spends time carrying out research in both Umeå and Tanzania. The researcher travels between the two countries, and can present his or her thesis in Tanzania at the end of the process. “In Tanzania the Ph.D. programme lasts three years, while ours is four years long. We arrange things so that they can present a licentiate thesis with us, and then complete their doctoral degree in their home country a few years later.”
Around 20 students have completed their doctoral degrees via the project, and they have all stayed in Tanzania. They work at the University of Dar es Salaam and at other universities around the country, and many of them are now fully-fledged senior researchers, supervising other doctoral students within the project. “The project has been a great success,” says Håkan. He goes on to explain: “Many other African students complete their doctoral degrees abroad, for example in the UK or the US. Over the years, they put down roots in their new country and once they’ve completed their degree they stay there. This means that expertise drains away from the African nations. Thanks to the Tanzanian project, we’re helping to counter that.”
ment and business administration needs to be strengthened.”
A need for new research Håkan believes that the next step in the project is to start new research into how businesses and markets are developing in Africa. “We shouldn’t duplicate our own problems. Instead, we should carry out research on their terms. The majority of all economic research currently comes from studies of conditions in the Northern Hemisphere, but it’s time to cast our eyes further afield. Swedish companies could also benefit from this research in their international operations.”
The world’s fastest growing economy When USBE started the cooperation with Tanzania, there were hardly any trained supervisors or research courses there. Staff from Umeå travelled to Africa, where the held Ph.D. courses and educated senior researchers. Researchers in Tanzania have gradually taken over, and today there are joint projects involving partners from both Dar es Salaam and Umeå. One of those who took the initiative for the project, Professor Lettice Rutashobya, is an honorary doctor at Umeå University. “Africa has the world’s fastest growing economy, and it is thought that there will be a need for a million business leaders in Africa by the year 2020,” continues Håkan. “Expertise within entrepreneurship, business develop-
“We help students from Tanzania to achieve a full research degree,” explains Håkan Boter. “This means that the quality of teaching improves, and has a scientific basis.”
Multidisciplinary research into changing organisations
“Today, it’s common for companies to be both partners and competitors at the same time, which is known as co-opetition,” says Tomas Blomquist. “Ericsson’s partnership with South Korea’s LG is one example.”
Today’s companies work with networks and projects much more than before. This is something that PIN (Projects, Innovations and Networks, one of two profile areas at the Department of Business Administration) examines in its research. “Modern companies have changeable, temporary organisations,” says Professor Tomas Blomquist, who has been responsible for PIN since it was founded in 2010. “Our research extends beyond the borders of the university so that we can describe this in a variety of ways.”
e live in an ever-changing world, where new technology and globalisation influence companies’ operations and force them to keep thinking in new ways and to act more quickly. This has resulted in exciting new ways of working – and cooperating. “Neither small nor very large companies currently have the expertise required to compete alone in the best possible way,” explains Tomas Blomquist. “It has therefore become increasingly common for the players involved to be both partners and competitors at the same time, which is known as co-opetition. Ericsson’s partnership with South Korea’s LG is one example. We are also seeing companies within fields such as data communications and pharmaceuticals working side-by-side to draw up joint standards. Once these standards are on course, they compete again.”
path and his home town. Tomas is originally from Södertälje. He trained as an engineer at the Royal Institute of Technology and then started working as a cab designer for Scania in Södertälje. He met a woman from Umeå during the late 1980s, and moved here in 1990. Here, he studied economics, completing a doctoral degree in 1998 and becoming Professor of Business Administration in 2011. “My research has focused mainly on project management in different organisations, within both the private and the public sectors.” He now considers himself to be permanently settled in Umeå, where he lives in the Mariedal area, and both his daughters were born and raised here. “I really like Umeå. There’s always plenty going on, and it’s small enough to cycle everywhere – unlike Stockholm, where every meeting has to be planned in the minutest of detail due to all the logistical issues.”
Services instead of products
The 08:23 group
Closely linked to the trend of more temporary organisations and project work is the way in which most modern companies have now shifted from selling products towards selling services. This is quite simply because it is more effective from a business perspective. “A platform is created via a carefully thought-out business model, which can then be developed in many different ways. FältCom in Umeå, which started off by selling lift telephones, is one example. They sell their telephone once, whereas their new products feature more subscription and service offerings.” This trend has also led to an increased demand to transform the business model into something of an innovation. “For example, Apple wouldn’t have been so successful without iTunes, which paved the way for success stories like the iPhone and the iPad. Today, when creating new products, it’s not just a matter of thinking in engineering terms – you also have to think in business terms. Right from the start.”
USBE has many years of experience of project-related research, and Tomas is now a veteran in the field. The first seed for what would eventually become PIN was sown just a few years after he arrived in Umeå. In 1994, he was involved in the launch of the IRNOP (International Research Network on Organizing by Projects) conference, together with a group of researchers from Umeå. The group still meets every Tuesday at 08:23. The unusual starting time came about because, as a parent with young children, one of the participants always missed the traditional academic fifteen minutes by a couple of minutes. “Over the years, our group has researched many different aspects of projects and temporary organizations.” In 2010, USBE decided to bring together its business administration research under two strong profile areas: the Research Institute for Sustainability and Ethics in Business (RiseB) and Projects, Innovations and Networks. “The ambition was to improve the research carried out, and looking back we can see that we’ve succeeded. We’ve significantly increased the number of publications, strengthened our funding, started working more across borders within Umeå University and initiated a number of exciting collaborations, both nationally and internationally.”
From Södertälje to Umeå Tomas’ own background might be a benefit when it comes to leading research into changeable organisations, projects and networks, having already changed both his own career
Visiting researchers from around the world Internationally, PIN is involved in a number of different networks, with universities in locations such as Copenhagen, Helsinki, London and Pittsburgh. “International exchange is important to us in many ways, not least because it provides an inward flow of new ideas to stimulate our development.” Visiting researchers also come to PIN regularly. Since the launch of the centre, sixteen visiting researchers have come here and at least six more will be arriving during the coming year. This autumn, four more visiting researchers are due: two from Australia, one from Canada and one from China. PIN has also recruited two researchers from Imperial College in London – one of the world’s leading institutions for innovation research – and the Technical University of Madrid. “Our international researchers have several exciting projects on the go. For example, Sujit Nair is studying how the markets surrounding airlines have evolved since new business models started to be used in connection with the introduction of sustainable fuels within the industry.”
New technology and internationalisation Within Sweden, PIN works together with institutions such as Luleå University of Technology within the framework of CiiR (the Centre for Inter-organizational Innovation Research). This is a new centre in which around 50 researchers and doctoral students focus on how ICT and digital innovation can benefit non-urban areas, such as the way in which modern technology can be used in open and distributed innovation systems. “We’re delighted to be an important part of CiiR. One area we’re studying is how relationships between companies, for example in networks, affect innovation and the capacity for internationalisation. This is particularly important for businesses up in northern Norrland, since they can be isolated in their domestic market and become dependent on establishing a presence in an international market.”
How culture is set to create growth in Umeå How does a city stretch its boundaries in a major cultural project combining both private and public providers? To find out, Nils Wåhlin and his research team are studying how Umeå will be transformed into the European Capital of Culture 2014. “This is the most exciting project I’ve been involved in,” he says.
t was in autumn 2009 that Umeå and Riga in Latvia were appointed as European Capitals of Culture 2014. In making its choice, the European jury recognised Umeå’s desire to raise the profile of the city and Northern Sweden in the rest of Europe and to use culture as a driving force for regional development. “The ambition for Umeå 2014 is that the initiative will make an impact on Umeå’s development before, during and a long time after the Capital of Culture year. Our research focuses on how the participants organise themselves and act strategically to achieve their aims, and how local citizens will be inspired to get actively involved as co-creators.”
Great interest in culture Nils Wåhlin describes this as a dream project for him, allowing him to combine his great interest in culture with research into strategic urban development, a topic he has studied before. He regularly attends rock concerts as well as the opera, and enjoys art exhibitions. “One of the highlights of 2014 will be when the Symphony Orchestra at Norrlandsoperan 34
perform their arrangement of the hardcore punk band Refused’s music. It’ll be an exciting meeting between popular and ‘high’ culture, the new and the old. At the same time it encapsulates the spirit of cultural Umeå, where collaborations across genres are common. When it comes to urban development, it’s clear that cities are increasingly being run like businesses, which brings a greater focus on branding the city and raising its profile.”
Co-creation and open source Co-creation and open source are two key tenets of Umeå’s work on 2014. Organisers are working hard to get everyone in the city involved – for example through 80 public meetings where people have had the chance to comment on and suggest activites and events for the programme – and to keep everything open and transparent. “The concepts of co-creation and open source are familiar in the business world, but Umeå 2014 is borrowing them and giving them new meanings. We’re also looking at equivalent projects around Europe, and so far we can report that there is greater openness in Umeå.
“A closer study of how Umeå approaches its status as European Capital of Culture 2014 can help us to spot new strategic windows of opportunity,” states senior lecturer Nils Wåhlin, who is leading the research into Umeå 2014.
“One of the highlights of 2014 will be when the Symphony Orchestra at Norrlandsoperan perform their arrangement of the hardcore punk band Refused’s music.” There’s also more emphasis on local resources. One unique feature is that the project management is not prescriptive about the performance of the activities, they prefer to create a platform that allows as many Umeå residents as possible to get actively involved.”
Sustainable urban development In their research, Nils Wåhlin and his team – five people from the Department of Business Administration plus a reference group of five people, including an ethnologist and an urban planner – are also placing 2014 in a historical context. Much of 2014 is about sustainable urban development. “The foundations for Umeå to become a successful city of culture were laid in 1974 with the passing of the Swedish Government’s Culture Bill, which paved the way for municipalities to invest in culture. Not everyone seized the new opportunities, but Umeå welcomed it with open arms. The work put into 2014 has a long-term focus – strategic urban development where culture plays a central role in future growth.”
2014 book due in 2015 Much of the research work is based on studying the 2014 organisation’s everyday work through interviews and attending various meetings. Special emphasis is placed on the organisation’s collaboration with business, including the Baltic Group, one of the event’s largest private partners. “We’ll try to understand the implementation, how to transfer the strategic thinking invested in the planning phase into a functioning process on such a large scale. The 2014 project has already made its mark in Umeå, not least architecturally. The Arts Campus, which houses Umeå School of Architecture, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts and ‘Bildmuseet’, has already been built and the new Cultural Centre ‘Kulturväven’ will be opened by the end of Umeå’s year as Capital of Culture.” The research into 2014 will be presented on an ongoing basis in scientific journals and will culminate in a book to be published in 2015. “I hope that even after 2015 we’ll be able to continue studying this project, which will have a major impact on how Umeå develops for a long time to come.” 35
Collaboration adds value in retail and supply chain management The research field of retail and supply chain management is making great advances in Umeå thanks to significant support from external partners. “We’re able to offer the business world new expertise, while our students have access to an exciting new job market,” says Kerstin Nilsson, Director of the Retail and Supply Chain Management Programme.
he retail and supply chain work really took off in Umeå when the Swedish Trade Federation contacted the School of Business and Economics with a request for a programme to raise knowledge levels in the retailing industry. “When the Swedish Trade Federation came knocking on our door, we saw it as a great, exciting challenge. It’s important for USBE to try and meet the business world’s skills needs,” says Kerstin Nilsson.
Kerstin Nilsson, Director of the Retail and Supply Chain Management Programme.
Good partnership The Retail and Supply Chain Management Programme was launched in 2006, and USBE has worked with the Swedish Trade Federation and the Swedish Purchasing & Logistics Association (Silf) ever since. Marlene Johansson, lecturer at USBE, describes the collaboration as a prime example of how the university can combine education, research and cooperation with local business for the benefit of all parties. Companies are involved in the supply chain course through lectures, simulations and real life cases for students to develop their skills in the field of retail and supply chain management. As well as allowing practical experience of the subject and bringing together the various theoretical
According to Marlene Johansson, lecturer at USBE, all parties benefit from academia and business joining forces.
perspectives of supply chain management, the students obtain a ‘supply chain licence’ that links forward to the job market. “The students gain a fantastically broad education by combining enterprise with retail and supply chain expertise. USBE understands the importance of training students to appreciate the entire supply chain,” says Carina Dahllöf, CEO of Silf.
Prompted mentoring The collaboration with business organisations has generated added value in different ways. Working with companies opens doors for students to build networks and contactswith companies during their education. Examples include mentoring, internships, degree projects and jobs after graduation. 2012 saw Professor Lars Silver join USBE with the task of developing the research field of retail and supply chain management. The newly established professorship is externally funded.
“Our aim is to create a unique interaction between logisticians from the technical and economic fields. We want students in Umeå to receive an advanced education in retail and supply chain management that they can’t get anywhere else,” says Lars.
“Supply chain management is one way that companies can improve efficiency, and add value to a production process. For many Swedish companies, supply chain management is one way of securing a unique competitive advantage,” concludes Lars.
Engineers and economists study together One idea is to provide a course in which engineers and economists study together. Since the supply chain subject is partly about optimisation and partly about marketing, it seems only natural for students from both programmes to study the same course. “When they graduate, they’re not going to be divided up into engineers and economists – they’ll be judged on how much they know about supply chain management,” argues Lars. If they are to compete in a global market with so many low-cost alternatives, Swedish companies require leading expertise that goes beyond the ordinary.
Professor Lars Silver will be developing retail and supply chain management as a research field.
Committed students set up new supply chain network When Retail and Supply Chain Management students at USBE saw a need for more contact with business, they launched Young Supply Chain Professionals, YSCP. Now the association attracts students from all the USBE programmes. Young Supply Chain Professionals was formed in 2009 as an association for students studying Retail and Supply Chain Management. A couple of years ago, it was decided to broaden the focus to include more of USBE’s programmes. “The goal was to create a network where students can connect with the business world by creating interesting events that attract both students and companies,” explains former project manager Matilda Lidström.
A wealth of experiences As project manager, part of her job was to establish new contacts with businesses and arrange events, a task that brought her experience in budgeting, recruiting speakers, mar-
keting and time management, and membership of Region East in Silf, the Swedish National Association of Purchasing & Logistics.
Supply Chain Day
Matilda Lidström gained many useful experiences from her involvement in YSCP.
“While I was in my post, we ran the annual Supply Chain Day, which is aimed at both companies and students.” Today YSCP is an established and growing association at USBE, but Matilda sees future potential in rolling out the association at more universities and business schools. YSCP is a joint venture between USBE’s students and Silf, the Swedish National Association of Purchasing & Logistics.
Statistical research in a strategic field Xavier de Luna was born in Switzerland to Spanish parents, but love led him to Umeå. Here, he is Professor of Statistics and a key figure in register-based research, an area where Umeå plays a leading role. “We hope our research can help improve economic and social welfare, as well as public health,” he says. avier met his future life partner at a conference in Stockholm in the 1990s, which in turn led him to a postdoctoral position in Umeå in 1996. After a short time here, he ended up in London, before returning to Umeå in 1999. Initially, he also worked at the Economics Department, but since 2001 he has devoted his time to the Department of Statistics, a subject in which he became a professor in 2007. “My main field is methodology development, finding methods for mapping causality in statistical data,” explains Xavier. “My team’s research also focuses on modelling the missing information, the holes in the dataset that must often be taken into account when analysing complex data.”
What affects economics and health? Register-based research is a relatively new field, in which the Nordic countries are taking a global lead. This is thanks to the extensive data held in the national population and health data registers and the national quality registries. By linking different registers at individual level, it is possible to investigate which factors affect health and welfare. 38
“The information we have has huge potential to help with the positive development of society, but we need to learn to make better use of the available data,” says Xavier. “The inconsistent legislation has hampered progress, but things have been happening in this area recently. For example, the Government has just appointed a Commission to review the scope for clarifying the legal framework for register-based research.”
SEK 135 million from the Swedish Research Council Register-based research is a very active area at the moment. The Government and the Swedish Research Council realise that this is a strategic, and thus prioritised, research field for Sweden. Four years ago, the Swedish Research Council decided to invest SEK 135 million in register-based research over a five-year period. Umeå was tasked with coordinating the six research teams in Sweden that were given grants to work on this subject. The ultimate responsibility for coordination fell to Xavier. “It is of course extremely exciting to be part of such an active research field that holds huge potential to help people enjoy a better quality of life.”
Umeå SIMSAM Lab The latest concrete sign that register-based research is making waves is Umeå SIMSAM Lab, which opened on 31 January 2013. The lab is a multidisciplinary meeting place for researchers in social science and medicine. The focus is very much on improving and developing research based on Swedish register data. The lab brings together researchers from USBE and other universities to study what impact conditions in childhood have on lifelong health and welfare. The new laboratory allows complex analyses of data from Statistics Sweden and the National Board of Health and Welfare, combined with regional data from sources such as the Salut programme (an initiative by Västerbotten County Council to create health-promoting initiatives for children and young people that involve parents right from pregnancy). The dataset contains information on demographics, pregnancy, childbirth, school grades, education, work, income, hospital visits, prescribed medication and much more besides. “The research may have considerable socioeconomic implications, since it makes more financial sense to invest in preventive measures during childhood than to pay for social problems and poor health later in life,” ends Xavier.
Xavier de Luna, Professor of Statistics, is one of UmeĂĽ Universityâ€™s leading figures in register-based research, which is considered one of the universityâ€™s strengths and also a strategically important research field for Sweden.
Top marks for MSc programme There was good news for USBE following its audit by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. The MSc business programme was one of the few in the country to receive the top grade of Very High Quality. At the same time, the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees were graded as High Quality. “This reflects all the hard work put in by staff and students to develop the programme,” comments Rector Lars G Hassel. Since 2011, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education has audited all courses at both first-cycle and second-cycle level. Last year came the verdict on USBE’s programmes in Business Administration and Economics, and it was all good news. While 40 percent of the nation’s courses in Business Administration received a Fail grade by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at USBE were given a High Quality grade. In addition, the MSc degree was one of the few in the country to be awarded top marks. “It’s particularly pleasing to see the largest of the programmes assessed receive such good marks. We conduct much of the teaching in English and have numerous international students who’ve made a positive contribution to the results,” says Jessica Eriksson, Associate 40
Head of the Business Administration Department. The Master’s Degree in Economics were also judged to be Good Quality in the audit. The audit of Statistics is conducted later. “This shows that our thesis work maintains a very high standard,” comments Hassel. The new assessment model used by the agency places the focus on the students’ degree projects. The programmes are then graded on a three-point scale: Very High Quality, High Quality and Poor Quality. Programmes considered to be of Very High Quality receive a ‘quality bonus’ in the form of extra funding for three years.
Figures in the black The accounts for 2012 put USBE in the black, reporting a profit of SEK 3.4 million. USBE saw costs rise to SEK 138.3 million, in part due to higher salaries and rental costs. However, revenues of SEK 141.7 million produced a net profit of SEK 3.4 million. This is much better than in 2011, when USBE posted a loss of half a million. The school has a strong balance sheet, with equity of 49.5 million, 12.1 million of which is administrative capital, while the remaining 37,4 million is made up of deferred grants for future research projects. External funding rose by 5 percent in 2012, while the proportion of state funding fell. USBE was thus financed 71 percent by the state and 29 percent by external means, primarily research. USBE has just over 2,000 students, or 1,479 measured as full-time equivalents. The number of students per lecturer was down to just over 16 as a consequence of quality investments being made as the number of students drops at Swedish universities. The proportion of lecturers with a doctorate is relatively high at 83 percent and rising.
Conferences focus on sustainability USBE organises several conferences each year – in Umeå and other locations around Västerbotten. Many of the recent conferences have focused on sustainability, attracting delegates from Sweden and abroad. The NORDSTAT statistics conference takes place every other year somewhere in the Nordic region. Last year it was held in Umeå, where the conference was organised by the Department of Statistics at USBE, and the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University. The conference was attended by about 140 delegates from all around the world, who enjoyed such wide-ranging subjects as liquidity in insurance companies and the teaching of statistics. One subject on the agenda was how climate research can employ statistical methodologies. The participants were presented with new statistical models developed to recreate environmental and climate change, along with evidence that changes in carbon dioxide concentration do cause changes in temperature.
Business Administration in wider society In 2012, USBE hosted the annual Swedish conference on business administration. A total of 180 delegates from 30 educational institutions gathered in Umeå. The overall themes of the conference was business administration’s relationship with corporations and community.
Several sessions included sustainability issues, and the seminar on ethics and sustainable development was one of the most popular at the conference. “The business administration conference is one of the few conferences that discusses both research and education,” says one of the organisers, Jessica Eriksson. In conjunction with the conference, USBE also hosted the launch of a national doctoral course in business administration.
Green innovation and climate change A winter economic conference is held annually in Ammarnäs. In contrast to other conferences, this is mainly an internal affair, giving USBE’s doctoral students a chance to present and discuss their work. Guests at the conference included environmental economist Carmelo Leon from the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. He spoke about the problems and challenges faced in trying to put a value on goods and services not traded on markets. One of his key points was the importance of investigating what people actually do – not what they think they should be doing, a dilemma often faced by environmental economists.
Conference in the archipelago The Ulvön conference has been running since 1993, bringing together doctoral students and leading researchers in environmental economics for a few days in the High Coast archipelago. Recent guest speakers at the conference include Professor Gardner Brown, University of Washington and Professor Michael Hoel, University of Oslo. Brown posed the question of how many eucalyptus leaves women in India should sweep up, while Hoel talked about the second-best environmental policy.
Research makes headway The annual winter conference on statistics was held in Borgafjäll in 2013. The conference has been organised by the Department of Statistics and the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics since 1968, and is a key forum for the discussion of statistical issues. The subject of this year’s conference was Compressed Sensing, a rapidly growing field of research that concerns signal processing, statistics, applied mathematics and computer science. The speakers were Holger Rauhut from Bonn University and Volkan Cevher from EPFL in Lausanne. 41
It’s all go at active student association With around 900 members, HHUS (Handelshögskolan i Umeå Studentföreningen) is the university’s biggest student association. It is a highly active operation, running its own pub, organising ski trips and meetings, working on educational quality assurance and maintaining close contact with the business world. “It’s all go and I’d like to think our members get a great deal out of what we do,” says Maximilian Mohlkert, who has chaired HHUS for the past year. There are three focuses to what HHUS does: studying, student social activities and business contacts. Maximilian Mohlkert feels that all these areas interlink and interrelate, enabling USBE to offer us as good an education as possible. “We want USBE’s students to have fun in Umeå, while also receiving a first class education that makes them attractive to businesses after graduation.”
Many committed students Since the beginning in 1997, HHUS has had a proud tradition of high membership rates among students. Today no less than 90 percent of the students on campus, and 70 percent of distance students, are members. Working at the association is also popular, with around 260 members taking up the opportunity. The fact that Maximilian Mohlkert and Amanda Bolander from the association are on the USBE board shows what an important role the school sees for HHUS in educational development. “The board discussions revolve around how we can assure quality in the courses and improve them. We’re currently among the top five business schools in Sweden and with that 42
comes a responsibility to provide a top-flight education.”
Close to business HHUS maintains a close partnership with the business community, and has agreements with the Big Four in accountancy: PwC, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte. “We get an insight into their business, and they get to meet us and find out all the latest on how we’re taking things forward. We organise meetings with business representatives, casebased competitions and CV reviews. When it comes to contact with life outside the university, the annual Uniaden, Umeå University’s biggest careers fair, is also extremely important.” HHUS is one of four organising associations the others being NTK (science and technology), UMSYS (informatics and system science) and PLUM (human resources students) – behind the fair, which offers seminars, events and a host of additional activities alongside all the exhibitors. “Uniaden gives students a golden opportunity to make contact with local and national companies.”
Freshers’ events, dinners and trips The social activities are a key aspect of HHUS’ work. The association runs E-puben, organises dinners, movie evenings and ski trips to Åre, and provides freshers’ events. “We cover just about all student social activities at USBE. The freshers’ events are our biggest undertaking, and an important start to university life. I’d like to point out that we most definitely don’t allow demeaning activities like the hazing that goes on at some places around the country. The freshers’ events should be a fun introduction to studying and a chance to get to know each other.” In April Maximilian Mohlkert will be passing the chairman’s baton to Oscar Sellhed. He can look back on a hectic but enjoyable and rewarding year. “I’ve learnt so much and had such a great time. Chairing HHUS is a bit like having a company with 260 employees and a turnover of SEK 3 million. I’ve worked closely with a number of interesting people, seen how board work operates and learnt more practical things about organisational structures and operational analysis.”
Hi Hanna h Öst
Editor-in-chief of Ekbladet, the business students’ own magazine.
How did you get involved in Ekbladet?
having fun with all sorts of students from other programmes, disciplines and years.”
“Back in freshers’ week I heard about the student association HHUS and felt I wanted to get involved, I just didn’t know how. I started working at E-puben and organised a few small events, and through that I met a lot of students doing voluntary work. Then when the management posts were advertised, I decided to apply for editor-in-chief. I got the job without ever having written for the magazine.”
A new term of office begins in April and someone else will become editor-in-chief of Ekbladet. Do you have any tips?
“I wrote for the local newspaper’s youth section while at upper secondary school, which was very rewarding. I’ve always been interested in writing and for a while I considered studying journalism.”
“Try to have interesting and enjoyable meetings – they should be fun! Remember this is voluntary so money isn’t a motivating factor. You have to find other ways to motivate your editorial team. Another tip is to try and make the editorial team more equal from the beginning, because it gets more difficult the longer you leave it. Our team was almost entirely female, while the previous team were all men. It can also be good to set early deadlines, for both text and images. And bear in mind that the layouting takes longer than you think.”
What does your work involve?
What’s next for you?
Do you have any previous press experience?
Facts Ekbladet is a members’ magazine for USBE’s student association HHUS. It comes out four times a year and has a print run of 1,350 copies.
“I’m responsible for ensuring that Ekbladet gets produced and that it contains interesting articles, so I have to recruit an editorial team and hold editorial meetings, as well as coming up with ideas. The managing editor and I give feedback to the writers, do the layouting and send it all off to print. The magazine is then delivered to the university, our members and our business partners. I’m also responsible for the budget and advertising, plus I write quite a few pieces of my own.”
Is it important to get involved in the student association? “Getting to have a go at managing, delegating and motivating colleagues is all brilliant experience and preparation for working life. And of course it’s also a good thing to put on your CV. And then there’s making friends and
“It feels sad to leave Ekbladet, because I’ve loved my job and learnt a lot over a year of working with some incredibly talented people. The term of office is one year and then it’s time for new applications and handovers, which is true for all the positions in the student association. But I hope my colleagues and I have done some good things with Ekbladet. For example, we’ve increased the size from 36 to 52 pages, we’ve changed the typeface and layout, and delivered all sorts of useful tips, as well as interviewing numerous interesting alumni and other fascinating figures. Now I’m going to continue my work at HHUS, but this time as chair of the business committee instead, while also studying business administration with a focus on service management.”
170 new titles in 2012 Each year, USBE researchers produces a wide range of articles, reports, doctoral theses and books. The 170 publications from 2012 include topics ranging from green issues to the video game industry. A selection of our publications is presented below. Articles in journals Aronsson Thomas, Cialani Catia & Löfgren Karl-Gustaf. (2012) Genuine saving and the social cost of taxation. Journal of Public Economics, 96(1-2): 211-217. Aronsson Thomas & Johansson-Stenman Olof. (2012) Veblen’s theory of the leisure class revisited: Implications for optimal income taxation. Social Choice and Welfare. Published online 23 October. Biedenbach Galina. (2012) Brand equity in the business-to-business context: Examining the structural composition. Journal of Brand Management, 19(8): 688-701. Brännlund Runar & Persson Lars. (2012) To tax, or not to tax: preferences for climate policy attributes. Climate Policy, 12(6): 704-721. Brännäs Kurt, De Gooijer Jan & Lönnbark Carl. (2012) Simultaneity and asymmetry of returns and volatilities: the emerging Baltic States’ stock exchanges. Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, 16(1). Granlund David & Rudholm Niklas. (2012) The prescribing physician’s influence on consumer choice between medically equivalent pharmaceuticals. Review of Industrial Organization, 41(3): 207-222. Hakala Ulla, Svensson Johan & Vincze Zsuzsanna. (2012) Consumer-based brand equity and top-of-mind awareness: a cross-country analysis. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 21(6): 439-451. Hanes Niklas, Wikström Magnus & Wångmar Erik. (2012) Municipal preferences for state imposed amalgamations: an empirical study based on the 1952 municipal reform in Sweden. Urban Studies, 49(12): 2733-2750. Hedlund Therese, Marell Agneta & Gärling Tommy. (2012) The mediating effect of value orientation on the relationship between socio-demographic factors and environmental concern in Swedish tourists’ vacation choices. Journal of Ecotourism, 11(1): 16-33. Hellström Jörgen & Nordström Jonas. (2012) Demand and welfare effects in recreational travel models: Accounting for substitution between number of trips and days to stay. Transportation Research Part A, 46(3): 446-456. Häggström Lundevaller Erling & Edvinsson Sören. (2012) The effect of Rh-negative disease on perinatal mortality: Some evidence from the Skellefteå Region, Sweden, 1860–1900. Biodemography and Social Biology, 58(2, Special Issue): 116-132. Hällgren Markus. (2012) The construction of research questions in project management. International Journal of Project Management, 30(7): 804-816. Jacobsson Mattias & Linderoth Henrik. (2012) User perceptions of ICT impacts in Swedish construction companies: ‘it’s fine, just as it is’. Construction Management and Economics, 30(5): 339-357. Jaraite Jurate & Di Maria Corrado. (2012) Efficiency, productivity and environmental policy: A case study of power generation in the EU. Energy Economics, 34(5): 1557-1568. Josefsson Maria, de Luna Xavier, Pudas Sara, Nilsson Lars-Göran & Nyberg Lars. (2012) Genetic and lifestyle predictors of 15-year longitudinal change in episodic memory. Journal of The American Geriatrics Society, 60(12): 2308-2312. Kapsali Maria & Prouska Rea. (2012) Human Resource Management in Project-Based Organizations – The HR Quadriad Framework. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 28(2): 197-198.
Umeå School of Business and Economics Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå www.usbe.umu.se
Lundberg Sofia & Lunander Anders. (2012) Bids and costs in combinatorial and noncombinatorial procurement auctions: evidence from procurement of public cleaning contracts. Contemporary Economic Policy. Published online 28 March. Mannberg Andréa. (2012) Risky Sex in a Risky World: Sexual Behavior in an HIV/AIDS Environment. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 114(2): 296-322. Nakosteen Robert A, Westerlund Olle & Zimmer Michael A. (2012) Active labor market programs and regional mobility of labor: evidence from the Swedish recession 1994 1995. Contemporary Economic Policy, 30(2): 178-194. Niemi Lasse & Sundgren Stefan. (2012) Are modified audit opinions related to the availability of credit?: evidence from Finnish SMEs. European Accounting Review, 21(4): 767-796. Sandvik Ulrika, Koskinen Lars-Owe, Lundquist Anders & Blomstedt Patrik. (2012) Thalamic and subthalamic deep brain stimulation for essential tremor: where is the optimal target? Neurosurgery, 70(4): 840-845. Shi Quian & Blomquist Tomas. (2012) A new approach for project scheduling using fuzzy dependency structure matrix. International Journal of Project Management, 30(4): 503-510. Sjögren Karin, Lindkvist Marie, Sandman Per-Olof, Zingmark Karin & Edvardsson David. (2012) Psychometric evaluation of the Swedish version of the Person-Centered Care Assessment Tool (P-CAT). International Psychogeriatrics, 24(3): 406-415. Sjölander Maria, Eriksson Marie & Glader Eva-Lotta. (2012) Social stratification in the dissemination of statins after stroke in Sweden. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Published online 28 November. Svanström Tobias & Boter Håkan. (2012) Regional Variation in the SME-Audit Firm Relationship. Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing, 8(3): 340-356. Tano Ingrid & Vännman Kerstin. (2012) Comparing confidence intervals for multivariate process capability indices. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 28(4): 481-495. Waernbaum Ingeborg. (2012) Model misspecification and robustness in causal inference: comparing matching with doubly robust estimation. Statistics in Medicine, 31(15): 1572-1581. Wiberg Marie. (2012) Can a multidimensional test be evaluated with unidimensional item response theory? Educational Research and Evaluation, 18(4): 307-320.
Books and book chapters Bonnedahl Karl-Johan. (2012) Från ekonomiskt till hållbart från exploatering till samexistens: En bok om att tänka om. From economic to sustainable, from exploitation to co-existence. A book about re-thinking. Studentlitteratur: Lund. Broström Göran. (2012) Event History Analysis with R. Chapman and Hall: London. More articles can be found at: www.usbe.umu.se/english/research/publications