About me

  • Associate professor in Medical Management Karolinska Institutet, Senior lecturer in Psychology, Umeå university.
  • Research group leader SOLIID (Sustainable Organizational Learning, Innovation, Improvement and Development in Health and Social services).

Research description

Organizational behavior and management in health service organizations, with a special interest in leadership, organizational development, quality improvement and organizational learning and innovation.

The field of work and organizational psychology embraces three analytical levels: individual (e.g. cognition, stress, motivation, decision making), group (e.g. communication, leadership, team development) and organization (e.g. strategy, structure, culture, power, politics and development processes). My research aspires to involve a multilevel system view when investigating complex organizational phenomena.

Since 2006 I have been the leader of 20 research projects (VINNVÅRD, VINNOVA, SFO-V) focusing on organizational structures and processes that enhances sustainable learning, innovation, development and improvement in complex organizational systems. They involve both health and social services and most of them are based on an action oriented and a mixed methods approach. Collaborators involved are e.g. Region Norrbotten, Swedish Association for Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR); Västerbotten county council, Sörmland region; the National Board of Health and Welfare; several municipalities; and Umeå university, Luleå Technical University and Gothenburg university. I participate as a researcher in the “Managing innovations” project (Vinnova) and in two FORTE-programs: Co-Care and Value & Choice. I have as a researcher followed four national large scale intervention programs (LSTs) investigating national and regional support and implementation strategies: Safe delivery; Better Life for the ill older people; Enhancing the use of National Quality Registries for improvement, research and interaction with patients and citizens; and the ongoing Improving delivery care and women’s health program. I have been involved in CHEPSAA, an EU-funded project on how to strengthen capacity for health policy analysis in five African countries and an AFA-funded project on how to combine Lean and health promoting activities in a hospital. During 2010-2012 I coordinated an international research network: ”Organizational Culture and Quality Improvement research”. During the period 2020-2022 I was responsible for developing and testing a learning arena for developers in health and social care with the purpose if spreading a more holistic view on development based on many perspectives and knowledge and research areas. The pilot test of the arena "Develop the future developers" was financed by Vinnova.

Besides scientific articles the research projects have resulted in a number of Swedish reports, books and book chapters. My thesis concerned the experienced managerial role during periods of organizational change, testing a social constructivist and a rational/cognitive approach while addressing their weaknesses and strength.

Since 1993 I have been engaged in university courses in work and organizational psychology, leadership and organizational development - for managers in general and in health and social care particularly, some on international basis. From 2017 I am responsible for a course for new researchers at Karolinska Institutet that also has been offered to other universities and research organisations: Leading research projects.

Doctoral dissertation

Nyström, M. E. Contrasting perspectives on the subjective managerial role. Doctoral dissertation from the Department of Psychology, Umeå University, SE-90187, Umeå, Sweden, 2005: ISBN 91-7305-881-5.

Financing (external funders)

Forte; Vinnova; Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR); VINNVÅRD (Consortium: Vinnova, Vårdalsstiftelsen, SKL, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs); Patient Insurance LÖF; EU- Fp7- Call for Africa; AFA Insurance; Strategic Research Programme in Care Sciences; The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT).