A vibrant core culture based on collegial cooperation

One of the premises of Strategy 2030 is that we need to take seriously the signs of a weak shared internal culture and a lack of common purpose. A strong sense of community (what we call our “we-ness”) is needed to be able to take on the evolving demands of a changing world.

Researchers, teachers or administrators – we’re all part of Karolinska Institutet. If we’re to maintain a university of the highest possible standards and meet the challenges facing scientific and academic endeavour, we need to have effective cooperation between individuals, groups and operational units based on a common set of values. In other words: we need each other.


    By creating opportunities for a solid sense of community at KI, both as a whole and for our different operational units, we also make possible a vibrant core culture. But to achieve this, we need well-developed collegial collaboration.

      Current or planned initiatives for boosting a sense of “we-ness” and a vibrant core culture at KI

      Recruitment, introduction, internal courses and development work

      • Recruitment, preboarding and onboarding – Common processes for the recruitment and introduction of new employees, including interactive introduction day based on KI’s core values ready for rollout spring term 2020.
      • University-wide collaborations on management development have been extended and deepened. Leadership programmes and individual initiatives are based on KI’s missions, core values and Strategy 2030. Programmes and management development initiatives are designed to promote interprofessional and interoperational forums for dialogue and learning. Content is designed jointly and is based on the common challenges facing KI’s operational units and professions.
      • To further stimulate collegial exchange and cross-organisational learning, inter-cluster manager networks and common development initiatives are being planned for 2021.
      • Trust-based management and employeeship/followership in practice. In co-arrangement with KIB.
      • HR work firmly rooted in the core values. Regular activities both at central HRO and local HR.
      • Measurement of knowledge and understanding of KI’s core values in connection with the spring 2020 staff survey, in order to provide data for prioritising future initiatives.
      • Code of conduct to be reviewed in order to ensure the integration of KI’s core values into our operations.
      • Special training on core values and students for teachers and education/training coordinators (programme coordinators, departmental directors of education, etc.).

      Tried and trusted methods to support operational coordinators and change leaders

      • “Train the trainer” – internal course on facilitation and large-group methods.

      Support for the management and organisation on core-value integration

      • Offer of facilitation support in connection with the Operational Plan process in order to attain consensus and insight on implementation, interfaces and navigating a complex reality to optimise utility.
      • Offer of on-demand support to operational units in connection with their own development work and operational planning.
      • Work environment – dialogue on how important the work environment is for creating a sense of “we-ness” and a vibrant core culture.
      • Working group initiated in order to coordinate the work on internal culture, ethics, quality and core values.
      Some of KI’s managers on Karolinska Institutet’s advanced management programme (KIHLP). Collegial learning, dialogue on complexity and situational leadership.

      About “we-ness” and collegial cooperation

      The concept of collegiality is key to us at KI. It means that while KI is a public authority, we have collegial decision-making and academic autonomy. It denotes healthy internal debate in the interests of maintaining high academic standards and, above all, the relationship between colleagues at KI as a whole, that we at KI contribute generously to each other’s professional development. It is a working community in which we lead each other and engage in fruitful discussion to create strong, closely-knit environments for our research, education and support activities.

      Collegiality means that colleagues are attentive, caring and respectful towards each other. We cooperate frictionlessly and independently coordinate ourselves into collective units without being told to do so. We can adapt to shifting and complex conditions. Collegiality means that we show an interest in each other at KI. We generously share what we can with our colleagues. We solve problems together and engage with each other. Cooperation and collaboration are essential ingredients of research and education.

      “We-ness” is based on values of collegiality that lead to smooth-running cooperation and collaboration, which extend further within KI as a whole than within one’s own team. It’s also about a greater “We”: pride in KI and what we achieve together. The concept of “we-ness” can be defined as follows: A cohesive and interwoven system of practices, legal principles, ethical norms, identities and psychological mechanisms that interact to enable collegial cooperation and collaboration.

      Karolinska Institutet´s value statements