Talking boredom, engagement and motivation with a large multinational company

Had the pleasure to spend a full day together with a large multinational company and two of their developer teams. The time was limited but nevertheless rewarding and interesting. Next step is to see how this embryo of collaboration could be taken to the next level. Pretty fantastic to see, once again, how applicable our extreme context research are to what we commonly refer to quite ordinary organizations. Exciting times ahead!

Teaching project management to the Swedish police

The other week I had the pleasure and honor of teaching 16 managers within the Swedish police basic project management techniques. Rather than merely focusing on how to do it, we explored the consequences of the organizational form and how that may influence the individual, the project and the organization. Moreover we situated the project within the larger organization discussing and working with the challenges that follow when there is multiple projects at the same time. All in all, three full days of executive teaching and great fun!

“A Matter of Life or Death: How Extreme Context Research Matters for Management and Organization Studies” now published in Academy of Management Annals

The other day Linda Rouleau, Mark de Rond and mine paper “A Matter of Life or Death: How Extreme Context Research Matters for Management and Organization Studies” was published in the Academy of Management Annals journal. It was a lot of hard work so they are really pleased to finally see it in print. Hopefully it will make a difference in how we conceptualize, theorize and approach extreme contexts in the future. Naturally I am kind of happy about this and somewhat proud..

You find the article here or you can email me on markus.hallgren(at) if you´d like a copy. Please share with others that you think might be interested!

Organization scholarship has seen an escalation of interest in research into extremes. Comprising several interconnected domains, this growing body of research is decidedly fragmented. This fragmentation risks limiting its potential for advancing management and organization studies. Drawing on 138 articles published in top-tier journals between 1980 and 2015, the purpose of this review is to resolve some of this fragmentation by sharpening definitions and by developing a context-specific typology to help differentiate between contributions from research into risky contexts, emergency contexts, and disrupted contexts. Doing so allows us to let the various literatures speak to each other and to outline ways to enhance the cumulative potential of extreme context research.

Negotiations and research bargains: Bending professional norms in the effort to gain field access accepted for publication in International Journal of Qualitative Methods

Indonesia-Makes-Scientific-Publication-A-Graduation-Requirement-For-All-StudentsToday Ola, Robert, Ola and I had the pleasant news that their article “Negotiations and research bargains: Bending professional norms in the effort to gain field access” was  accepted for publication in International Journal of Qualitative Methods.

Worth mentioning this was Robert´s first. More to come!


The present study provides an auto-ethnographic account of the efforts to gain field access to a police organization, spanning more than two 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, emails 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, the article concludes that Merton’s norms are incongruent with both prevailing guidelines of research ethics as well as with the practical, short-term problems of access negotiations and research bargains.

What is already known?

Obtaining field access in organizations is an increasing problem for qualitative researchers. The literature on gaining access is providing strategies that researchers can use, as well as problematizing the ethical issues involved when bargaining with organizations. However, the literature has not hitherto engaged with the problem of how access negotiations affect the types of research questions asked, the way results are presented, and, consequently, what the role of research in society ought to be.

What this paper adds?

Using Merton’s norms of science (universalism, communalism, disinterestedness and organized skepticism) as a reference, the paper shows how the realities of research bargaining are at odds with research ideals such as impartiality, rationality and, in particular, freedom and autonomy from often competing societal interests. It also shows that prevailing ethical guidelines such as ‘informed consent’ might, in the effort to gain access, be problematic in relation to these ideals. With these arguments, the paper seeks to expand the debate on the problems of access to organizations to include the role of research in society.

Teaching zombie leadership in projects

Today I had the opportunity to do a workshop on leadership in projects. Nothing special about that, except that the case the master students were working with was the true classic. Late George Romero´s “Day of the Dead”, the third and final part of his “the dead” trilogy ( Of course popcorn was provided! The result from the case.. it seemed pretty successful..!

Skärmavbild 2017-11-13 kl. 21.51.44