About me

I am a researcher at Karolinska Instiutet (KI) and Karlstad University but also docent and associate professor at KTH. I got my PhD at KTH on the thesis "The dangerous commitment" with professor Jan Forslin as Supervisor. 

Research description

I am a docent and associate professor at KTH, but also a researcher at Karolinska Instiutet and Karlstad University. My research embraces several, but connected, sub areas within Industrial Work Science. The core of my publications contributes to the sub areas work environment, organisational change, project management, digitalisation of work, management, leadership, and human resource management – all with a special focus on the work situation of the individual. I have mainly studied industrial settings, but since I have been working part time at Karolinska Institutet the last nine years I have also broadened the research perspective and included health care organisations within my research. My research is mainly qualitative, but also includes quantitative research methods.

I was the head of the department of Sustainable Production Development (earlier Applied Mechanical Engineering) at KTH Södertälje between July 2012 and March 2019. I was responsible for a department with about 45 employees and a turnover around 43 MSEK. I was responsible for three first line managers who in their turn had employee responsibility. I was also responsible for the extensive development of the department including building a new research environment, starting 4 new education programs, recruiting new faculty, building a new campus (we moved in December 2017) and expanding the collaboration with the surrounding society. From the Swedish government we applied for and got 600 new student places and 10 MSEK yearly in faculty funds exclusively to KTH Södertälje. Building a research environment means e.g. hiring faculty and researchers, initiating research projects and collaborations, and achieving research funding. Between 2016 and 2018 I recruited three full professors, two associate professors and one assistant professor. I was been responsible for initiating and finalizing the recruitment process, including being a part of the recruitment committee as the department representative. I was also deeply involved in starting the new education programs that included discussions with the KTH management of education and our company partners. Building a new campus involved discussions with the real estate companies, architects, the department of building and environment at KTH including the KTH Management on top level. The fourth area within the expansion was collaboration with the surrounding society, and here I was working closely with the management of Södertälje municipality, AstraZeneca, Scania and Acturum – together we have started the Södertälje Science Park AB in which I had a place in the board from the start until March 2019. At KTH I got a lot of positive feedback for my clear, constructive, brave and engaged leadership. My department is part of the school of Industrial Technology and Management, and I reported to the former dean Professor Jan Wikander.

I was a unit leader for LEAD – Leadership, evaluation and organisational development at Medical Management Centre at Karolinska Institutet, between the summer of 2014 and March 2018 (part time together with PhD Johan Hansson). The group consisted of 10 researchers, 2/3 were PhD students. I was responsible for the economics, and the work environment of the group (including performance reviews and wage discussions). I was working hard in creating a good working climate where especially the PhD students should feel safe and secure in a harsh academic environment – and I did succeed. The last work environment questionnaire was very positive and HR expert said it was exceptionally good. I got a lot of positive feedback for my leadership, especially in creating a good working climate for PhD students. I was reporting to the head of Medical Management centre Professor Carl-Johan Sundberg and earlier Professor Mats Brommels.

Teaching portfolio

My subject areas for teaching are: leadership, group development, stress and sustainable work, change management, and organisation. I teach in undergraduate courses at KTH and KI and sometimes as guest lecturer in other universities, in commissioned education at KTH and in post-graduate education at KI. An overall perspective that can summarize my educational standpoint is what I want to accomplish with my teaching. I want to create an interest in my topic and give undergraduate students opportunities to become good leaders, and thus create sustainable jobs, i.e. work that is sustainable from both economic and human perspectives. Some examples of my teaching:

Karolinska Institutet - undergraduate education

  • Nurse program (leadership and group development)
  • Leadership and organisations development (change management and leadership)

Karolinska Institutet - postgraduate education

KTH - comissioned education



I also give lectures to academic managers where I connect the research on leadership with my own experiences on being a research group leader at KI and head of department at KTH.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

S:ta Ragnhildmedaljen, 2016 http://www.sodertalje.se/Kommun-demokrati/Om-kommunen/Press/Pressmeddelanden/Kristina-Palm-tilldelas-Sta-Ragnhildsmedaljen/

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