University of Gothenburg
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Seminars and events

At Gothenburg Research Institute a lot of exciting research is in progress. We share much of what we do in different seminars and events, which you can find more information about here. We are eager to involve different perspectives and experiences into discussions and exchange. To many of our seminars and events we welcome researchers and an interested public, as well as people from the private and public sector.

GRI Research Seminars

Gothenburg Research Institute invites researchers and others interested to GRI Research Seminars on Fridays at 12.15-13.00 at GRI, Viktoriagatan 13 (room 342). The purpose of the seminars is to be a forum for discussion of new and interesting research. You are most welcome to bring your lunch. For more information about upcoming seminars, please contact: Welcome!


  • 12 januari:  Management as Deliberation - on how to get things done
    With: Sten Jönsson
    Time: 12:15 - 13.00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg

    At the upcoming GRI Research Seminar, Sten Jönsson Professor Emeritus in Accounting, will present his latest book about a longitudinal study where two generations of Swedish industrial leaders were interviewed, in 1990 and 2020, about important events in their career. A large part of these events was suprising or unfamiliar, and they include work on finding explanations and constructing improvement initiatives, and to communicate, in multi-professional teams. Dealing successfully with complexity and uncertainty gave them qualities for top jobs. Sten will elaborate on the theoretical aspects of the "deliberation problem solving process" that confronts top management to handle situation of great complexity and uncertainty. 


  • 8 September: Organising immigrants’ integration: Practices and consequences in labour markets and societies  
    With Andreas Diedrich and Barbara Czarniawska 
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg
  • 15 September:  On spatial agencing – (Re)creating an occupation social movement in Brazil
    With Gustavo Guzman, Andreas Diedrich,  Simon Larsson and Magdalena Petersson McIntyre
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg 

    At this seminar Gustavo Guzman, Andreas Diedrich, Simon Larsson and Magdalena Petersson McIntyre will present and discuss key insights from an anthology on the organizing properties of space recently published by Edward Elgar in the UK. The book broadly asks how space continually emerges and reemerges as people attempt to organize and reorganize their everyday activities together with objects. 
    The book develops the concept of spatial agencing to make sense of these processes and to address their consequences. As space and society are the result of diverse ongoing activities that in turn enable further organizing to take place, the book concludes that one should abandon the idea of a given space that people inhabit and transform.
     The aim of the seminar is threefold: 1) to introduce the concept of spatial agencing, 2) to explore how the concept can help explain organizational phenomena related to space (this will be done by drawing on two studies presented in the book, the contemporary phenomenon of social media influencing, and the organizing efforts of Protestant missionaries during colonial times in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and 3) to present possible future avenues for research on spatial- and other forms of agencing.

  • 6 October: The psychology of sustainable returns
    With Magnus Jansson
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 326, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg  

    Online shopping has increased dramatically during the last 15 years and is expected to continue to grow further in an accelerated speed. The clothing sector accounts for the largest category of products in terms of returns. The dilemma that confronts e-retailers is that a generous return policy probably generates more sales, but it also increases returns and the costs of handling returns. Optimally, e-retailers would find return policies that reduces returns but not at the expense of sales. In the present research the aim is to investigate how e-consumers value different aspects that constitute a return policy and look deeper into the psychological factors that influence e-consumers return behaviours. At the seminar Magnus Jansson will present two studies. The first study investigates psychological determinants of a responsible return behaviour. The second study is based on customer data of sales and returns from a major e-retailer and aims to characterize the frequent returners. Based on the two studies some tentative conclusions are drawn about the psychological drivers of both returns and a responsible return behaviour and some suggestions on measures that e-retailers should consider implementing to reduce returns.

  • 27 October: Crafting Sweden as a sustainable destination: Place branding, destination governance and social learning
    With Emma Björner and  Eva Maria Jernsand
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg 

    Tourism destinations have been conceptualized as being in a persistent state of ‘becoming’, due to their ongoing sustainability actions and their commitment to sustainable destination development. Governments and DMOs have leading roles in the development of sustainable destinations, while other stakeholders also are involved in a participatory agenda. Collaboration and learning have been depicted as a key to success when developing sustainable destinations. There have been calls for further research on destination governance, its structures, processes and how it is carried out. The aim of this study is to explore how a destination is governed to become and appear sustainable, and especially how collaboration and learning materialises in the process. The study includes an analysis of national destination governance in Sweden in recent years, which has developed to involve more stakeholders and various aspects of sustainability. Methods include action-oriented research and document analysis, with a focus on national and regional initiatives. The findings outline actions and initiatives by the Swedish government, the national DMO and regional DMOs, to move the Swedish tourism industry, and Sweden as a destination, in a more sustainable direction. Collaboration and learning can be traced in all initiatives. A participatory agenda permeates the destination governance, through a multi-stakeholder process based on a distributed approach to steering and managing destinations. In tandem, leadership and guidance are desired when it comes to coordination and unifying of forces to move the destination Sweden in a sustainable direction.

  • 10 November:  Indebtedness in early adulthood: Borrowing money to consumption
    With Tommy Gärling
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg 
  • 17 November: Under the influence: Influencers and changing desire
    With Magdalena Petersson Mc Intyre
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg

    Having influence over something or someone has become a desirable cue of success. To influence is to advocate change, to make a mark on the world, and to affect. Nowhere is the status of influence clearer than in the rapid emergence and expansion of the group of individuals referred to precisely as influencers. In this ongoing study, a critical approach is taken to the phenomenon of social media influencers by connecting it with another group of people who are also typical of present-day opinion work; consultants working with issues of gender equality, diversity, and inclusion. Both groups base their activities on breaking down boundaries between private and professional life and frame personal experiences as a motor for large-scale change. By sharing the ambition to influence or change another person’s direction, these individuals illustrate how influence has become a new form of power. From their bedrooms to corporate boardrooms, influencers share their thoughts on how the world should change.
  • 24 November: The installer in the post-industrial city: Platforms, frugality, future scenarios and energy transitions
    With Erwin van Tuijl, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    Tid: 12:15-13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg

    Existing urban research on smart cities and energy transitions focuses on digital start-up companies, Big Tech firms, energy utilities, citizens, governments, and innovation pilots, whereas the perspective of installers is usually ignored. At the same time, installers - firms that install and maintain (new) energy devices and infrastructures - play a key role in energy transitions as intermediary between technology providers and end-users. We study how digitalisation and frugality affect their practices through a comparative case study analysis based on qualitative in-depth interviews in the post-industrial cities of Gothenburg, Rotterdam and Sweden.
  • 1 December: Levels, voices and powers of sustainability reporting regulation
    With Lana Sabelfeld, Marita Blomkvist, John Dumay and Matteo La Torre
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg

    This study examines the process of implementing the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD, 2014/95/EU) in Sweden. Drawing on a regulatory perspective, we analyze different levels, voices and powers of core and peripheral actors shaping the local implementation of the NFRD within the Swedish setting. Using an exploratory field study approach, we interviewed national regulators, auditors, corporate managers and investors. In addition, we observed events and workshops related to the NFRD, and analyzed national legislative and other relevant documents, including those related to the national consultation process. Our findings reveal a top-down political process, in which Swedish politicians rationalized the EU NFRD as something that Swedish businesses were already doing since before. This view resulted in a political decision to lower the size requirement for Swedish companies to be subject to the new regulation. Here, the counterarguments coming from other voices were ignored and the decision was made quickly without any reflections or risk analysis of the consequences of inclusion small- and medium size Swedish firms in the scope of the new legislation. 
    The business sector opposed the proposed requirements in the Annual Report Acts, arguing that they would be a burden for Swedish medium- and small-sized companies, weakening their competitive position in Europe and globally. At the same time, a strong tradition of self-regulation and a consensus culture in Sweden led different actors to negotiate a “middle ground” solution. In this consensus, regulators saw the implementation of the NFRD as an experimental project where regulators followed the soft approach (closely to the self-regulation tradition), and, instead of developing national guidance for reporters, they were awaiting and observing what kind of support the companies needed.
    Influential actors, such as private accounting and audit firms, acted simultaneously as regulators in a public domain and steered the Swedish implementation towards this direction. However, most of these actors were not experts in sustainability issues; they all were guardians of the capital market perspective with an expertise in financial accounting and reporting. The result was that, dominated by this perspective, despite the strong political engagement of Sweden with UN agenda and sustainable development, the accounting regulators reduced their view of environmental and social issues to risks influencing the corporate financial business results. 
    From these findings we discuss the limitations of consensus-oriented processes of engagement and regulation of sustainability accounting and reporting, and highlight the enabling potential of dissensus useful in the local regulation processes for opening the new societal issues, challenging the established order and institutions. In addition, we articulate the potential of catalytic policy instruments, useful for gaining legitimacy for progressive policies addressing the new environmental and societal issues which are not yet fully understood and accepted by some stakeholder groups.

  • 15 December: Towards mass personalisation of products and services in fashion retailing
    With Gabriella Wulff
    Time: 12:15 - 13:00. Place: Room 342, Viktoriagatan 13, Gothenburg

    Recent studies in retail have identified how mass personalisation constitutes part of a fourth industrial revolution, which has major implications for the future of retail and consumption. On the one hand, personalisation is seen as a solution to overproduction, with a shift towards made-to-order production. On the other hand, personalisation comes with an exception to increase sales and conversion rates online, through customized solutions in designing products and websites. At the same time, environmental scientists show how we exceed the planetary boundaries, and therefore need to consider sustainability aspects when designing solutions for future businesses.One of the industries that has been criticised for its unsustainable production and consumption patterns is the textile and fashion industry, which was also an early adapter of personalisation as part of the solution. While the dominant expectation of mass personalisation is that it leads to more sustainability by reducing excessive volumes and more accurately meeting the demands of the customers, few studies have looked at the actual implications of mass personalisation in practice. 

    At the seminar, Gabriella Wulff will present her two ongoing research projects on mass personalisation in the textile and fashion industry. The first project, financed by the Hakon Swenson Fund and placed at the University of Borås, focuses on the implications of a shift towards mass personalisation. The second project, financed by the Broman Fund for Research and Entrepreneurship and placed at Gothenburg Research Institute, focuses on innovative business models working in practice with the personalisation of products and services.  

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Photo: Felicia Buitenwerf/Unsplash

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