Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management

Doctoral theses

In 2015, 50 candidates were awarded a doctoral degree by the Faculty. Please see the following list with summaries of some of the most recent theses. Search in Diva for more.

Asgerdur Bjarklind Bjarnadottir

Betydningen av personlige ressurser i relasjonelt krevende arbeid
— en kvalitativ studie av sykepleieres engasjement og helse i arbeid med svært syke og/eller døende pasienter

Asgerdur Bjarklind Bjarnadottir

Working with very ill and/or dying patients is regarded as possibly the most demanding relational job in present day health care. This thesis explores the significance of personal resources on maintaining work engagement and well-being among nurses working with patients who are very ill or dying. Research has so far mainly concentrated on work resources, and knowledge about the significance of personal resources for nurses carrying out demanding relational work as part of their job is therefore limited. The subject is explored from an individual perspective, with nurses as informants.

The overall purpose of the study has been to explore the personal and job resources which influence the nurses’ work engagement and health, and to understand the significance of the psychological mechanisms involved in specific personal and work resources in the form of either negative or positive consequences for their engagement and well-being. The data source consists of qualitative in-depth interviews with a total of 16 nurses from three different wards at a medium-sized hospital in Norway.

This thesis contributes new knowledge about the use and significance of personal resources in the professional life of the nurses. The main findings suggest that personal resources like authenticity, self-efficacy, resilience and humour can play a significant role in maintaining work engagement and well-being in the professional life of the nurses. The findings of the study indicate that inner motivation is greatly significant as a psychological mechanism involved in and driving the personal resources.

However, the investigation also uncovered the significance of the interplay between personal and work resources in the form of help from colleagues and management.

The thesis proposes that in order to improve the well-being of individual employees, it is possible to develop the above-mentioned specific personal resources. The study suggests that it is the responsibility of management to develop a resilient, well-functioning team regardless of how demanding a situation may seem. This implies training in addition to increased access to counselling on the wards. The key concepts in the development of sustainable teams are openness and confidence, both between employees and between employees and management.

Bodil Kråkvik

Auditory verbal hallucinations, attentional functioning and treatment outcome in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders

Bodil Kråkvik

Hearing voices (auditory verbal hallucinations, AVH) has mainly been connected with serious mental illness and schizophrenia. The fact that AVH also occurs in other psychiatric conditions as well as in the general population has led to an increase in research focusing on AVH in other clinical and non-clinical groups. Despite the increased knowledge of AVH and new treatments, the interventions appear to have small to modest ability to help people who experience AVH as distressing. A better understanding of the various factors and mechanisms that affect the experience of AVH is necessary in order to improve the treatment. This thesis focuses on psychological theories and cognitive models relating to the association between AVH and mental health across different groups, the association between attentional impairments and AVH, and the effectiveness of cognitive therapy for psychosis (CBTp).

The three papers in this thesis are based on two different studies. Paper I is based on a national survey comprising 2533 individuals in the Norwegian general population. Paper III is based on data from a randomized control trial (RCT) in CBTp comprising 45 individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Paper II is based on baseline data from the same RCT study, using a subset of individuals suffering from AVH. In the study reported in Paper I the results revealed that 7.3% experienced AVH. Individuals with AVH reported more emotional disturbances and severe life events than those who had never experienced AVH. The results revealed greater severity of voice hearing experiences (more frequent and negative AVH) and more use of maladaptive coping strategies for those who had sought professional help. The results of the study reported in Paper II revealed an association between inattention (as assessed in social interaction and on performance on a task) and the experience of the voice as malevolent, independently of overall psychiatric symptoms and frequency of voices. In the study reported in Paper III, the results revealed that 20 sessions of CBTp + TAU (treatment as usual) had a significant effect on delusions, but no effect on the severity of AVH. The thesis emphasizes the importance of focusing on how hearing voices affect people, and the need for developing newer psychological treatments that specifically reduce distressing voices.

Bård Knutsen

Naturfagundervisning i prestasjonslike elevgrupper
– Elever og læreres opplevelse av og respons på utforskende og elevaktiv naturfagundervisning i prestasjonslike elevgrupper

Bård Knutsen

This dissertation examines how pupils and teachers experience and respond to the use of inquiry-based and pupil-driven teaching methods for natural science education for groups of pupils with similar levels of ability. The study contributes to developing new knowledge about how organizational differentiation measures, in combination with pedagogical measures, affect pupils’ experience of learning in natural science classes. The dissertation contributes to deeper understanding of complexities seen in the interaction between teacher and pupil, and how teacher behaviour in the classroom and teaching practice affects the learning environment. The main research question is:

  • How do pupils and teachers experience the transition to similar ability grouping and increased usage of inquiry based teaching methods in natural science classes?

The main research question is highlighted and discussed within the science teachers and pupils’ experiences and responses to combinations of ability grouping and usage of inquiry based science teaching methods in natural science classes.

The study shows that all pupils can experience positive peer effects when teachers combine and apply organizational and pedagogical differentiation measures to natural science classes. Both low and high achievers reported positive peer effects during the intervention period, contrary to other research findings that suggest positive peer effects are reserved for high achievers when grouped by similar ability.

Another finding shows teachers increase their chances of achieving tracking effects when combining similar ability grouping with inquiry-based and pupil-driven work methods. A third finding points to how teacher orientation towards the practice of teaching and the academic subject is crucial for pupil experience and response to grouping by similar ability. Ability grouping does not in itself result in positive effects for how pupils experience and respond to teaching, but it increases the chance for better facilitated classes and, because of that, positive tracking effects. The introduction of more pupil-driven and inquiry-based work methods contributes to greater scope of action for the pupils and more interaction between them. This increases the chance for positive peer effects, and each intervention provides didactic gains. Combined, they yield the greatest opportunity for positive net gains for pupils in all ability levels.

Vegar Lein Ausrød

Commercialization of renewable energy in rural India
– Entrepreneurial activities for building a profitable venture at the base of the pyramid

Vegar Lein Ausrød

This thesis seeks to achieve two objectives. First it aims to understand how entrepreneurs are able to provide products and services to the base of the pyramid (BoP) while simultaneously generate profits. Thus, the overall research question of the thesis is: how do commercially driven entrepreneurs build a firm in a BoP context? The answer to this unfolds in the cover of this thesis by combining the theoretical contributions found in each of the four articles. Second, the thesis seeks to contribute to existing theories and literature often applied to explain entrepreneurial actions. This is done through the four articles.

Article 1 seeks to contribute to resource-based theory (RBT) as it says little about resource management and its interplay with context. The findings suggest that entrepreneurs at the BoP can apply dispersed spatial and business contexts to structure and bundle resources.

Article 2 contributes to resource management and resource mobilization. This article argues that the inability of presumed strategic resources to become intricately embedded in the local context is the reason for their failure. Conversely, the ability of presumed ordinary and weak resources to become intricately embedded in the local context is the reason for their success.

Article 3 unfolds the business model design dilemma of adapting to or shaping the context in which they are deployed. Specifically designed interim business models in which each model design either facilitates an “adaptation to” process or a “shaping of” process.

Article 4 focuses on the modes of growth. This article suggests that growth modes should be studied in combination with the business model; that not only organic growth takes place in new ventures; and it offers a perspective to understand erratic growth patterns in a new venture.

Because creating profitable firms targeting the BoP is an under-explored and complex phenomenon, a qualitative research design has been adopted. All research questions are answered through a single case study of Husk Power Systems (HPS), the world-leading mini-utility firm providing rural electricity based on renewable energy sources for the BoP segment.

Gunhild Marie Roald

When coaching flows into leadership
– A phenomenological-hermeneutic study of leaders' lived experience of coaching leadership

Gunhild Marie Roald

Coaching leadership is a relatively young field of research (Hagen, 2012), where particularly the leader perspective has been scarcely investigated (Ellinger et al., 2014). The purpose of the study is to explore leaders' lived experience of coaching leadership, and to examine how coaching influences leadership from a leader perspective. The research question guiding the study is: "How is coaching leadership experienced by leaders, and how does coaching influence leadership?" With a phenomenological-hermeneutic perspective, ten semi-structured interviews and two focus-group interviews with leaders in different Norwegian companies who have attended the same coaching course have been carried out.

The theoretical framework of the study utilises an existential-humanistic perspective on coaching leadership. The concepts of self-actualisation, acceptance, congruence, experience, mutuality and empathy are elaborated on in the theory section, primarily drawing on the person-centred theory of Carl Rogers and the theory of persons-in-relation of John Macmurray, as transferred to the counselling field by Ragnvald Kvalsund and Eleanor Allgood.

The data analysis has been inspired by the phenomenological-hermeneutic procedure suggested by Lindseth and Nordberg (2004). Three main categories have emerged as a result of this analysis: self-confidence, integration and connectedness. Within each main category, three sub-categories are found and presented.

The findings from this study indicate that the experience of coaching leadership is one of integration in that coaching "just flows into" leadership, as expressed by one of the informants. This term is not to be understood as meaning that everything the leader experiences might be explained by the coaching concept. Rather, coaching co-exists with other interventions and approaches. The leaders search for the "coachability" of a variety of situations within their leadership, that is, aspects of a particular context that are suitable for assuming a coaching approach. Furthermore, the findings suggest that coaching leadership involves an experience of self-confidence: leaders feel better equipped to perform their leadership as a result of having learned about coaching and applied it within their leadership, or learning about coaching becomes a confirmation of their leadership experience and thus conceptualises, or legitimates their leadership as they know it. Finally, the findings indicate that the experience of coaching leadership is one of feeling more connected to one's employees: taking a coaching approach in encounters with employees entails an experience of discovering the person behind the employee and thus interacting on a more existential, personal level.

In the discussion, the relevance of giving space to the experiential dimension of conversations and encounters within leadership is emphasised, and the question of mutuality is addressed and discussed as a not yet fully realised potential of coaching leadership.

See more theses: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 09:07:37 +0100