Tobias Johansson, Professor of Business Administration
Tobias Johansson grew up in Gnosjö in Småland. He moved to Gothenburg to study in 1998 and obtained his doctorate from the University of Gothenburg in 2006. In January 2017, he left his position as associate professor of business administration at Örebro University to become a professor at Karlstad University.
“I take quite a broad approach to business administration, but at the same time I retain a clear empirical focus on governance issues in the public sector. I have particularly studied the reasons for and effects of municipalities’ use of private welfare deliverers, including how municipalities handle governance challenges related to entrepreneurial welfare services. Two more recent lines of research include the professional values of accountants and how researchers’ identities are influenced by the growing measurement culture at universities.”
Tobias Johansson thinks his chosen research area is largely the result of coincidences. It started with a theoretical interest in distinguishing organisations from the market. During his doctoral studies, these interests coincided with increased municipal procurement from the marketplace. In addition to the obvious – ideology – he wondered why this is done and whether it makes sense. These questions have not become any less urgent subsequently. The rest of his research is also the result of an interest in general and theoretical issues. Tobias Johansson thinks nothing is more practically relevant and important for society than a good social theory. But who makes use of Tobias Johansson’s research?
“Other researchers are the absolute majority. At present, business administration and social science research is disseminated through journals, meaning that professionals seldom have access to relevant research. Here teaching has an important function to fulfil, and my research and the research of others is probably mostly ‘used’ in the lecture hall. I strongly believe that researchers that are just different enough should work together; they have to share an understanding of theory and method, but different frames of reference always enrich research and writing. So, birds of a feather flock together, if they differ just enough.”
Tobias Johansson’s family consists of a wife and two children. He enjoys training in his free time, ideally in a hilly landscape. In 1998, Tobias Johansson was enrolled as a student at the then Karlstad University College for a week and a half, so he sees his professorship at Karlstad University as something of a return.