Presenting at Ecole de Navale and the Chair of Resilience and LeaderShip

Earlier this week I was invited by the Chair of Resilience and LeaderShip to give a presentation at Ecole de Navale in Brest. I talked about the research on Boredom on Mount Everest and how that is mitigated by organizational routines. The effect is a more cohesive and efficient team. It was a very interesting event with a mix of military, private/public organizations and scholars. Professor John Carroll of MIT also gave a talk about how to build resilient organizations out of a framework of organizational design, culture and politics. Other presenters included how French Special forces dealt with crisis situations and built their team cohesiveness. Interestingly, movie nights turned out to be universal between Sea to Summit.

Funding received for theory and method development related to the grand challenges

Per and Eivor Wikströms stiftelse gracefully approved our application related to theory and method development in grand challenges associated with extreme contexts. The idea behind the program is to develop an exchange program with scholars in french speaking academic environments. The program is a continuation from the Riksbanken funded exchange program and will run during 2019.

PUBLISHED: Buchanan & Hällgren – “Surviving a zombie apocalypse: Leadership configurations in extreme contexts”

David Buchanan and I just had our leadership article based on the zombie classic “Day of the Dead” by George Romero published in pre-print. Available at the journal of “Management Learning”. If you´d like a copy drop me an email…

Link to Management Learning


What can the classic zombie movie, Day of the Dead, tell us about leadership? In our analysis of this film, we explore leadership behaviours in an extreme context – a zombie apocalypse where survivors face persistent existential threat. Extreme context research presents methodological challenges, particularly with regard to fieldwork. The use of films as proxy case studies is one way in which to overcome these problems, and for researchers working in an interpretivist perspective, ‘social science fiction’ is increasingly used as a source of inspiration and ideas. The contribution of our analysis concerns highlighting the role of leadership configurations in extreme contexts, an approach not previously addressed in this field, but one that has greater explanatory power than current perspectives. In Day of the Dead, we observe several different configurations – patterns of leadership styles and behaviours – emerging, shifting and overlapping across the phases of the narrative, each with radically different consequences for the group of survivors. These observations suggest a speculative theory of leadership configurations and their implications in extreme contexts, for exploring further, with other methods.

Betygsnämnd; Caroline Ingvarsson “What´s next? Organising complex product development with lean”

Förra veckan var hektisk, satt också i en betygsnämnd på KTH för en avhandling skriven av Caroline Ingvarsson. Avhandlingen handlade om hur två stora företag organiserar sin produktutvecklingsverksamhet med hjälp av Lean och hur det arbetet tar sig faktiskt uttryck i vardagen. En välskriven avhandling gav en djupare förståelse för arbetet som hos mig väcker frågor såsom vad Lean egentligen är och hur olika metoder och modeller sprids i samhället till något som ibland är bortom igenkänning för att kunna fungera i den specifika miljön. Kommer osökt att tänka på Nils Brunssons “Mechanisms of Hope”.

Presenterade vid EGA-dagarna

Häromveckan hade jag det stora nöjet att hålla ett föredrag vid “EGA-dagarna”  för företaget EGA rörande “Riskhantering i Extrema miljöer”. Ett hundratal personer från främst byggindustrin deltog i det supertrevliga arrangemanget. De andra föreläsarna var väldigt intressanta och belyste mängder av aspekter kopplat till byggindustrin och dess säkerhet. Förhoppningsvis går det att spinna vidare på i någon form då det är en väldigt relevant fråga i en industrin som omsätter väldigt mycket pengar. En av aspekterna är intressant nog företeelsen att inte använda säkerhetsutrustning, vilket kan liknas vid sherpor på Everest som allt som oftast inte använder säkerhetslinor trots att det finns tillgängligt.

Speaking at Creative Summit 2018

Had the pleasure and honor to stand on the #Cresum18 scene the other day. The Creative summit is a “mixture of a conference, workshop, party and some very secret ingredients that we are not allowed to mention. We have been around since way back in 2007. Older than most of the ideas, innovations, technology and businesses that we usually share ideas around. It all takes place under the midnight sun in the north of Sweden.” ( Together with a bunch of extremely interesting we talked about the future of work. While they had a positive tone to it, I could not avoid to nuance it slightly, suggesting that the current trend in society may foster more boredom, less engagement and more problems for any type of organization. And yes, it was indeed a good party too!

Presenting the Annals paper on extreme contexts at the R3 research seminar

The R3 research group stands for Risk, Resilience and Reliability. It is a newly formed interdisciplinary network that currently is organized by Amy Fraher and Mark Hall at Birmingham University. I was invited to present my, Linda Rouleau´s and Mark de Rond´s Annals paper on extreme contexts. It was a great seminar with plenty of interesting thoughts and discussions following presentations by senior and junior scholars alike.


Fick det här mailet idag från en gammal student; “Jag vill tacka dig för alla tips du gav oss, att startskottet för denna resa blev project management-kursen som jag läste i höstas och att jag nu står här med anställning och ett examensarbete som varit till stor nytta både för oss som “forskare” men också för företaget som verkligen implementerat flera av våra lösningar eller planerar att göra det.” 🙂

Känns bra när undervisningen verkligen går bortom den enskilda kursen och omsätts i praktik för både student och organisation.

Rantatalo, Lindberg, Kihlberg & Hällgren – Negotiations and Research Bargains: Bending Professional Norms in the Effort to Gain Field Access

This morning Ola received the news that our paper is available to everyone. The paper is published on an “open access” basis and as a consequence open to anyone! It details the methodological struggles that we have had with one of our projects, and the kind of challenges and opportunities that arose from those – and how we navigated the treacherous waters.

You find the paper here

The present study provides an autoethnographic account of the efforts to gain field access to a police organization, spanning more than 2 years. The aim is to describe a case of gaining access in relation to the professional norms of science put forward by Robert K. Merton. Aided by an organized record of notes, e-mails, and other written communications regarding access (144 memos of various types), the study describes and discusses the negotiations with Mertonian norms that followed from the dissonance between ideals of research and practical reality. Opening up for further scholarly discussion, this article concludes that Merton’s norms are incongruent with both prevailing guidelines of research ethics and with the practical, short-term problems of access negotiations and research bargains.