NFF 2017 Tracks

Proposed Tracks NFF 2017 (per November 28th)

Track 1

Accounting Research in Public Sector

This conference track will deal with research on relevant and up-to-date topics related to public sector accounting in its broadest sense. The track aims to address actual changes happening in different (Nordic) countries - doing research on new practices, hence searching for practice relevance. It would be interesting to include reflections on how to continue facing and creating new research challenges, e. g. in public sector audit. Many topics may prove promising to become future avenues for public sector accounting research.

A subsection of this track could relate to stories in Public Sector Financial Management.
The domain of public sector finance and financial management is concerned with decision taking at mainly three different levels: the broader macroeconomic goals and targets and within this domain, mainly debt control and debt management; the more political sphere of budget accounting, delivering information regarding resource allocation and budget execution; and microeconomic (financial) accounting, delivering information needed for management decisions.

The accountant’s perspective on financial reporting is said to having entered the stage of the above mentioned systems as the last player. National Accounts and budgets were there before. What is the possible contribution of the youngest towards stable public finances? Is there any benefit from financial reporting without sound fiscal rules and policies? How can sound fiscal rules and policies be defined and who would do so? Have governments with modern financial accounting systems outperformed their colleagues with less developed systems regarding stable finances?

Some of the issues to be discussed might be, among others:
- The rivalry between economists and accountants,
- The symbiosis of fiscal rules and financial performance,
- The role of IPSAS towards performance of the financial management system,
- The link between fiscal rules, budgets and financial reports.
- How is public sector audit performing and/or functioning?

Track organizers:

Levi Gårseth-Nesbakk, Associated Professor, Nord University Business School, Norway,

Frode Kjærland, Associated Professor, NTNU Business School, Norway,

Track 2

After the financial crisis?

The Nordic countries have been at the forefront in fighting financial crises given their experience in late 1980s and early 1990s. Despite the lessons learned, the 2008 global financial crisis has put society and business on a new trial. Eight years after the global financial crisis a critical discussion that encompasses both bank management and finance is still needed. Even though lot of improvement has been achieved since the last crisis, the financial system is still structured in a very similar manner to the pre-2008 era and therefore prone to crash. Moreover, the intellectual or academic foundations that the financial sector relies on have also little changed since then.
Scandinavian scholarship has traditionally been interested in responsible management practices and Nordic countries have been praised for social innovation and inclusive growth. Nevertheless, the coexistence of multiple discourses in these contexts is noticeable, as the Nordic countries are part of the global financial system and affected by its dynamics and instability, which contributes to further challenges as well as the multiplicity of discourses or logics about the issues facing them.
Academic reflection on and interpretation of such complex and multiple discourses can be seen as a step into a fruitful debate around what constitutes responsible banking and finance practices after the financial crisis. The need for rethinking economics after the 2008 global financial meltdown has continued to be debated while a similar discussion is not as visible in the managerial realm.

We welcome papers that address this gap and raise concerns over issues that the financial crisis has made explicit, especially with respect to responsible practices within different fields like finance, accounting and economics. Historical, cultural and communicative lenses can be applied to this endeavor as well as other perspectives that shed light on assumptions that are taken for granted in the economic and management realms.

Track organizers:

Dr. Anna Linda Musacchio Adorisio, Copenhagen Business School,

Dr. Asgeir B. Torfason, Gothenburg Research Institute,

Dr. Gylfi Magnússon, University of Iceland School of Business,

Dr Emre Tarim, Lancaster University Management School,  

Track 3

Business in the High North

This session seeks contributions that humanize the high north region, and its time of change, by allowing authors to cast individuals who epitomize what is taking place there. The template for these stories is the best-selling 1986 text Writing for Story, by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Franklin. It lays out a protocol for finding an interesting topic, then writing a story about it. Franklin’s scheme calls for the writer to identify some significant problem that the protagonist faces, reveal why that problem makes a difference, and also reveal why the reader would be interested in it. Franklin would have the writer focus on who the protagonist is, including their human make-up, that makes it difficult or easy to respond to the world they encounter. This character-in-action formula is written into the contextual background of the culture of the high north that gives our stories a sense of the environment and contemporary time in which they take place. A narrative is a collection of people involved in causal sequences marked by a beginning, middle, and end that can be assessed for its moral effect (right and wrong) when the story arbitrarily draws to a close. Stories of the High North can be as hierarchical as the strategic decision to develop a technology, or solve a political problem. Or a story can be as local and familiar as the story of a single fisherman in a small village or of a young girl who uses her Norwegian educational opportunity to develop a professional self (Sørnes, Browning and Henriksen, 2015).


Clifford, J. (1988). The predicament of culture. Harvard University Press.

Franklin, J. (1986). Writing for story. Craft secrets of dramatic nonfiction by a two-time Pulitzer prize winner. New York: Atheneum.

Czarniawska, B. (1998). A narrative approach to organization studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Browning, L. & Morris, G. H. (2012). Stories of life in the workplace: An open architecture for organizational narratology. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-53999-9.

Sørnes, J-O, Browning L.D, and Henriksen, J. (2015) Culture, Development, and Petroleum – an Ethnography of the High North, Routledge

Track organizers:

Jan-Oddvar Sørnes (Ph.D.), Nord University, Business School, Norway

Larry Browning (Ph.D.), Nord University, Business School, Norway
and the University of Texas at Austin.

Frode Fjelldal-Soelberg (Ph.D.), Nord University, Business School, Norway

Track 4

Business models: in search of new avenues for business model conceptualization and contextualization

Business model research has matured to stage where various approaches and schools of thought have started to emerge. By looking across the generations of business model research we can identify a development of the business model from an idea to concept, model, and finally a versatile and boundary-spanning unit of analysis (Zott et al, 2011). Even though business models have been seen from various perspectives, the question what a business model really is remains unanswered (Zott & Amit, 2013). Extant literature discusses business models from two dominating perspectives, essentialist and instrumental (Doganova & Eyquem-Renault 2009; Jensen, 2013). Essentialists view business models as a “representation” of reality while instrumentalists see it having explicative or predictive power regarding transformation or value creation in business. Rather than asking what a business model is, it appears worthwhile to ask what we can do with it or what can it do for us. We invite researchers to contribute to the advancement of the business model research by submitting papers that apply novel business model conceptualizations and approaches in novel contexts.

The research questions could cover topics such as
- How are business models created, practiced and transformed in novel contexts?
- How, why and where can we utilize business models in novel ways?
- What new methodological approaches and levels of analysis could there be for business models?

Best papers of the conference will be invited to be submitted to Journal of Business Models ( that will publish a special issue on the papers presented in the conference.

Possible references for discussions are:
Doganova, L., & Eyquem-Renault, M. (2009). What do business models do? Innovation devices in technology entrepreneurship. Research Policy 38(10), 1559-1570.
Jensen, A.B. (2013). Do we need one business model definition? Journal of Business Models 1(1), 61-84.
Zott, C., Amit, R., Massa, L. (2011). The business model: Recent developments and future research. Journal of Management 37 (4): 1019-1042.
Zott, C., & Amit, R. (2013). The business model: A theoretically anchored robust construct for strategic analysis. Strategic Organization 11(4), 403-411.

Track organizers:

Dr. Petri Ahokangas, Senior research fellow, Oulu Business School, Co-editor in chief, Journal of Business Models,

Dr. Minna Pikkarainen, Connected health professor, Oulu Business School,

Dr Marika Iivari, Researcher, Oulu Business School,

Track 5

Consumer behavior research in the Nordic countries: What’s happening?

Consumer behavior research deals with consumers’ acquisition, use, and disposition of products. All of these consumer activities, however, have not been studied to the same extent. And we do yet not have good theories for everything covered by these activities. At the same time, consumers are increasingly in focus for many firms. Much more research is thus needed. And much research is indeed carried out – so much that it is impossible for a single individual to know what goes on. So, what exactly is going on? The ambition of this track is to provide an overview of current consumer behavior research in the Nordic countries.

We invite researchers to submit their research to this conference track and come to the conference to present what they do. Our scope is broad. Issues can be related to both goods and services; they can deal with consumers’ reactions to various marketing activities such as advertising, websites, and store environments; the employed methods can be everything from experiments to ethnography; and the data can comprise overt behavior, physiological aspects, and psychological reactions.

Track organizers:

Magnus Söderlund, Professor, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden,

Erik Modig, Assistant Professor, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden,

Track 6

Digitalization: Information technology, knowledge and sustainability

Rapid advancements in information and communication technologies (ICTs), digitalization, expanding hyper connectivity, ever changing firm dynamics and firm sustainability in a global context have become important features of knowledge economies in the 21st century. In this dynamic context, access to new ICT creates both possibilities and problems, for individuals, organizations and society at large. With "Enterprise systems” (increased integration), 'Business intelligence” (increased transparency), knowledge transfer and creation (increased collaborative working and innovation) 'Social media" (increased social interaction) and "Internet of things" (increased materiality), modern organizations are confronted with elevated complexities and existential challenges in this advent era of ‘Cloud (and Ubiquitous) computing’ and "Big Data".

Despite the significant relevance and role of ICT

and organizational knowledge, they can be viewed as dynamic and interactive concepts that can drive and often support organizational change. Furthermore, there is often lack of research about the management of ICT and also its influence on the expansion and effective use of knowledge in organizations. In the rare cases when the subject is actually studied it is often based on classical definition where information technology (and its application yielding explicit knowledge) can be viewed as a static and deterministic artifact with a one-sided and traditional cause-effect contingency approach. This viewpoint of ICT is also relevant in the recent work on the concepts of routines and materiality.

From a Nordic perspective, the subject of this track is specifically empirically interesting since we are at the forefront of ICT development that needs to be sustainable and can also copiously facilitate effective organizational knowledge use to tackle the changing complexities faced by present day organizations. To the track "information technology, knowledge and sustainability” we invite empirical work, with different theoretical point of departures, and related to the many topics in the field of "Management" with its numerous sub fields. Welcome!'

Examples of specific questions in this theme (but not exhaustive):
-What are the consequences of digitalization (e.g. new organizational practices, routines, and roles, organizational knowledge dynamics, use of ICT based organizational solutions for a sustainable world, use of social media, virtualization, computers as services “The Cloud”)?
-How does the role of ICT enable collaborative working (i.e. knowledge creation, transfer and innovation in inter and intra-organizational contexts)?
-How does ICT influence strategic change and firm sustainability, accounting and enterprise systems?
References ("inspirational" examples): Barley (1986); Feldman & Pentland (2003); Kim & Rhee (2009); Leonardi (2013); MacKenzie (2009); Melville (2010); Orlikowski (2010); Orlikowski & Scott (2008); Spaargaren (2011); Strengers (2012); Venkitachalam & Willmott (2015); Zammuto, et al. (2007).

Track organizers:

This track is organized in collaboration with The Swedish Research School of Management and Information Technology / Nationella forskarskolan Management och IT (MIT)

Einar Iveroth, Associate Professor, Uppsala University, E-mail:

Jan Löwstedt, Professor, Stockholm University, E-mail: 

Jan Lindvall, Associate Professor, Uppsala University, E-mail:

Krishna Venkitachalam, Associate Professor, Stockholm University, E-mail:

Track 7

Emergency management

Safety and security and emergency preparedness is a prerequisite for the growth and welfare of societies. Significant resources are invested by governments and companies in emergency preparedness capacities related to health emergencies, search and rescue operations, fire fighting, oil spill response, and capacities for action against violence and terror.
The geographical context may challenge both the risk assessment, the resource configuration and the management of the preparedness system. For example, preparedness in the Arctic is a challenging task due to political sensitivity, a broad range of stakeholders, limitations in communications, lack of infrastructure, and harsh weather conditions. Helping out in incidents taking place in a maritime environment is even more challenging (Marchenko et al., 2016).
In this session we emphasize emergency management in turbulent and complex environments. The literature highlights the influence of complex and volatile environments on emergency management and coordination, and especially in large-scale crisis operations (Bigley & Roberts, 2001; Buck et al., 2006). The crisis management system, in particular the incident command roles and coordination mechanisms have to be scrutinized to secure system effectiveness (Borch & Andreassen, 2015). There is a need for tailor-made coordination roles and dynamic capabilities in order to face turbulent contextual challenges.
Results from emergency exercises and case studies provide a valuable platform for analyzing the demand for management competence in preparedness agencies and companies. Joint efforts in emergency management training and partnerships within national preparedness systems and across borders are in demand.

In this conference track, possible research papers may have interest in:
- risk assessment and preparedness challenges
- crisis management, coordination of preparedness resources
- emergency preparedness capacities and capabilities
-organization and managerial roles in emergency preparedness organizations
- development of competence in emergency management
- cross-border cooperation on emergency response
Bigley, G. A. & Roberts, K.H. 2001. The incident command system: high reliability organizing for complex and volatile environments. Academy of Management Journal, vol.44, no.6, 1281-1299.
Borch, O.J. and Andreassen, N. 2015. Joint-Task Force Management in Cross-Border Emergency Response. Managerial Roles and Structuring Mechanisms in High Complexity-High Volatility Environments, in Weintrit, A. and Neumann, T. (eds.) Information, Communication and Environment: Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation, CRC Press.
Buck, D. A., Trainor, J. E. & Aguirre, B. E. 2006. A Critical Evaluation of the Incident Command System and NIMS, Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Vol.3, Issue 3.
Marchenko, N.A., Borch, O.J., Markov, S.V. & Andreassen, N. 2016. Maritime Safety in the High North – Risk and Preparedness, The Twenty-sixth International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference (ISOPE 2016), Rhodes.

Track organizers:

Odd Jarl Borch, Professor, Nord University Business School,

Natalia Andreassen, Researcher, Nord University Business School,

Track 8

Entrepreneurial learning & entrepreneurship education

Learning is a lasting change in human behavior as a result of interaction and experiences from the real world (Driscoll, 2000). For Kolb (1984) learning is an experimental process that creates meaning and structure and builds new cognitive schemas (Piaget, 1967) used for interpretation and action (Bruner, 1996). Nabi et al (2016) in their review of 159 recent published articles finds that entrepreneurship education impact research still suffers from a predominantly focus on short-term and subjective outcome measures.
Entrepreneurial learning has emerged as an important concept at the interface between entrepreneurship and organizational learning (Wang and Chugh, 2014) with the potential to inform entrepreneurship education substantially Higgins, Smith and Mirza, 2013). Investigations on entrepreneurial learning focus on how entrepreneurs learn and what they learn when they are entrepreneurial (Rae and Carswell, 2001). Cope (2003) shows how entrepreneurial learning events creates higher-level learning, learning through recognizing and acting on entrepreneurial opportunities while coping with the liability of newness (Politis, 2005).

In this conference track, we invite researchers to further explore how our understanding of entrepreneurship education could be improved and to explore the link between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial learning. We welcome bot empirical and conceptual contributions.

Bruner, J.S. (1996) The culture of education. Harvard University Press
Cope, J. and Watts, G. "Learning by doing-An exploration of experience, critical incidents and reflection in entrepreneurial learning."
Cope, J. (2003) Entrepreneurial learning and critical reflection discontinuous events as triggers for ‘higher-level’ learning. Management learning 34.4: 429-450.
Driscoll, M. (2000) Psychology of learning for instruction. Allyn & Bacon, Needham Heights, NMA.
Higgins, D., Smith, K., and Mirza, M. (2013). Entrepreneurial education: Reflexive approaches to entrepreneurial learning in practice. Journal of Entrepreneurship, 22(2): 135-160.
Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experimental learning: Experiences as the source of learning and development. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Nabi, G. et al. (2016) The impact of entrepreneurship education in higher education: A systematic review and research agenda. Academy of Management Learning & Education DOI: 10.5465/amle.2015.0026.
Piaget, J. (1967) Biology and knowledge. University Press, Edinburgh.
Politis, D. (2005) The process of entrepreneurial learning: A conceptual framework. Entrepreneurship theory and practice 29.4: 399-424.
Rae, D. and Carswell, M. (2001) Towards a conceptual understanding of entrepreneurial learning. Journal of small business and enterprise development 8.2: 150-158.
Walter, S.G., and Block. J.H. (2016) Outcomes of entrepreneurship education: An institutional perspective. Journal of Business Venturing 31.2: 216-233.
Wang, C.L. & Chugh, H. (2014). Entrepreneurial learning: past research and future challenges. International Journal of Management Reviews, 16(1): 24-61.

Track organizers:

Bjørn Willy Åmo, Associate professor Nord University Business School,

Espen Isaksen, Associate professor, Nord University Business School

Track 9

Entrepreneurial Opportunities and Challenges in the Nordic Countries

Creative destruction, entrepreneurship and innovations are common topics in current debate as well as in research. For some it is related to primarily to small business, corporate development, commercialization and growth but these topics can also be related to involvement in social and environmental issues and thereby basically to the development of our society.

Entrepreneurship has generally become associated with the good (Schumpeter 1911). Today entrepreneurship and innovation are embraced by politicians and the general public and ascribed promises of economic growth, wellbeing and prosperity. Basically solutions to all sorts of different challenges. But Baumol (1990) distinguishes between entrepreneurship as productive (innovation), unproductive (rent-seeking) or destructive (illegal activities). The latter two resulting in redistribution of wealth rather than adding new values. These approaches just illustrate some of the complexity in the field.
Different discussions of entrepreneurship sweeps across the globe and connects to a variety of local contexts. In the Nordic countries the entrepreneurship discourse developed during the last decades meets and interacts with a history of transformation - into what has been referred to as social democratic welfare regimes and more recently into welfare societies more influenced by neoliberal ideals.

In this conference track, we invite researchers to further explore the entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges in the Nordic countries that in spite of their northern periphery and highly integrated in global movements of products and services as well
as people and financial means. This theme can be addressed in many ways and for example related to the following questions:
What does creative destruction on different levels mean for society?
Entrepreneurship and the transition of the Nordic welfare societies?
Entrepreneurship and (economic, social and ecological) sustainability?
Possible references for discussions are:
Andersen, L., Gawell, M. & Spear, R. (2016), Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises. Nordic Perspectives. Routledge.
Baumol, W. (1990), Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive and Destructive, Journal of Political Economy, 98, 3, 893–921.
Box, M., Gratzer, K. & Lin, X. (2016), Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth in Sweden, 1850-2000, in: Bögenhold, D. (Ed.), Contemporary Entrepreneurship: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Innovation and Growth. Springer.
Henrekson, M. & Stenkula, M. (2016), Understanding Entrepreneurship. Studentlitteratur.
Schumpeter, J. (1911), Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.

Track organizers:

Malin Gawell, Associated Professor, Södertörn University, Sweden,

Karl Gratzer, Professor, Södertörn University, Sweden,  

Track 10

Experience research – Innovation, management and marketing

The increasing role of experiences was observed during the eighties and nineties. Pine & Gilmore (1999) describing this as a trend of experience economy following after the service economy. The experience products, value creation and contexts have been argued different from services. Traditionally most research on innovation have focused on manufacturing and ICT sectors, being the fundament for much theory and models, but a debate has started whether the assumptions are transferable to experiences as researchers started studying experience based sectors or experiences used as supplements in other sectors. Although still in an early phase, there has been a significant increase of marketing/consumer research and research on innovation the last 5-10 years. Research on management (except innovation) and economic and financing aspects has been almost absent.

This track particularly call for papers addressing problem such as:
Entrepreneurship in experience sectors
Innovation in experience sectors:
Results in particular innovation of experience concepts, business models and value chains/networks
Experience design
Innovation drivers and processes, in particular such as how to involve employees and users/customers; testing and learning; combining knowledge and different communities/practices; cooperating and networks; maintenance of innovations
Marketing in experience sectors:
Experiential marketing
New approaches to marketing (niche focus on personas, digital and social media, design)
Consumer research, in particular: research on flow, immersion, challenges/tensions, value co-creation and value results
Sustainable development and innovation, in particular the role of managers/employees and customers strong values
Management of experience firms, in particular:
How the high number of seasonal/part time employees creates challenges and opportunities
Managers as leaders, innovators and in the daily production – challenges and opportunities
Management of creative people
Management of experiences in service, manufacturing and first sector firms (agriculture, fishing, forest etc.)
Management of technology in experiences (IT, other technologies)
Other topics research within experience based sectors, or related to experiences as supplements in other sectors, are also welcomed.

Track organizers:

Dorthe Eide, Business School Nord

Lena Mossberg, Business School Gothenburg/ Business School Nord

Jon Sundbo, Roskilde University/ Business School Nord

Track 11

 Humour, joy, and playfulness creating wellbeing in and around organizations

Playfulness, fun and humour as well as the influence of positive emotions on people are topics of multidisciplinary interest (e.g. Veatch 1998). Researchers have become inspired to study humour and emotions at various (inter)organizational levels and in different contexts; e.g. management, business communication, advertising, and employer branding (Duncan 1982; Romero & Pescosolido 2008; Tähtinen & Blois 2011; Hurmelinna-Laukkanen et al. 2017; Vuorela, 2005; Oikarinen & Söderlund 2016; Oikarinen & Saraniemi 2016). However, the strategic business potential of positive emotions and their relation to wellbeing is not understood properly. This track encourages researchers to investigate the different aspects, potential and risks related to using and utilizing positive emotions, humour and playfulness, both in and around organizations and (inter)organizational relationships. We encourage studies that discuss but are not limited to the topics:
The potential and different roles of humour in creating and developing business opportunities, including humour, joy, and fun embedded in business activities and models (e.g. business services).

The relationships between playfulness, work engagement & wellbeing at work and innovative behavior &performance inside organizations.
Societal issues, risks and potential of playfulness and humour in different advertising and branding contexts.
Different aspects of humour, playfulness and emotions in (inter)organizational relationships.
Role of emotions, humour, playfulness and fun as well as their connections to wellbeing in small business and entrepreneurship.

Duncan, W.J. (1982). Humor in Management: Prospect for Administrative Practice and Research. Academy of Management Review 7(1): 136-142.
Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P., Atta-Owusu, K., Oikarinen E-L (2017). You are joking, right? Connecting humor types to innovative behavior and innovation output. International Journal of Innovation Management.
Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P., Alatalo, S., Oikarinen E-L, Vuorela T., Ahola H., and Aro P., Kallio, T., Atta-Owusu, K. (2016). Relationships of Playfulness, work engagement and innovative performance. European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE). 15.-16.9.2016 Jyväskylä
Oikarinen E-L and Söderlund M (2016). The effects of humour in online recruitment advertising. Australasian Marketing Journal 24(3): 180-186
Oikarinen E-L and Saraniemi S (2016). Categorizing humorous employer brand message in a small company’s online job ads. Corporate Reputation Review. doi:10.1057/s41299-016-0003-2
Romero, E. and Pescosolido, A. (2008). Humour and group effectiveness. Human Relations 61(3): 395-418.
Tähtinen, J. and K. Blois (2011). The Involvement and Influence of Emotions in Problematic Busines Relationships. Industrial Marketing Management 40(6): 907-918.
Veatch, T.C. (1998). A Theory of humor. International Journal of Humor Research 11(2): 161-215.
Vuorela, T. (2005). Laughing Matters: A Case Study of Humor in Multicultural Business Negotiations. Negotiation Journal 21(1): 105-130.

Track organizers:

Eeva-Liisa Oikarinen, PhD Candidate, Project Manager, University of Oulu, Finland,

Jaana Tähtinen, Prof., Turku School of Economics, University of Turku (UTU) Pori Unit, Finland,

Taina Vuorela, Principal Lecturer, Dr. Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland,

Matti Muhos, Adjunct Prof., Dr, Research Director, University of Oulu, Oulu Southern Institute, Finland,

Kati Suomi, Post-doc Researcher, Dr. Turku School of Economics, UTU, Pori Unit, Finland,

Katriina Heljakka, Post-doc Researcher, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, UTU, Pori, Finland,

Sari Alatalo, Senior Lecturer, M.A., Project Manager, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland,

Track 12

Innovation in construction – how does it happen?

It is a common assertion that there is a lack of innovation in construction. But construction also manages to provide both mundane and innovative buildings and infrastructure. So how does innovation in construction happen? The aim of this track is not to explain why innovations in construction fail. Instead, we seek contributions that reveal how innovation in construction happens in practice. We invite papers that seek to unravel the materialities, complexities, ambiguities and uncertainties of managing innovation in construction. We seek novel conceptualizations of innovation in construction, preferably supported with empirical insights about what is actually going on, for example with regard to innovation in sustainable construction processes, physical design of products and services, use of technological tools, accounting and calculation practices to name but a few.

There is vast potential for innovation in construction to contribute to broader societal issues; for instance “Buildings are responsible for more than 40 percent of global energy use and one third of global greenhouse gas emissions, both in developed and developing countries” (United Nations Environment Programme, 2009 p. 6). We seek contributions that can help to illuminate the interconnectedness/connectivity of innovation across the entities and organizational boundaries through which construction is carried out (project, firm and industry) and how these eventually relate to regional and transnational networks of construction actors, technologies and activities. We are also interested in the ways innovative construction practice is connected to social and societal impact.

We provide an indicative list of topics within this broader theme on innovation in the construction business below:
* What innovative roles can construction play in facilitating the development of sustainable cities and bioeconomies? For example, can urban wood buildings play such innovative roles?
* Building through design visualizations and calculations – the innovative (performative) role of construction management technologies
* How does the building construction become a valuable and innovative asset?
* The role of learning and knowledge production in construction innovation
* What are the (dynamic) connections between building tradition and innovation in construction?
* What are the (dynamic) connections between innovation in construction and ways of managing project success?
* The construction project as an experimental organization and innovation network
* How do new business models, forms of collaboration and contracting support innovation in construction?
* How can facility management and end-users (both humans and non-humans) be involved in design decisions for innovation in sustainable buildings and infrastructures?

For good reasons, the above list can only be indicative and suggestive as we envision that the socio-material practices of construction ‘on the ground’ can be more innovative, and more challenging, than what we currently know. We imagine that such unexpected challenges are integral to innovation in construction. But then again, only an empirically informed analysis can tell. So we invite you to tell that story – about how innovation in construction happens.
If we can gather a sufficient number of such good stories, we will aim for a Special Issue in the leading journal Construction Management and Economics.

Track organizers:

Prof. Kjell Tryggestad, Hedmark University of Applied Sciences, Norway and Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Associate prof. Lena Bygballe, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway

Dr. Peter Holm Jacobsen, Lecturer Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Dr. Alice Comi, Lecturer Kingston Business School, Kingston University, UK

Dr. Stefan Gottlieb, Senior researcher SBI Aalborg University, Denmark

Associate prof. Malena Ingemansson Havenvid, NTNU, Norway

Associate prof. Mårten Hugosson, Hedmark University of Applied Sciences, Norway

Prof. Jennifer Whyte, Imperial College London, UK

Prof. Chris Harty, University of Reading, UK

Prof. Will Hughes, University of Reading, UK

Track 13

Inter-organizational collaboration for innovation

Today, firms in a wide range of industries are involved in some form of external collaboration in effort to complement or reduce in-house R&D (Cohen, Nelson, and Walsh 2002, Hagedoorn 2002, Powell, Koput, and Smith-Doerr 1996). The rationale behind inter-organizational collaboration is to gain access to complementary capabilities, reap economies of scale in R&D, and shorten development time while spreading the cost and risk of such new developments (Sampson, 2007). There are several types of inter-organizational collaboration, including university-industry dyads, strategic alliances, coopetition alliances, and buyer-supplier relationships.
Inter-organizational collaboration contributes to the development of new technologies and processes in new and well-established businesses, and adds relevant knowledge to global challenges such as climate issues. While the importance and outcomes of inter-organizational collaboration for innovation is well documented (Hardy, Phillips, and Lawrence 2003) the understanding of the underlying dynamics of what fosters such collaboration needs more investigation (Perkmann and Walsh 2007, Balland 2011, Smith 2012).
In this conference track, we welcome researchers to further explore inter-organizational collaboration for the enhancement of innovation. We look for novel empirical studies, and encourage studies from a broad range of contexts and disciplines.

Examples of questions/topics includes, but are not limited to:
* Opportunities and barriers of inter-organizational collaboration for innovation
* How is knowledge absorbed and integrated in inter-organizational collaboration?
* How do organizations learn to collaborate across boundaries?
* How does relational aspects, such as power and dependency, social capital and proximity affect inter-organizational collaboration between partners?
* What are the characteristics of the process prior to and during the collaboration?
* Are there particular characteristics related to the development of environmental innovations?
* Comparison of different types of inter-organizational collaboration.
* The role of the regional context inter-organizational collaboration.
* What characterizes unsuccessful inter-organizational collaboration?

Balland, Pierre-Alexandre. 2011. "Proximity and the Evolution of Collaboration Networks: Evidence from Research and Development Projects within the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Industry." Regional Studies 46 (6):741-756. doi: 10.1080/00343404.2010.529121.
Cohen, Wesley M., Richard R. Nelson, and John P. Walsh. 2002. "Links and Impacts: The Influence of Public Research on Industrial R&D." Management Science 48 (1):1-23. doi: doi:10.1287/mnsc.
Hagedoorn, John. 2002. "Inter-firm R&D partnerships: an overview of major trends and patterns since 1960." Research Policy 31 (4):477-492. doi:
Hardy, Cynthia, Nelson Phillips, and Thomas B. Lawrence. 2003. "Resources, Knowledge and Influence: The Organizational Effects of Interorganizational Collaboration*." Journal of Management Studies 40 (2):321-347. doi: 10.1111/1467-6486.00342.
Perkmann, Markus, and Kathryn Walsh. 2007. "University–industry relationships and open innovation: Towards a research agenda." International Journal of Management Reviews 9 (4):259-280. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2007.00225.x.
Powell, Walter W., Kenneth W. Koput, and Laurel Smith-Doerr. 1996. "Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of learning in biotechnology." Administrative Science Quarterly 41 (1):116-145. doi: 10.2307/2393988.  
Smith, Pernille. 2012. "Where is practice in inter-organizational R&D research? A literature review." Management Research 10 (1):43-63. doi:

Track organizers:

Marianne Steinmo, Associate Professor, Nord University Business School, Norway

Krister Salamonsen, Post Doc, Nord University Business School, Norway

Thomas Lauvås, Research fellow, Nord University Business School, Norway  

Track 14

Management of innovation, product/service development and design

There is a growing interest in not only innovation, but in how management can make a difference. Design and product development has for some time been considered the realm of engineers and especially interested designers. This has changed in recent years, so top-management today considers these areas for not only relevant but highly important for companies to remain competitive. Likewise, innovation and product development has become an ongoing activity that involves considerations about the portfolio, the allocation of resources, and organization and organizing. Questions about knowledge and resources has come into focus, and different notions of interaction in networks, collaborations, exchange and user interaction is a growing area of interest. Areas like creativity, teamwork, collaboration, calculative practices and the use of different management technologies are still of interest. The area is open for contributions from all research fields. Our main requirement is that the contributions should deal with some king of managerial issue, a dilemma that companies tries to deal with or some kind of managerial or organizational mystery that is of interest to research.

Examples of contributions - but not limited to:
Portfolio management in/on product development
Sustainability and design issues in product/service development.
Empirical studies on decision making on/in product development/innovation
Management practices and conversations on product development
Creativity and innovation management
Collaboration and networks in product/service development.
Organizational structure and processes in/around product development and innovation.
Politics and power in and around product development and innovation
Possible references for discussions are:
Bentzen, M. E., Christiansen, J. K., & Varnes, M. C. J. (2011). What attracts decision makers attention? Managerial allocation of time at product development portfolio meetings. Management Decision, 49(3), 330-349.
Christiansen, J. K., & Varnes, C. J. (2007). Making decisions on innovation: Meetings or networks? Creativity and Innovation Management, 16(3), 282-298.
Christiansen, J. K., Varnes, C. J., Gasparin, M., Storm-Nielsen, D., & Vinther, E. J. (2010). Living twice: How a product goes through multiple life cycles. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 27(6), 797-827.
Christiansen, J. K., & Varnes, C. J. (2009). Formal rules in product development: Sensemaking of structured approaches. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 26(5), 502-519.
Raisch, S., Birkinshaw, J., Probst, G., & Tushman, M. L. (2009). Organizational ambidexterity: Balancing exploitation and exploration for sustained performance. Organization Science, 20(4), 685-695.

Track organizers:

John K. Christiansen, Professor, Copenhagen Business School.

Claus Varnes, Associate professor, Copenhagen Business School.

Runólfur Smári Steinþórsson, Professor, University of Iceland.

Track 15

Nordic HRM and sustainable management practices, with special emphasis on distinctiveness and resilience as a subtheme

The distinctiveness and resilience of Nordic HRM and sustainable management practices in general pre- and post-economic crisis 2008 (in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Norway) has proven highly relevant for economic growth as well as recovery. One of the strengths of the Nordic system is its distinct employment relations and in particular the concept of co-workership, which is characterize as a type of co-leadership of joint organizational operations. This special Nordic approach embodies a stronger role for a wider range of stakeholders and active creativity that have supported resilience in the face of crises. This includes HRM institutions like interest associations providing training and development initiatives and their input in the public debate on good management practices; HR-functions carrying out representational and participative roles in company level implementation of changes and promotion of a less hierarchical and line-management oriented approach. This way HRM takes place within the framework of macro level national institutions and micro level traditions of work practices. This setup provides a good basis for reinforcing sustainability and resilience – a way to successfully addressing economic challenges within this distinct region.

Track organizers:

Torben Andersen
Associate Professor
Department of Marketing & Management

Freddy Hällsten, PhD.
Department of Business Administration
School of Business, Economics and Law
University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Track 17

Nordic practices of management control and organizing

How should firms’ control systems be designed and used to formulate and implement strategies that will contribute to competitive advantage and sustained high performance? This is an issue that there are several answers to. One answer that has been proposed is that Beyond budgeting can be a good way to do it. The notion of Beyond Budgeting, however, does not say much about its’ meaning although everyone would agree that it is a more dynamic way of designing and using control systems. It is built on ideas of de-composing budget functions into three different processes; a target setting process, a forecast process and a resource allocation process. But this is not enough. In addition, the company has to have a decentralized structure and work with continuous improvements.
Many argue that this is something new and important. We agree that it is important but the newness can be questioned. The cornerstones of the Beyond Budgeting ideas come from the 70s in Scandinavia, notably from the Swedish Handelsbanken with Jan Wallander as the founding father. His ideas have been further developed by many other Scandinavian companies, and out of mainly their practices Beyond Budgeting has continued to been developed.
In this track we are interested not only in Beyond Budgeting and the ideas behind it but about all Nordic practices of management control. For instance, flat organizational structures, close interactions between managers on different levels, small differences between remuneration arrangements on different levels in Nordic organization can be some factors explaining still high productivity and efficiency of the personnel. What do we know today about Nordic management control? Do have a Nordic management control trend and practice? If so, what does it look like? What are the trends of today influenced by and what direction will those trends take in the future? How can different theoretical frames of reference and research methods contribute to our understanding of these questions?
We are interested in papers focusing on management control, budgeting, the role and work of controllers (management accountants), organizing trends, risk management. But it can also be other themes related to Nordic practices of management control and organizing.

Track organizers:

Katarina Kaarbøe, Norwegian School of Economics (Norway)

Anatoli Bourmistrov, Nord University Business School (Norway)

Anders Hersinger, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)

Track 18

Open track on ecological economics

Ecological economics proposes a different way of thinking within economics and business. The goal of economics should be changed from an everlasting growth and attempt to increase material welfare to a steady state where the focus is on well being and quality of life. Ecological economics is built on an idea where the creation of a viable and sustainable future demands fundamental changes in systems on macro, meso and micro levels. The Nordic countries, being welfare states with a high environmental profile should be among the first countries to make this transformation, but instead it seem like the strategy is weak sustainability and an attempt to keep everything as usual, just make it green.

This track seek to develop the research on real possibilities for changes within business, and show example on how business can help and move in a true sustainable direction. There are several angles that this theme can be examined; Ingebrigtsen and Jakobsen offers an interesting starting point on circulation economics (2007), it can be aimed in changing consumer behavior towards more frugal behavior (Bouckaert, 2008:3), developing more sustainable societies (Ingulfsvann, 2015), how to integrate and develop leadership theory within ecological management (Storsletten and Jakobsen, 2013) or other themes within ecological economics

Typical examples on focus in the papers can be:

  • Managing local resources for local sustainability
  • Circular economics vs. circulation economics.
  • Business as unusual - Leadership for a sustainable future
  • Implementing ecological economics in business thinking
  • Growth, green growth and degrowth
    Spiritual leadership
  • Long-term thinking: gaps, challenges and ethical considerations
  • Trends on new emergent technologies: Challenges in a context of economic equality and well-being
  • Self-knowledge: foundations for an emergent paradigm in management

Bouckhart, Luk; Opdebeeck and Zsolnai, Laszlo (2008) “Why frugality” In: L. Bouckaert., H.Opdebeeck and L. Zsolnai. (ed.), Frugality Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life pp.3-27 Oxford: Peter Lang.
Ingebrigtsen, S., Jakobsen, O. (2007) Circulation economics, Oxford, Peter Lang publ.
Ingulfsvann, Are S. Jakobsen, Ove D. og Nystad Øystein (2015) “How to develop Sustainable Societies – A dialogic Network Perspective”. International Journal of Social Economics Vol 42 No 6 pp 583-596
Storsletten, Vivi and Jakobsen, Ove (2013) “Revolution and evolution in Economics, Business management and leadership theory” in: Midtun, Atle (2013):CSR and Beyond pp364-385 Oslo: Cappelen Akademisk

Track organizers:

Ove Jacobsen,
Are Severin Ingulfsvann

Track 19

Open track on finance

This track invites contributions within all fields of finance, including asset pricing and corporate finance. We seek high-quality papers from scholars and practitioners in the fields of finance that rests on a solid economic foundation, has practical importance, and introduce new hypotheses that have the potential to stimulate additional research. Examples of topics are, but not limited to, asset allocation, investments, econometrics, real options, valuation, capital structure, real estate, commodities. Young researchers are especially encouraged to submit a paper.

Track organizers:

Thomas Leirvik
Associate Professor,
Nord University Business School

Track 20

Open track on management and business administration I

The open track is set up to make it possible for people to present papers on topics that do not easily fall into the specific subjects of other tracks. If a larger number of papers are submitted to this open track, there is the possibility of organizing sessions dealing with different themes.

Track organizers:

Jan-Oddvar Sørnes
Professor, Nord University Business School  

Track 21

Organizational integration: managing across boundaries in human services


The fiscal and organizational sustainability of healthcare systems is challenged by the changing demographics of ageing and steep rises in patients with multiple long term conditions provoking policy makers, practitioners and academics to question existing models of specialized care provision often leading to fragmentation in the care taking of individuals. Accordingly, recent years have seen a growing interest in the creation of new care ‘pathways’, joint care centres, mobile home-care teams and other means to span administrative, legal and professional boundaries. Further, many European systems are seeing efforts to redefine patients as active subjects who will become more closely involved in the design of healthcare services. Notwithstanding, these efforts are often backfired by established agency structures, professional norms and traditions, and separate remuneration systems.

This track will focus on the political, professional and managerial implications of the laborious pursuit to develop well-functioning integration in health care. These issues could probably be approached from a variety of theoretical perspectives, thereby broadening our conceptualization of the prospects and pitfalls involved in managing across boundaries. Both process studies, best cases, failures and other types of empirical experiences are of interest. We welcome theoretically robust, exploratory and empirically well-grounded papers that address these developments, for instance with regards to:
- How are human service providers developing their capacity for working across long-standing professional jurisdictions and organizational boundaries, or increased patient involvement in the design/delivery of human services?
- What kinds of political and organizational realignment are likely to underpin new collaborative ways of working?
- What are the challenges, and possible benefits, involved for working in multi-professional, interorganisational health care teams?
- To what extent can the advent of new contractual forms be equated with the emergence of disaggregated ‘post bureaucratic’ or ‘networked’ organizational forms?

A selection of references:
Finn, R., M. Learmonth & P. Reedy (2010). Some unintended effects of teamwork in health care. Social science and medicine, 70, 1148-1154.
Kerosuo, H. (2010). Lost in translation – a patient-centred experience of unintegrated care. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 23(4), 372-380.
Lindberg, K., A. Styhre & L Walter (2012). Assembling health care organizations. Practice, materiality and institutions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Marchington, M., D. Grimshaw, J. Rubery & H. Willmott (2005). Fragmenting work. Blurring organizational boundaries and disordering hierarchies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nylén, U. (2012). Boundary preservation or modification. The challenge of collaboration in health care. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, 16(2): 115-142.

Track organizers:

Ulrica Nylén
Senior lecturer at Umeå School of Business and Economics
University of Umeå

Martin Harris
Senior Lecturer at the Essex University Business School
University of Essex

Track 22

Past, present, and future of management education

Modern business schools − as well as modern business scholars – operate in a complex and competitive world of rankings, ratings and credentials. Indeed, increasing globalization and marketization of higher education is transforming business schools and academic work. For many contemporary business schools, rankings and international accreditations have therefore become key means in pursuing legitimacy and global status. At the same time some argue that in ever more competitive global higher education markets, signaling status and quality has actually become more important than being so (Gioia & Corley, 2002; Trank & Rynes, 2003, Alvesson, 2013). There is also evidence that the global character of management education has its limitations and that it is instead mainly grounded in national contexts (Engwall & Kipping, 2013). Furthermore, foreign direct investments by business schools have appeared to be difficult (Alajoutsijärvi, Juusola & Lamberg, 2014).

The above circumstance and their consequences to the traditional values of academia have become an overarching concern of business scholars across the Nordic countries. Like their counterparts on both sides of the Atlantic they are involved in discussions regarding the imbalance between rigor and relevance. It is thus questioned to what extent the publications in the high impact management journals that the rankings are pushing for, are useful for practical management. There is also an anxiety that management scholars are not putting sufficient efforts into teaching their students as a consequence of their pressures to publish in the prestigious high impact journals.
Facing the described features of present day academic management education, it is important to remember that it has had a difficult past. A number of studies over the years (e.g. Locke, 1984 and 1989, Engwall. 2009, Khurana, 2007, Kettunen, 2013 and Engwall, Kipping & Üsdiken, 2016) have thus demonstrated that management education for quite some time met strong resistance both from established academic disciplines and from practice. By the passage of time it has, in terms of number of institutions and student enrolment, become a success story spreading globally making management education a very common background both in business and public administration. However, as a result of the above mentioned developments, some now fear that the golden days for business schools may be over and that they will face new competition from new actors created by consultancies and corporations as well as from internet solutions.

Against, the above background, the suggested track would welcome paper submissions that discuss the past, present, and future of business schools as academic institutions and sites for working and building scholarly careers. The track aims at stimulating:
- discussions of the role of business schools in modern societies, particularly their strengths and shortcomings
- studies of a variety of organizational phenomena within higher education.
- the further development of management education as a research field in its own right (Arbaugh, 2016).

It is our hope that the track will bring together scholarly work around topics such as:
- contemporary trends (e.g. globalization, corporatization, marketization) influencing management education
- business school rankings and accreditations
history of management education and business schools
- academic work and career development in business schools
- management and organizing in business schools

The resulting discussion, we believe, will open up new and exciting, interdisciplinary areas of research on business schools and management education. In this spirit, we encourage submissions from scholars with various disciplinary backgrounds within the NFF community.

Alajoutsijärvi, K. Juusola, K & Lamberg, J.-A. 2014. “Institutional Logic of Business Bubbles: Lessons from the Dubai Business School Mania”. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 13, No. 1, 5–25.
Alvesson, M. 2013. The Triumph of Emptiness: Consumption, Higher Education, and Work Organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Arbaugh, J.B. 2016. Where are the Dedicated Scholars of Management Learning and Education?. Management Learning, 47: 230-240.
Engwall, L. 2009. Mercury Meets Minerva: Business Studies and Higher Education: the Swedish Case. 2. extended ed. Stockholm: Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics (
Engwall, L. & Kipping, M. 2013.“The Internationalization of International Management Education and Its Limitations”. In Tsang, D., Kazeroony, H. and Ellis, G. (eds), The Routledge Companion to International Management Education, 2013, London: Routledge, Chapter 24, pp. 319-343.
Engwall, L., Kipping, M. & Üsdiken, B. 2016. Defining Management: Business Schools, Consultants, Media. New York: Routledge.
Gioia, D.A., & Corley, K.G. 2002. Being Good versus Looking Good: Business School Rankings and the Circean Transformation from Substance to Image”. Academy of Management Learning & Education, l: 107-120.
Kettunen, K. 2013. Management Education in a Historical Perspective: the business school question and its solution in Finland. PhD dissertation, Oulu: University of Oulu.
Khurana, R. (2007). From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession. Princeton: Princeton University Press
Locke, R. R., 1984. The End of the Practical Man. Entrepreneurship and Higher Education in Germany, France and Great Britain 1880-1940. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Locke, R. R., 1989. Management and Higher Education since 1940. The Influence of America and Japan on West Germany, Great Britain and France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Trank, C. Q., & Rynes, S. L. 2003. Who Oved our Cheese? Reclaiming Professionalism in Business Education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2: 189–205

Track Organizers

Professor em. Lars Engwall, Uppsala University, Department of Business Studies. His research has been directed towards the production and diffusion of management ideas, particularly in media companies, banks and academic institutions. Email:

Professor Kimmo Alajoutsijärvi, University of Jyväskylä, School of Business and Economics. His research has focused on business relationships and networks. More recent areas of his interests are business schools, management education, and accreditations. Email:

Dr. Kerttu Kettunen, University of Turku holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oulu, where she was coordinating the accreditation of its business school. Her doctoral thesis dealt with the development of Finnish management education. She is presently a postdoctoral researcher at Turku School of Economics. Email:

Track 23

Project evaluation

Evaluation involves the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics and outcomes of an activity or action, in order to determine its benefits and cost. However, there are no universal agreement with respect to how such appraisals should be conducted. Each methods does have its own strengths and weaknesses.

A main objective for investment decision is to find the optimal allocation of limited resources. If resources are used efficiently, the number of objectives that can be pursued simultaneously increases. For commercial initiatives, this typically leads to increased profit, but also the ability to attain other stated objectives.

Public assets such as roads, utility networks and the like play a notable role in economic development. Public project evaluation/appraisal typically considers not only the tangible monetary benefits but other benefits. These benefits might be related to the general public as well as the economy. In many countries, government bodies provide recommendations for how to carry out such analyses. In the Nordic countries, this is particularly well developed for road infrastructure projects.

Project evaluations can be conducted at different stages of a project cycle: ex-ante evaluation, mid-term evaluation, terminal evaluation and ex-post evaluation. Evidently, evaluations have different purposes at the different stages. For example, the purpose of ex-ante evaluations could be to function as a decision tool, i.e. help decision makers choose the “right” project alternative, while ex-post evaluations are often conducted to learn from the project evaluated in order to avoid future mistakes and implement best practice.

This track aims to cover project evaluation in a wide perspective. Contributions related to the conference theme of Nordic opportunities are particularly relevant. However, contributions dealing with other aspects of project evaluation/appraisal are also welcome.

Track organizers:

Terje Mathisen, Nord University, Business School,

Morten Welde, NTNU, Concept Research Programme,  

Track 24

Public services and non-profits - and the new management challenges facing inter-organizational control and the need for transparency

Public services and non-profit organizations in the Nordic countries (as elsewhere) face several challenges in the 21st century. This includes the manner in which such organizations respond to a recessionary environment, the impact of changes in technology on services and structural changes in service delivery, with more network organizations. The interplay of public, private and nonprofit organizations in public service challenges is also an important question, as is the manner in which accounting informs or fails to inform public policy. A specific change in public sector accounting is the adoption of IPSAS.

This research workshop is interdisciplinary and it also welcomes contributions on transparency and trust in public and non-profit services. Included in the range of challenges is the role of accounting in framing everyday experiences of citizens, managers and policy makers in public services delivery. Accounting interacts with expertise-shaping management practices, organisational processes and regulatory mechanisms in many settings. Equally, the potential impact of accounting, and calculative practices more generally, have an increasingly extensive reach in central and local government, hospitals, higher and further education –and in sports and culture.
Researchers are invited to explore the wide sets of challenges within the sphere of Nordic public sector services (comprehensively defined). We welcome interdisciplinary perspectives on public sector issues in general, and themes to be addressed can be related to the following questions:
* The role of accountants, auditors, managers and calculative practices in the shaping of social and economic life?
* What do accountants and managers do in the name of neutrality, in the domain of service trust and transparency?
* What devices and tools do managers deploy which enhance transparency in the design of such services?
* What role do calculative practices play in the shaping of transparency and trust in (public) service design?
* What bodies of expertise do accountants, consultants and managers mobilise in the management of service delivery, and does that expertise foster trust and transparency in public services?

Possible references for discussions are:
Haldor Byrkjeflot, Tom Christensen and Per Lægreid (2016). “Accountability in multilevel health care services: The case of Norway” In P. Mattei, ed. Public Accountability and Healthcare Governance. Public Management Reforms between Austerity and Democracy. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pages 115-146. Brun-Martos, M. I. & Lapsley, I. M.(2016) Democracy, governmentality and transparency: Participatory budgeting in action.Public Management Review. 18
Langfield-Smith, K & Smith, D.( 2003) - 2003Management control systems and trust in outsourcing relationships. Management Accounting Research, Volume 14, Issue 3

Track organizers:

Professor Kari Nyland & professor Inger Johanne Pettersen, NTNU Business School, Trondheim, Norway

Track 25

Research and entrepreneurship

 The goal of this is track to bring together scholars working on issues in the intersection between scientific research and entrepreneurship. Academic research and entrepreneurship are undisputable two of the most powerful sources shaping the society we live in. Scientific discoveries and the creation of new entrepreneurial business activities provide the basis for a wide range of new products and services becoming available each year. As a result, academic research and entrepreneurship are independently quoted among the major drivers of economic growth in an increasingly knowledge-based and innovation driven economy. In addition to the economic significance, the potential societal impact of linking research and entrepreneurship is high. Scientific research and entrepreneurship contribute to the commercialization of new technologies helping to resolving global challenges related to climate and energy problems; improving health, health care systems and welfare; enhancing research-based professional practice; and promoting knowledge-based trade and industry.
While the importance of academic research and entrepreneurship for economic growth is well documented, the understanding of the paths by which new scientific knowledge and entrepreneurial ideas are translated into economic and societal effects are much more restricted. This is not surprising given the elusive character of such linkages and the lack of data sources that can be used for meaningful assessments. In this track, we are looking for novel empirical studies investigating the actors and processes in the intersection between research and entrepreneurship. We encourage studies form a broad range of contexts and disciplines. Examples of topics includes, but are not limited to:
- Engagement of university and corporate scientists in entrepreneurial activities
- The role of student entrepreneurs in commercializing research
- The role of science-based entrepreneurial firms in translating research to practice
- How entrepreneurial firms benefit from university collaboration
- University architectures that facilitate science-based entrepreneurship
- Intermediary organizations linking science and entrepreneurship (such as Technology Transfer Offices, Incubators, Government support programs)
- Government policies to support research to entrepreneurship linkages
- The role of research organizations in developing entrepreneurial ecosystems
- Regional differences in how science and entrepreneurship are linked
- Internationalization and academic entrepreneurship

Track organizers:

Lene Foss, Professor, University of Tromsø, School of Business and Economics, Tromsø, Norway.

Eva J.B. Jørgensen, Associate Professor, University of Tromsø, School of Business and Economics, Alta, Norway.

Einar Rasmussen, Professor, Nord Universtiy Business School, Bodø, Norway

Track 26

Searching for welfare models

When Christopher Hood coined the (critical) term New Public Management in 1991, it was based on what was taking place in the public sector during the 1980s. During the Reaganism and Thatcherism of the 1980s private corporations have become the model of governance and management, to be emulated by public administrations all over the world. New Zealand did become the Mecca of New Public Management, replacing in this role Canada and Scandinavia. By 2007, according to Hood, the NPM ceased to exist.
Public sector organizations have for long been, and still are, “hot beds” of reforms and changes. In order to understand the reasons for, and the consequences of these changes, it is necessary to remember what has been done before, that is, to take the history into account. Yet there is little to be won by trying to position today's changes as NPM or post-NPM. Instead we invite researchers to this track who are interested to account for and discuss the ongoing challenges and changes in the public sector.

Track organizers:

Professor Rolf Solli, University of Borås

Associated professor Kajsa Lindberg, University of Gothenburg

Associated professor Patrik Zapata, University of Gothenburg

Track 27

Open track on management and business administration II

The open track is set up to make it possible for people to present papers on topics that do not easily fall into the specific subjects of other tracks. If a larger number of papers are submitted to this open track, there is the possibility of organizing sessions dealing with different themes.

Track organizers:

Jan-Oddvar Sørnes
Professor, Nord University Business School    

Track 28

Smart & Livable Cities
Governance between Engineering, Management and Leadership, Participation and Co-Creation

Discourses about how to govern a city could be dived into two competing streams: The first one (Smart Cities) is very prominent in mass media, PR/PA of tech companies, and in tech communities; whereas the second one (Livable Cities) is mostly enacted in social media platforms, cultural initiatives, social movements, and (virtual) communities. Both streams struggle for getting voice and power in the discourses. In parallel, a lot of leadership studies have explored concepts like “connective leadership”, “shared leadership”, and “hybrid leadership”, where leadership is studied as some kind of participatory democracy. Researching cities and their new emerging roles explores similar paths, by embracing concepts such as “shareable cities”, “creative cities”, “culture-driven cities” and “sustainable cities”.

When combining such attempts, cities can be considered as eco-systems that are emerging and developing in the context of global economy with new forms of organizing. In self-organized action nets leadership is an emergent property which illuminates new forms of power relations. Leadership development is in this sense closely related to concepts such as shared, collective, collaborative, distributed, and democratic leadership, i.e. leadership is conceived of a collective social process emerging through the interactions of multiple actors enacting democratic network governance.

The World Economic Forum’s challenge “What if cities ruled the world?” is built on the perspective of a future where governance is decentralized to the city level; where cities determine the wealth of nations, where citizens value transparent and accountable governance in a geographic space to which the citizens relate to and identify with. Traditional forms of leadership can hardly address such demands. Distributed leadership models are far more compatible with systemic approaches and suitable for self-organizing, thereby creating new opportunities in the way citizens are empowered when designing and co-creating “livable cities” of today and tomorrow in concrete projects and initiatives.

Urban research has along that line investigated avenues through which culture and creativity can raise the imaginative capability of citizens and harness opportunities tied to what can be called culture-driven growth. The success of co-creating urban, regional and local strategies within and between the public sector, institutions, city administrations, political bodies, the civil society and not least the private business sector seems very much dependent on a synthesis of bottom-up and top-down activities. This calls for a holistic approach that has the potential to foster involvement, to embrace both diversity and equality in communities and cities, and to cross institutional borders, e.g. by linking arts and other creative initiatives to co-creation.

We invite theoretical as well as empirical papers with a special interest in case studies examining the role of all types of stakeholders when it comes to developing and enacting smart and livable cities. Stream papers may address, but are not limited to, research on the following themes:
- The discursive and social construction of “Smart Cities”, “Livable Cities”, and “City-zenship” in Nordic cities and beyond.
- The practice of social engineering, leadership, and democratic network governance.
- The potential of creative and artistic techniques, concepts and interventions.
- The (forgotten?) civil society and the (lost?) citizen.
- The regional development and urban strategies in action.

Possible references for discussions
Bolden, R. (2011): Distributed Leadership in organizations: A review of theory and research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 13: 251-269.
Campbell, T. (2012): Beyond Smart Cities: How cities network, learn and innovate. London & New York: Routledge.
Czarniawska, B. (2014). A theory of organizing. Cheltenham and North Hampton MA: Edward Elgar.
Pässilä, A.; Uotila, T. & H. Melkas (2013): Facilitating future-oriented collaborative knowledge creation by using artistic organizational innovation methods: Experiences from a Finnish wood-processing company. Futures : 59-68.
Sørensen, E. & J. Torfing (2008): Theories of democratic governance. Basingstoke & New York. Palgrave MacMillan.
Tsakarestou, B. & K.-H. Pogner (2014): Cities as platforms for co-creating experience-based business and social innovations. Paper presented at the 7th Art of Management and Organization, Copenhagen Business School, August 28th - 31st, 2014.
Wåhlin, N.; Kapsali, M.; Näsholm M.H. & T. Blomquist (2016): Urban strategies for culture-driven growth: Co-creating a European Capital of Culture. Cheltenham and North Hampton MA: Edward Elgar.

Track organizers:

Karl-Heinz Pogner (Copenhagen Business School) (

Nils Wåhlin (Umeå School of Business and Economics) (

Anne Pässilä (School of Business and Management, LUT Lahti) ( )

Track 29

Smart Cities: utopia or modern reality?

There is a high level of agreement in the literature that there is as yet no common definition of a smart city (Cocchia, 2014; Baron, 2012; Caragliu et al., 2011; Angelidou, 2015; Neirotti et al., 2014). IBM (2011, 2) defines a smart city as an “interconnected, instrumented and intelligent” city.
In the last decades, the concept of utopia has been used to define the smart city paradigm. Some promoters of this paradigm describes smart cities, as “the vision of an ideal city” (ABB, 2012). The description of smart city as a “common vision that provides citizens, business, and institutions with a ‘high-level’ goal on which to base potential sacrifices” (ABB, 2012) reveals the eschatological character of this utopia. During the last years, growing smart city discourses and initiatives were introduced at European and national levels. Smart cities discourses are becoming more diffused also in the Nordic cities that have a strong tradition of self-government and constantly strive for innovation.

The track focuses on the use of management, governance and accountability within the Nordic context of the smart cities. Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Management, governance and accountability of smart cities initiatives
- Accounting and management of technical innovation and information systems of ‘smart’ cities and regions: local government services, transportation, healthcare, etc.
- Governance, management, urban resilience, and sustainable cities
- The role of management, governance and accountability in ‘smart interventions’
focusing on the underlying social consequences
- The politics, policies and public governance surrounding urban planning and development, the international/national funding of ‘smart’ cities
- Governance of plurality of public and private actors involved in smart cities

Key references:
ABB, The European House-Ambrosetti (2012), Smart Cities in Italia: un’opportunità nello spirito del Rinascimento per una nuova qualità della vita.
Baron, M. (2012). Do we need Smart Cities for Resilience? Journal of Economics & Management, 10, 32– 46.
Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C., and Nijkamp, P. (2011). Smart cities in Europe. Journal of urban technology, 18(2), 65–82.
Cocchia, A. (2014). Smart and digital city: A systematic literature review. Smart City (pp. 13-43). Springer International Publishing.
IBM (2011). IBM, for a Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities. cities/

Track organizers:

Anatoli Bourmistrov, professor, Nord University Business School, Norway,

Grossi Giuseppe, professor, Kristianstad University, Sweden,

Jarmo Vakkuri, professor, Tampere University, Finland,

Track 30

Strategy in the Nordics – Focusing Competitiveness to Meet Global Challenges

Firm competitiveness is a central theme both in research and in public debate. This track is concerned with the moving, reduction, ownership changes or closing of Nordic businesses putting increasing pressure on Nordic economies, welfare systems, and societies. Strategy research holds an important key to illuminate, navigate, or even benefit from recent changes by increasing competitiveness of Nordic firms in the global economy.

While e.g. economic uncertainty or rapid technological shifts face most firms, some competitive conditions set the Nordics apart. E.g. their typically flat organization structures allow firms to adjust to change more easily (Wilden et al., 2013), and high trust levels support knowledge sharing (Regnér and Zander, 2011). At the same time, strategies may differ in a Finnish management style emphasizing “Sisu”, or determination when facing challenges, compared to a Swedish consensus-based style (e.g. Vaara et al., 2005), or a “Norwegian style” associated with cultivation of domestically developed values and practices when doing business abroad.
Thus, drawing on the strong Nordic strategy research (Schriber, 2016) this year’s strategy track aims to produce insights addressing new global challenges by increasing competitiveness of Nordic firms. This year’s track welcomes quantitative, qualitative, as well as conceptual papers or interesting case studies on all topics broadly related to the overall track theme and practices of Nordic firms. Questions include but are not limited to:
- How can examples of successful Nordic strategies be conceptualized, and what could be competitive strategies and business models for the future?
- How can non-Nordic companies benefit and nurture from Nordic firms’ unique and valuable strategic management style or tacit knowledge (e.g. Nordic aesthetics, culture, CSR, leadership)?
- What are the (potential) policy implications of the globalized competition in the Nordics (e.g. for politicians)?

Possible references for discussions are:
Regner, P., & Zander, U. (2011). Knowledge and strategy creation in multinational companies. Management International Review, 51(6), 821-850.
Schriber, S. (2016). Nordic Strategy Research – Topics, Trends, and Theories. Scandinavian Journal of Management. 32(4), 220–230
Vaara, E., Tienari, J., Piekkari, R., & Säntti, R. (2005). Language and the circuits of power in a merging multinational corporation. Journal of management studies, 42(3), 595-623.
Wilden, R., Gudergan, S. P., Nielsen, B. B., & Lings, I. (2013). Dynamic capabilities and performance: strategy, structure and environment. Long Range Planning, 46(1), 72-96.

Track organizers:

Svante Schriber, Stockholm Business School

Andrei Mineev, Nord University Bodø Business School,

Alexandra Middleton, Oulu Business School

Joakim Netz, Stockholm Business School

June Borge Doornich, Nord University Bodø Business School  

Track 31

Workplace Diversity, Gender (In) Equality, and Migration

Unemployment, establishment and integration of foreign-born and of young workers, as well as still existing gender inequality in the labour market are some of the main problems in Europe in recent decades. The question of the establishment and integration of foreign-born is even more accentuated due to the current refugee situation. The recent inflow of refugees and asylum seekers, as well a “stable” high unemployment of young people, and still existing gender inequality pose challenges to the Nordic countries economies and welfare systems. At the same time (continuous) active mobilizations in finding solutions for these challenges, both at the societal and organizational levels could be opportunities for the Nordic countries and organizations.

The establishment of gender equality and diversity, as well as CSR are issues that many organizations in the Nordic countries already address (e.g., Bekhouch et al., 2013, Knights and Omanović, 2016; Strand et al., 2014). In spite of some exceptions (e.g., Romani, Holck, Holgersson and Muhr, 2016) these concepts that have many commonalities are, however often treated separately, both as academic fields of knowledge and as management practices. We therefore invite scholars to submit papers that explore the linkages and relationships between the discourses and practices of diversity, gender, age and ethnic equality, sustainability and corporate responsibility.

The topics of interest for this track include, but are not restricted to:
- The organization of diversity/gender equality work in relation to CSR activities
- Possible conflicts between practices of diversity/gender equality and of CSR and sustainability
- The linkages between practices of diversity and establishment of young people and/or foreign- born in organizations
- Differences and similarities in regard to organizational initiatives and praxes in regard to establishment and integration of young people and/or foreign-born at the labour market
- Differences in how diversity/gender equality and CSR and sustainability issues are perceived in corporations
- Similarities and differences in the discourses on diversity/gender equality, CSR and sustainability

We also welcome contributions on diversity, equality and gender not linked to sustainability, CSR, and migration. We encourage empirical contributions and a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, and are particularly interested in cross-cultural comparisons.

Bekhouch, Y., Hausmann, R., Tyson, L. D., & Zahidi, S. (2013, September). The global gender-gap report 2013. Geneva Switzerland World Economic Forum 2013.
Knights D. and Omanović V. (2016). (Mis) Managing Diversity: Exploring the Dangers of Diversity Management Orthodoxy. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal. Vol 35 (1): 5-16.
Romani, L. Holck, L. Holgersson, C & Muhr, S.L (Forthcoming 2016), Diversity Management and the Scandinavian Model: Illustrations from Denmark and Sweden, in J.F Chanlat and M. Özbilgin (Eds.) Management & Diversity: Main constatations in different countries. London: Emerald.
Strand, R., Freeman, R.E. and Hockerts, K. (2014) “Corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Scandinavia: an overview”, Journal of Business Ethics, dol:10.1007/s10551-014-2224-6.


Track organizers:

Vedran Omanović (Contact person), School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg,

Lotte Holck, Copenhagen Business School,

Laurence Romani, Stockholm School of Economics,