I Svenska ProjektAkademiens årliga uppsatstävling har inför 2021 års pris inkommit elva uppsatser från inte mindre än fem olika lärosäten. Det gör tävlingsjuryns arbete spännande och lärorikt, men också svårt då uppsatserna samtliga är av hög kvalitet.
Juryn har dock enats om att välja ut tre av uppsatserna till en finalomgång, där de läses och värderas av både forskningsutskottets ledamöter och ytterligare andra akademiledamöter. Vinnaren presenteras vid Akademiens årssammankomst. De uppsatser det handlar om är de följande, utan någon inbördes ordning:
Erik Storå, Kungl Tekniska Högskolan
Towards scaled agility. Large banks are facing challenges from a new regulatory and competitive landscape which have led to 30 % of banks adopting agile using the Scaled agile framework (SAFe). The transformation process towards agile is complex and has led to a change process covering aspects such as a product development, leadership and organizational design. Currently scientific knowledge on how to conduct an agile transformation successfully is lacking. The current explorative case study aimed to provide an empirical contribution assisting theory building in the field of scaled agile. Empirical data was collected through thirteen semi structured interviews, totaling ten hours combined with ten ethnographic observations spanning 34 hours.
The subsequent findings identified four approaches to scaling agile combined with eight aspects of scaled agility providing a new depth regarding how to apply them and what to achieve. The four approaches identified were: creating a virtual organization, standardization of agile methods, unifying around one portfolio and, changing towards an agile mindset. The eight aspects include strategic agility, payoff agility, business agility, product agility, agile organization, tools agility, people agility, and organizational culture. The eight aspects where synthesized into a framework from the fields of agile software development, agile portfolio management, Scrum, SAFe, Lean, New product development, Lean product development, aspects of change, emergent change models, organizational design, resistance to change, and organizational culture.
The study has provided an empirical contribution as well as conceptualization of the approaches and aspects of scaled agility which provides hypothesis that assist future theory building. In addition the implications showed to be noteworthy from as sustainability pespective by enabling economic benefits such as efficency and new IT-infrastrucutre combined with good jobs and limited enviromental impacts.
Victoria Jonsson och Cecilia Persson, USBE, Umeå Universitet
The Change Process Towards an Activity-Based Flexible Office. As new trends arise on the global market, it is important for organizations to be able to adapt. One of these trends is the implementation of the Activity-Based Flexible Office (A-FO). An Activity-Based Flexible Office consists of different areas with closed, half-open or open zones. The areas are created in order to match employee needs and the requirements of each work activity that needs to be conducted. As a result, no one is assigned a personal workstation, instead the employees move between different areas depending on what type of work activity they need to accomplish. Even though Change Management has been thoroughly investigated and A-FOs have been researched to some extent, no previous research has been found regarding the change process of implementing an A-FO. The main purpose of this thesis is to investigate the difference in managers’ and employees’ perceptions regarding the change process towards an A-FO.
The findings show that when conducting an A-FO change process, managers’ and employees’ perceptions often differ. Managers often focus on the practical aspects of a change, while employees emphasized on “soft values”. Employees were also more skeptical towards the change in the beginning, compared to managers, and seemed more aware of possible disturbances in the A-FO. Furthermore, both managers and employees were highly satisfied with the change process and the implementation of the A-FO, but emphasized on different factors resulting in increased satisfaction. To conclude, since managers’ and employees’ perception regarding the A-FO change process often differ, but can also coincide, it is important to take both aspects into consideration when conducting this type of change. By involving everyone in the change process, it is more likely to be successful.
Marcus Ekström och Lovisa Hammarlund, Kungl Tekniska Högskolan
Effects of Visual Management on Efficiency and Innovation in Product Development. The overall purpose of the thesis is to investigate how organizations dealing with product development can increase their innovation and efficiency performance, i.e. organizational performance, with the use of Visual management (VM). The aim of VM is to improve organizational performance by connecting and aligning organizational vision, core values, norms, and goals with other management systems, work processes and workplace elements. The individual elements of VM can affect how encouraged the employees are to perform in the workplace, hence having an effect on organizational performance. However, there are still many questions to be answered and new knowledge to be gained regarding how to best utilize VM, such as the understanding of what factors mediate the impact VM has on performance. The overall purpose is further concretized in a research model with five related hypotheses. A hypothesis-testing is performed in a comparative study with four large organizations. The empirical data is primarily collected through surveys with employees utilizing VM, with a total of 144 respondents. In addition, semi-structured interviews are performed with each department utilizing the visual tool; the interviewees being knowledgeable in the design and process of utilized VM.
VM appears to have a substantial effect on innovation and efficiency performance. However, it has no direct effect, rather it exhibits indirect effects. VM’s positive effect on efficiency performance is mediated by efficient behaviour, and VM’s positive effect on innovation performance is mediated by an increased cognitive ability.
This paper contributes to the understanding of VM’s impact on organizational performance. By statistical analysis it highlights previous research stating that managerial tools and processes indirectly has an effect on organizational outcomes. Proposed framework is a beginning of visualizing the complex relationship existing between VM and organizational performance in a product development setting. Practical implications are that depending on desired outcome in the use of VM, the framework can act as a guidance in the procedure of VM meetings, by highlighting certain activities. For managerial, it highlights that the goal should not be to develop the most advanced or novel visual tool; rather focus on improving the employee’s cognitive ability and efficient behaviour.