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  • Public defence: 2024-08-27 10:15 Gamma, Västerås
    Anastasiadou, Elena
    Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.
    Business Actor Engagement: Understanding Collaborative Business Initiative Outcomes2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Business and service literature has recognized engagement as a crucial concept that influences the success of business initiatives beyond core transactions. Engagement involves various actors’ contributions like time, knowledge, and other resources that extend beyond contractual obligations. Engagement was initially studied in business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts, where its activities include word-of-mouth feedback and co-creating value propositions. As engagement research extended into business-to-business (B2B) contexts, engagement activities included customer referencing and participation in service development, with contributions like influence, time, and expertise. This thesis focuses on understanding engagement in B2B contexts – conceptualized as business actor engagement (BAE) – and offers practice-relevant midrange theory conceptualizations of collaboration in business initiatives beyond the contracted and regular transactions. The study employs a qualitative approach to studying Swedish real estate landlords and their efforts to involve commercial tenants in collaborative business initiatives (conceptualized as engagement initiatives) to deepen the understanding of BAE. The collaborative business initiatives in the thesis’ empirical setting address issues of environmental sustainability, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency. Despite providers using similar strategies to involve their B2B customers, the outcomes of these engagement initiatives vary, often due to hidden aspects affecting customers’ engagement. The findings are presented in four papers that offer insights on BAE such as how prerequisite factors, antecedents and manifestations impact customers’ BAE and consequently the outcomes of collaborative business initiatives. By exploring BAE, the study offers an understanding of the variety in outcomes from collaborative business initiatives, i.e., why some business initiatives succeed or fail. By understanding and managing BAE aspects, the study suggests collaborative business initiatives may result in achieving intended outcomes, such as goals related to addressing climate change and societal problems. Although the study centers on the real estate industry, the findings have broader implications for businesses striving to develop and adopt initiatives that will require their partners’ engagement to achieve intended outcomes and – by doing so – build strong, lasting relationships with their partners.

    The full text will be freely available from 2024-08-06 08:00
  • Public defence: 2024-09-06 13:15 Lambda och digitalt via Zoom, Västerås
    Buli, Benti Geleta
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    Mental health problems among adolescents in Sweden: Analysis of trends, developmental trajectories, and associated factors2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate trends and trajectories of mental health problems and associated factors among adolescents in Sweden. The project consisted of four studies, with the first presenting trends and the subsequent ones exploring influencing factors. The first two studies used data from SALVe, repeated cross-sectional surveys from 2004 – 2020, while the third used national HBSC data from 2002 – 2018. Study IV was based on data from SALVe cohorts conducted among young people born in 1997 and 1999 where data were collected in four waves every three years from 2012 – 2021.   

    Study I investigated trends in mental health problems among adolescents in Västmanland County, revealing an overall decrease but disparities based on socioeconomic status (SES) and sex. Higher SES was associated with reduced mental health problems, while lower SES showed an increase. Girls exhibited a more pronounced decrease in depressive symptoms and suicidal ideations than boys. Study II, using the same dataset, confirmed these trends and identified school-related factors influencing mental health problems, with improvements correlating with reduced problems in the high SES group. Study III found a significant increase in PSS over time, higher in girls, and linked to lifestyle factors, particularly alcohol drunkenness among high SES adolescents. Study IV focused on cohorts born in 1997 and 1999, exploring the impact of family and peer relationships on depressive and anxiety symptoms among young people.

    The results indicate that intermediary factors, including school-related factors, lifestyle choices, and social relationships, which vary across SES gradients, are linked to adolescent mental health problems. The associations between these intermediary factors and the mental health problems were, in most cases, influenced by a group of factors, including SES, sex, country of origin, and birth cohort, collectively named structural determinants. These determinants discriminated results between boys and girls, high SES and low SES, Nordic and non-Nordic origin, and the 1997 and 1999 cohorts. This underscores the need for at least two-tiered policy intervention. The first involves an immediate to mid-term response, targeting these intermediary factors with a special focus on the low SES group, girls, and young people with foreign backgrounds. The second entails a long-term policy intervention to narrow the divide.

    The full text will be freely available from 2024-08-16 08:00
  • Public defence: 2024-09-10 13:15 Zeta, Västerås
    Karlsson, Stefan
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Exploring API Behaviours by Example Generation2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Understanding the behaviour of complex software-intensive systems is a hard task. For developers of such systems, understanding the actual behaviours is critical in order to successfully create, extend, and maintain them.

    The goal of the work in this thesis is to support explorations of the behaviour of software systems through their APIs. We fulfil this goal by generating examples of behaviours the system exhibits. An example is expressed as a sequence of API operations---with parameters, if required---that conforms to a specific behaviour.

    Examples of behaviours, such as sequences of operations performed on the system, have been shown to be a good way to further the understanding of software systems for both end users and developers. However, manually creating examples requires effort. In addition, manually created examples only contain what a human can imagine---which might miss important cases, such as unintended behaviours.

    The main proposed approach in this thesis is to support users in exploring the behaviour of their software system by automatically generating examples of actual behaviour. By only interacting with the system by the exposed API, we assess the behaviours as exposed to an end user of the API. The input to the approach is a set of API operations and schema of operation parameters. Sequences of operations are generated containing these provided operations. The observed responses from executing the generated sequences are used to assess if the API show an example of a sought behaviour. Found examples go through a shrinking process---trying to find a more minimal sequence showing the same behaviour---and are then reported to the user of the approach. 

    The approach is capable of both generating examples of faults in the system and of generating examples of general behaviours. We show evidence of this through multiple evaluations. We have evaluated the fault-finding capabilities by generating examples producing fault-indicating error codes and showing how the configuration of generators affects the interaction with the system. In addition, we evaluate the capability of the approach to generate relevant examples, both in the general API case and in the specific case of REST APIs. By conducting multiple focus group sessions, we conclude that the examples of behaviours produced by the approach indeed aid industry practitioners. The generated examples are deemed relevant for use cases such as testing, documenting, and understanding the behaviour of the system.

    The full text will be freely available from 2024-08-20 08:00
  • Public defence: 2024-09-13 09:15 C3-003, Eskilstuna
    Bojesson, Catarina
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Enabling Dynamic Capability: Managing and Organizing for Change2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This doctoral thesis is based on a longitudinal single-case study conducted over five years within a product development context at a manufacturing company. In dynamic environments that demand flexibility and adaptability, it is essential to understand how organizations can improve dynamic capabilities to remain viable and competitive during periods of turbulence and change. This challenge is especially central to product development organizations offering customer-specific products as it tends to increase organizational complexity. An excessive focus on internal coordination and control to manage this complexity has led to inertia due to establishment of strict, rigid processes and hierarchical bureaucracies within organizational management and design.

    This study aims to contribute with new knowledge on how organizations operating in dynamic contexts can develop adaptability to changing needs. Specifically, it seeks to understand how to design and manage organizations to increase their preparedness for and adaptability to change. Investigating the factors and mechanisms that influence an organization's dynamic capability can provide insights into the sources of inertia and support the transition toward a more dynamic structure. The longitudinal study is based on data collected through an initial interview study followed by a questionnaire study, and finally through a concluding interview study. The research has been phenomenon-driven; as the organization’s circumstances have evolved, the focus of the study has shifted accordingly. Emerging from the aggregated results of the longitudinal study, the overall scope of the research is the change process, transitioning from a rigid to a more dynamic organization. Research findings are presented in five appended papers.

    Analysis from literature studies and the empirical study show that the primary focus on improving performance often centers on internal efficiency. However, within the case company, tension arose between the desire of strict control according to predefined processes and plans and the actual need for flexibility. Dynamic contexts require working processes that facilitate reactive problem-solving, creativity, and flexibility, as well as managers capable of going back and forth between management styles to benefit performance. Successful organizational reconfiguration depends on developing the conditions that enable the firm's dynamic capability in relation to its context. This involves identifying both the microfoundations that generate dynamic capability and the internal and external constraints to change.

    Considering the external environment is crucial for developing an understanding of how to best organize and manage resources and capabilities, which places demands on managerial capabilities. Managers must possess the skills to monitor the external environment and formulate strategies to respond to changing conditions, as their interpretation of the external environment will influence their decisions, which will subsequently enable or hinder possible actions. The design of organizations will impact the ability to rearrange resources and capabilities. Processes and working procedures must allow for reconfigurations to respond swiftly to changing constraints or opportunities. The use of multiple theoretical perspectives has been imperative in the analysis of the data, and the theoretical contribution extends to exploration of various factors and mechanisms that influence an organization's dynamic capability.  

  • Public defence: 2024-09-20 13:00 C3-003, Eskilstuna
    Aranda Muñoz, Álvaro
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Collaborative Thinking with and through Technology: Materials, methods and perspectives2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The rapid development and integration of IoT, AI, and digital twin technologies into work environments create new demands and challenges for organisations, including the need to upskill and prepare their workforces for new technological applications and capabilities. The collaborative design tradition draws upon participatory notions of joint inquiry to help people in the ideation and conception of alternative futures; however, given the novelty and the rapidity of the technological transformations, there is an opportunity to engage people unfamiliar with technology and design in the ideation and conceptualisation of work-oriented improvements using these technologies.

    This dissertation investigates what dimensions are necessary to support participatory processes for identifying and creating work-oriented improvements with technology and how design practitioners can apply these dimensions to stage these joint inquiry situations. To achieve these aims, explorations of and reflections on design are guided by a research-through-design approach that builds on three collaborative design cases that address real-world situations in a variety of contexts and participants: the joint inquiry processes of factory workers in the ideation, conceptualisation and prototyping of IoT work-oriented improvements; the joint inquiry process of ideation and conceptualisation of a digital twin in a manufacturing environment; and the joint inquiry processes of workers (predominantly from the healthcare sector) in ideating, conceptualising, and prototyping roles, skills, and products relying on IoT and AI technologies for their work futures. 

    The research and design practice is guided by Deweyan pragmatism, underscoring the role and nature of materials (design methods, tools, and practices) in participatory design processes. Drawing from the three collaborative design cases and these theoretical notions, this thesis addresses two research questions: “What dimensions are needed to support participants in creating work-oriented improvements using technology?” and “How can these dimensions inform designers in staging joint inquiry situations of work-oriented improvements using technology?” The research methods consist of audio-recorded interviews, field notes, and collective reflective sessions to analyse the empirical material and video recordings. 

    The main contributions are the identification of dimensions that underscore technology and work-oriented themes in joint inquiry and the framework of “thinking with and through technology”, which integrates these dimensions into a guided reflective and analytical design process. These contributions can help design and innovation practitioners and researchers prepare and stage materials, methods, and perspectives of joint inquiry situations concerning technology. The framework presents a “thinking with” perspective that underscores the material properties of technology and what the technology can offer to participants, and a “thinking through” perspective to contest the role of technology in organisations and open the design space to consider more sustainable and responsible futures. These results contribute to the collaborative design domain by developing knowledge and new nuances when staging joint inquiry situations of work-oriented improvements with technology. New understandings of these dimensions can contribute to an organisational landscape where workers can exercise their creativity, upskill their capacities, and voice their ideas and concerns concerning the technologies being integrated into their work environments.

  • Public defence: 2024-09-26 13:14 Pi, Västerås
    Gutiérrez Peón, Pablo
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems. TTTech Computertechnik AG.
    Dependable real-time communications for systems with integrated wired and wireless connectivity2024Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Ensuring reliable and timely data communication between computer systems over the wireless transmission medium has been a widely accepted source of conflict for decades. Although wireless communication over licensed frequencies demonstrates that dependability and timeliness requirements can be met, important application areas such as industrial automation, automotive, avionics or robotics have been restricted to license-free transmission frequencies. In these frequencies, interference from other users must be tolerated, which can jeopardize the communication requirements. In addition, data communication technologies have evolved dramatically since their introduction in office and home environments. The evolution is based on the success of two specific local area network (LAN) technologies: Ethernet and Wi-Fi. This success has shifted the formerly wide range of dependable and real-time capable proprietary wired solutions towards standardized options based on Ethernet such as time sensitive networking (TSN), a step that the wireless counterpart based on Wi-Fi has yet to take. This thesis addresses these limitations and opportunities and attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of how wireless communication can be introduced not only as a replacement for wired solutions, but as a complement to them. The work addresses demanding and critical scenarios where dependability and real-time are required, but where a variety of other, often conflicting, requirements may also apply. The solutions are based on the high-throughput commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware hardware based on Ethernet and Wi-Fi. They are outlined at the medium access control (MAC) level of the communication architecture, as this is important for managing access to communication resources. Dependability enhancement mechanisms are introduced, mainly targeting reliability by applying fault prevention and fault tolerance, utilizing the diversity of communication channels and focusing on communication resource scheduling. The solutions are supported and evaluated by a mixture of analysis methods, computer simulations and hardware implementation to take the state of the art one step further.