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.

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.

Annelie Schedin Leiulfsrud

Exploring persons with a spinal cord injury participation in society
– The paradoxes of the participation dimension in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

Annelie Schedin Leiulfsrud

The thesis has two main goals: to study the meaning of participation in society among persons living with spinal cord injuries (SCI), with a special interest in the role of employment, and to explore the participation dimension of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

The informants’ accounts of participation in society illustrate the importance of social recognition in interaction with others. They also reveal the informants’ social identities; their perceptions of themselves in interactions with co-workers, health care providers and family and friends; and primary references to participation in parity with other citizens. The results lend support to a Nordic relational model of disability that views disabilities as an outcome of social barriers and a disabling environment but recognizes that disabilities are highly situational and relative to the participation context.

One of the most interesting results from this study is the importance attached to employment as the primary means of participation in the Norwegian society. Notwithstanding, Norway has a lower share of post-SCI long-term employment than other European countries included in this study. The findings regarding employment are particularly important from a rehabilitation and social policy perspective because the positive long-term effects of employment tend to be under-evaluated in post-SCI medical rehabilitation. Ensuring the utilization of a high share of persons with SCI who are capable of remaining in long-term employment will require more and better coordination among the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, the medical system and employers.

The main contribution of this thesis is that it brings the discussion of social recognition into the context of participation in society among persons with SCIs. It also reveals the importance of highlighting the functions of employment from a participation perspective. Finally, this thesis presents a critical discussion of the ICF, which is rare but necessary for research and policies focused on participation in society.

The thesis is based on 31 in-depth interviews conducted in Norway in 2008-2010 among persons with SCIs. Similar investigations were conducted as part of a European project in Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Ireland, and Northern Ireland in 2008-2011.

Sigrid Slettebakk Berge

Tolkemediert undervisning for tegnspråklige elever i videregående skole
- En analyse av undervisningstolkers rollesett

Sigrid Slettebakk Berge

The dissertation explores the academic and social inclusion of deaf students in interpreter mediated education in high school. The overall analysis focuses particularly on the role and responsibility of the educational sign-language interpreter in an ethnographic classroom study of five different branches of study where each class was observed several times in at least two subjects. The data material consists of observations, video-recordings and interviews with interpreters, teachers, and hearing and deaf students. Each of the analyses is founded on two theoretical platforms: First, Per Linell’s work on “Dialogism”, which is a sociocultural metaperspective on interpersonal communication and which focuses on the connection between context, language use, cognition and action. Second, Erving Goffman’s work on interpersonal interaction and the focus on the connection between various changes of scenes and the participants’ self-representation when they perform various roles. This is in turn connected to Srikant Sarangi’s work on the professional role-set in institutional businesses. This project sheds light on various aspects of the professional roles of the teacher, interpreters and students.

The dissertation presents four empirical articles which are about

  1. Deaf and hearing students’ expectations for the interpreter role
  2. Interpreting and pedagogical organisation of informal group work which is arranged spontaneously by hearing students while they are working with individual tasks
  3. Visual access to information for deaf students in situations where the teacher uses one or more artefacts to illustrate his or her points
  4. The interpreter’s embodied initiative to coordinate joint attention and turn-taking in group-work dialogues between deaf and hearing students

All in all, the findings are that the observed teaching follows the premises of the spoken language, and that deaf students’ access to subject-specific information and social participation with hearing peers is continuously challenged. In this respect, the interpreter’s presence is not sufficient adjustment for the establishment of a completely accessible teaching situation. Access is also connected to the overarching adjustment of the teacher’s teaching and discourse practice. The empirical analyses of the conversations have also explored the educational interpreters’ set of roles, and it is clear that they have responsibilities in addition to interpreting the spoken utterances that involve other tasks, such as facilitating explanations of concepts, coordinating turn-taking, adapting the physical environment for increased visual access and initiating phrases of politeness in the encounter between deaf and hearing students. The facilitator model emerges as the most suitable model for defining the educational interpreters’ role-space when considering the situated conditions in these kinds of teaching activities.

Thomas Wold

Procedures coming every day:
Safety Management Systems and safety communication in high-risk industries

Thomas Wold

In this dissertation the use of Safety Management Systems and procedures in high-risk industries is being studied, focusing on the following research questions:

  1. How is Safety Management System defined in the safety literature?
  2. How is Safety Management System used in a petroleum producing company?
  3. How can end user involvement improve the development and use of procedures and Safety Management System?
  4. What kind of training in the use of procedures and Safety Management System are the workers in two different companies given? How can the training be improved?

The empirical data was collected by conducting qualitative in-depth interviews with 27 staff members of two different companies in the Norwegian gas and petroleum producing sector.

In this thesis Safety Management Systems are defined as IT-based systems which purpose is to code and share good practices, and to create corporate knowledge directories for the organization. Safety Management Systems and the procedures are here regarded as a form of communication; designed at an executive level in the organization and communicated to the lower levels in the organization`s hierarchy. There is no guarantee that the employees will perceive, understand and interpret the procedures and system as intended by the management.

Executives in this study generally regard Safety Management Systems and procedures as important tools for all work, while many of the workers were less enthusiastic. The informants with a good use of the system and the procedures saw them as helpful, and as a result of industrial experience accumulated over many years. The informants with a poor use of the procedures acknowledged the need for safety measures, but saw their own experience as more important for safety than the Safety Management System.

Several of the challenges with using the Safety Management System in the two companies are related to communication and to the organizational context; how the workers relate to computers, information overload, and dealing with highly detailed procedures, the development of informal procedures, the workers ideals of professionalism, and how to ensure a good two-way communication, and staff training.

Ingvil Bjordal

Markedsretting i en urban norsk skolekontakst
- Et sosialt rettferdighetsperspektiv

Ingvil Bjordal

The topic of the dissertation is marketization in education in light of social justice and school as a socially integrating institution. This is related to recent developments where market-oriented policies have been introduced in public education, challenging social democratic principles and ideals. The study here explores the consequences of this development for education policy in an urban Norwegian school context.

The research project uses a qualitative case-study approach focusing on schools in the Oslo area. The point of departure is that Oslo local authority has gone to great lengths to introduce political initiatives that can be seen as expressions of a marketization. This is witnessed by the combination of performance management, publication of test results, parental choice of school and per capita funding. The study, based on a critical examination of education policy, uses the analysis of political documents and interviews with school leaders to illuminate how marketization is realized and experienced on the local level. Using Ball, Maguire and Braun’s (2012) theory of policy enactment and Fraser's (1997, 2003, 2009) theory of social justice, three aspects that have significance for “how schools do policy” are examined: the discursive, the material and the interpretive. Bearing these aspects in mind, the following three points are then analysed 1) Which justice perspectives underpin marketization, 2) How are political initiatives materialized in local school contexts and 3) What characterizes the ways the school leaders interpret the policies in local contexts.

All in all, the analyses reveal that marketization in education is generally justified according to a justice perspective that takes democratic participation and institutional autonomy into consideration. The prioritization and realization of political initiatives that are said to strengthen this aspect may, however, undermine aspects of social justice and social integration that support an egalitarian education system and local democratic processes. This is expressed when differences in schools financial and cultural conditions are reinforced along ethnic and social dividing lines, and when school leaders’ autonomy are restricted by the increase in control and discipline. The findings from the analyses conclude that marketization legitimizes an interference with principles and political strategies which in a Norwegian context have had a priority position and have been considered essential for securing social integration through education.

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

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:41:53 +0100