Research Industrial Engineering and management

At the department for Industrial Engineering and Management, the following research projects are carried out at the moment: Hidden Innovation, Employee Activism, DRIVE-AB (Driving Reinvestment in R&D and Responsible Antibiotic Use), Market-Based Policy Instruments in the Residential Sector, and Industrial Dynamics Over Time - The Case of the Shipping Industry. They are eache described below 

Hidden Innovation

This project explores how innovation and marketing efforts are enacted in the somewhat contradictory competitive landscape and highly conservative markets. We are currently focusing on the High voltage power as our first case market. Initial findings indicate that the logic of innovation and marketing in this setting deviates considerably from reigning assumptions regarding the benefits of customer-oriented product development. Based on a series of interviews, directed towards industry leader ABB and its clients, these studies concerns a) client involvement in product development; b) active non-client involvement and “silent” technological developments; c) client procurement strategies and perspectives. The study is important for questioning a core assumption of the marketing-innovation canon. Namely, that innovation is best carried out in close association with key customers, and possibly even by involving them in development processes, before launching a certain novelty as more advanced and adept than its predecessor. In parallel the research group is conducting studies of medical device innovation and its relation to the healthcare sector with a similar approach as described above.

Contact by mail: Marcus Lindahl, David Sköld and Helena Fornstedt 

Employee Activism

This area of study covers how employee activism emerges within corporations and how tools are developed to manage such internal resistance and quests for change. The area also includes alternative forms of entrepreneurship, such as social entrepreneurship, political entrepreneurship and ecopreneurship.

The prevalent academic assumption is that true ‘activism’ is something that takes place within the realms of civil society and not within businesses. However, citizen activism is continuously re-organized as neoliberal states increasingly outsource political functions to business. We can today observe that a distinction between ‘internal’ and ‘external’ activism is difficult to make, as employees manage themselves as citizens both at work and at home. How activists are employed, managed and cultivated to bring about a specific company culture, innovations, or communication strategies, is thus possible to empirically trace within businesses. In specific, we trace Renewable Energy Activism within utility companies that are criticised for not being environmentally friendly. We also trace activism in companies that support sexual minorities, in particular in countries where such minorities are violently oppressed. We believe that it is important to unearth how corporate activism affects the employee-employer relation, as well as the core business operations, from product development to marketing and commercialisation processes.  

Contact by mail: Annika Skoglund

DRIVE-AB (Driving Reinvestment in R&D and Responsible Antibiotic Use)

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is widespread. Its global human and economic burden is tremendous and constantly increasing. Yet today only four among scores of pharmaceutical companies retain active antibacterial drug discovery programmes; a mere two of these have a novel antibiotic in phase 2 development. Alternative models that can create incentives for the discovery of novel antibiotics and yet reconcile these incentives with responsible antibiotic use are long overdue. 

The multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder DRIVE-AB consortium, composed of 16 public and 7 private partners from 12 countries, will identify, test and simulate business and economic models that stimulate the discovery of novel antibiotics and simultaneously responsible antibiotic use. Financed by with Euro 9.4 million by both private and public funds within EU Innovative Medicines Initiative, the project started in October 2014 and will deliver its final results in October 2017. All work from beginning to end will be performed in close collaboration with the consortium’s stakeholder partners, which run the gamut from patients and clinical societies to small- and medium-sized enterprises, large pharmaceutical companies, healthcare payers, public health officials, and government officials. 

At Uppsala University, the Departments of Business Studies and of Informatics & Media, As well as the Division of Industrial Engineering & Management are involved in work-package 2: “Creating and testing new business and economic models”. A team of about 10 people from these units conducts the following tasks: 
1- evaluating risks and bottlenecks in antibiotics R&D; 
2- identifying business models in other industries that also support responsible use and can inspire solutions to antibiotic resistance; 
3- testing and simulating various business and economic models in order to select the ones which yield the best results on certain variables (e.g., number of new antibiotics R&D projects initiated or launched, revenues for pharmaceutical firms; societal costs of antibiotic-resistant outbreaks, epidemic diffusion/containment times, costs/savings for healthcare systems).

Responsible for DRIVE-AB at the Division of Industrial Engineering & Management: Prof. Enrico Baraldi. Contact by mail: Enrico Baraldi

For further information visit: 

Market-based policy instruments in the residential sector

The overall aim of the project is to estimate the efficiency and savings potential in residential electricity use of business models for increased demand response and individual feedback, to quantify the economic and environmental consequences as part of implementing these policy instruments and to enhance knowledge on electricity consumers driving forces and incentives in this context. The study is conducted in light of global efforts to reduce environmental damage and mitigate climate change. These ambitions in turn form the basis of European and national goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to increase energy efficiency and the share of renewables. One of the prerequisites for achieving these goals is smart grids, which are expected to enable the transition from a fossil fuelled to an electric vehicle fleet and the large-scale integration of for example solar and wind power in the energy system. This development both affects and places demands on electricity consumers in terms of increased commitment and behavioral change. In order to handle the transition to a sustainable energy system it is consequently necessary to create conditions for electricity consumers to contribute to a more efficient electricity use by reducing their consumption when distribution and production capacity is scarce. The project is financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and conducted in close cooperation with several distribution system operators and suppliers as well as entrepreneurs in the field of real-time feedback.

Contact by mail: Cajsa Bartusch

Industrial dynamics over time - the case of the shipping industry

This research area aims at understanding the relationship between industrial and institutional dynamics and corporate strategies from a modern historical perspective, especially within the shipping industry. Previously in the research area, analyses have been done of the decline of the Swedish shipping industry during the period 1960-2010 from the perspective of markets, regulations, strategies and resources. Also, histories of the corporate strategies of four Stockholm based tanker companies during the period 1980-2000 have been written, an in-depth analysis of strategic marketing of the tanker companies Stena Bulk and Concordia Maritime from 1982-2012, whose strategies affected the institutional framework in the industry, and an analysis of Swedish state-owned shipping companies from 1970-1990. At present, two sub-projects are conducted within the area. First, a project about Stena from 1939 to 2015 and how the company has drawn on technological competence as a resource to stay competitive in the declining Swedish shipping industry. Second, a study about the dynamics of global shipping of refrigerated cargo in relationship to the growth of the global container lines, during the period 1970-2015. The research area theoretically draws on strategy/management/organization theory, historical approaches from economic and maritime history, and philosophy. Methodologically, the research area draws on financial/market/resource analysis, in-depth interviews with key people, and archival studies. Concurrently with analyses of the shipping industry, the framework is explored in other industries, such as ICT and waste.  

Contact by mail: Thomas Lennerfors

Holistic business models and IT services for prosumers

The aim is to increase knowledge of electricity consumers’ need for information and feedback when they become prosumers and to develop business models and IT services that make it easier to be active in the smart grid. The outset is the prevailing uncertainty as to how the active prosumer is supposed to act on the electricity market given the contradictory signals from its different actors. The goal is to increase the share of micro production with photovoltaics in the energy system by developing a holistic concept of business models, information packages, appropriate grid tariffs and electricity supply contracts and IT services that serves the purpose of simplifying the process that precedes the investment as well as supporting and optimizing the daily operation of photovoltaics from the prosumer perspective. The strength of the project is the composition and collective experience of the project group. The novelty lies in the project's holistic approach to the situation of prosumers.

The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Centre for Innovation and Quality in the Built Environment as part of a joint research program in the field of energy-efficient building and living - E2B2. The study, which is highly characterized by interdisciplinarity and industry collaboration, is conducted in cooperation with the research group Green Leap at KTH, a number of companies in the energy industry and a service design company.

Contact by mail: Cajsa Bartusch