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Hans Englund

Portrait Hans Englund

Hans Englund professor of business administration. He researches organisational control systems and is part of CEROC’s research environment, Centre for Empirical Research on Organisational Control.

Facts:

  • 1971 Born in Husby-Ärlinghundra, Sweden
  • 2006 Obtained his PhD in business administration at Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg with his thesis Structure and action in a municipal reform: some reactions to scorecards
  • 2011 Docent at Örebro University
  • 2016 Professor of business administration at Örebro University

In his thesis, Hans Englund studied how implementing balanced scorecards (a control system) in a municipality encountered strong resistance. He discovered new explanations for this response. Previous research has shown that resistance to new organisational control systems has often been sought in discrepancies between already established working methods and the new system’s working methods. Hans Englund showed in his study that the employees are not against the balanced scorecard project per se; they had strong objections to how the project was initiated and how people outside their own unit ran it.

“This resulted in a social structure where the power balance between different groups became decisive for the extent to which balanced scorecards gained a foothold in different parts of the organisation,” says Hans Englund.

After his thesis, his research has become more about how information produced in various organisational control systems contribute to constructing the organisational activities it is intended to change.

“We looked at the change process in a publicly listed company and were able to show that financial information acted as a significant driving force for organisational change, which is not surprising.”

However, it turned out that it did not go about as expected, that information would be used as a basis for downsizing, rationalisation, or special investments. Instead, the financial information contributed to creating ambiguity.

“We saw that as employees’ perceptions of the business were mirrored in the figures of the control system, they experienced various forms of ambiguity. It could be that they had a hard time seeing what the figures represented or that they had a hard time finding explanations for why certain figures developed in a certain way over time.”

The study revealed that such ambiguities, in turn, constituted primary sources of critical and collective reflection, which resulted in extensive changes in both the control system and the practices in which they were embedded.

Hans Englund is currently involved in two ongoing projects which look at performance measurements and identity issues. Both projects are conducted in the education sector. The prevalence of various performance measurements in the sector has increased in recent years, both at the national, organisational, and individual levels.

These projects concern various rankings, grading, quality indexes, standardised tests, and digital course evaluations. These are examples of measurements that have been normalised in the education sector.

“In the first project, we study how such performance measures contribute to reshaping the identity of secondary and upper secondary school teachers. In the other project, we study the related question but with regards to researchers in the higher education,” says Hans Englund and continues:

“The question we ask ourselves is, what kind of teacher or researcher do you become when your achievements are constantly visualised and assessed in various contexts?”

Read more about Hans Englund.