New holder of the Torsten Söderberg Research Chair studies how companies contribute to urban development and economic welfare
Professor of Management Alexander Styhre has been appointed as holder of the Torsten Söderberg Research Chair at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. He will spend three years studying how companies engage with society to remain competitive but also to contribute towards sustainable societal development.
Societies that have the capacity to renew and provide critical infrastructure (e.g. energy), and that are able to offer their citizens housing at a reasonable cost, are better placed to face future challenges than those societies where this is not the case. During the research chair period, Alexander Styhre will study how companies – based on their specific competencies – contribute towards the growth of economic and social welfare in a way that also enhances their ability to remain competitive in a globalised market.
Via three research projects, Alexander Styhre will investigate how companies interact with decision-makers, authorities and other businesses to create spatial conditions that support new and existing business ventures. He will study what he refers to as innovation space, infrastructure space and housing space. By interviewing, studying and collaborating with managers and leaders, he aims to increase knowledge within the field.
“Companies’ efforts to create this type of spatial relationship have not been studied much within organisational research,” he says. “In particular, economic geographers and urban studies researchers have concentrated on the spatial embeddedness of economic and social welfare. By bridging these two research traditions, I want to make both theoretical and empirical contributions to organisational research, and I am extremely grateful that this research chair gives me an opportunity to do so.”
The research findings will be published in international scientific journals and books, as well as being used in teaching.
“Students appreciate teaching based on empirical studies that have been carried out locally,” he explains. “It helps give them a better understanding of how abstract theoretical terms in the course literature can be applied in practice.”
The ‘Innovation space’ subproject studies how AstraZeneca in Mölndal outside Gothenburg is involved in creating an innovation space – a local place where life science expertise is established and developed further. This includes the physical initiative GoCo Health Innovation City, as well as the company’s involvement in the BioVentureHub life science incubator.
The ‘Infrastructure space’ sub-project is about companies being involved in creating and organising the infrastructure needed to provide energy systems, logistics and transport solutions, and production and office space, for example. The project looks at Castellum’s Gateway Säve initiative, where the vision is for the former airport area to act as a major hub and to serve a number of infrastructure purposes that are currently underserved.
The ‘Housing space’ sub-project examines how public-sector (in this case, Framtiden AB) and private-sector housing companies can work together. Both private- and public-sector employees need somewhere to live, and the housing market should be stable and reasonably predictable. Housing policy is often treated as a public matter, but this image is somewhat misleading as many private-sector companies own housing in close proximity to public housing and work closely with public-sector companies. Private- and public-sector housing companies also often work together to produce affordable housing, which is extremely important for the local economy since the availability of good-value housing tends to stimulate more economic activity.
The research chair was established at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg in 2001, thanks to generous donations from the Torsten Söderberg Foundation and the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation. The research chair can be held by full-time professors at the School, and rotates between the subject areas of economics, law and business administration. The period normally runs for three years.
Read more about the Torsten Söderberg Foundation (in Swedish)
About Alexander Styhre
Alexander Styhre has been Professor of Management at the School of Business, Economics and Law since 2010. He defended his doctoral thesis at Lund University in 1998, and worked at Chalmers University of Technology from 1999 until 2010. His research focuses on innovation management, life science innovation, venture capital investments and corporate governance. He has published extensively within the field of organisation and management, including in Journal of Management Studies, Organization Studies and Academy of Management Review. His most recently published books include The Economics of Affordable Housing (Routledge, 2023) and The New Corporate Landscape: Economic Concentration, Transnational Governance, and the Corporation (Edward Elgar, 2022). Alexander serves on the editorial board of several international scientific journals, and has previously been editor of Scandinavian Journal of Management.
Telephone: 031-786 65 68, email: email@example.com