Profesjonsfaglig digital kompetanse for studenter og lærerutdannere i grunnskolelærerutdanningene (ProDIG) 2018-2020

Professional digital competence for students and educators in primary school education.
Project owner: University of Agder
Funded by: Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and Norgesuniversitetet.

Felles telemedisinsk løsning på Agder (Telma) 2016-2018

Telma is a joint telemedical solution for the region of Agder in Norway. The ambition is to establish a joint solution for all 30 municipalities in Agder county.  6 partners: Kristiansand, Farsund and Risør municipalities, South Norway Hospital (SSHF), Siemens HealthCare and Centre for ehealth at University of Agder.
Project owner: Kristiansand municipality.
Funded by the Norwegian Research council.

GOV3.0: Scientific Foundations Training & Entrepreneurship Activities in the Domain of ICT-enabled Governance

The Gov 3.0 project aims at establishing ICT-enabled Governance as a vivid research domain, by providing universities, private firms and government agencies with cutting-edge knowledge on emerging technologies and policy support methods and tools. The core consortium will engage a network of affiliate partners and experts from all over the world.
Funded by Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

PhD Project: Digitalization in international governance

PhD Fellow Tove Sofia Engvall

Tove is a PhD research fellow in Information Systems. Her research is about digitalization in international governance, using the UN Paris Agreement as a case. A central part of the Paris Agreement is that all countries have to report commitments, achievements and GHG emissions. She will look at the relations between information, technology and governance. To study what the roles and nature of digital technologies are in international governance.

Supervisors: Leif Skiftenes Flak and Jarle Trondal

PhD Project: Artificial Intelligence and Governance in the EU

PhD Fellow Frans af Malmborg

The purpose with the project is to study how the European Commission (EC) is working with artificial intelligence decision-making (AIDM). By gathering data on policy, reports, projects, statements as well as interviews with key stakeholders, the aim is to describe the Commission’s work through the lens of translation theory working with three concepts;
framing – how the EC is understanding AI and what concepts are used to frame it, anchoring – how the frames are adopted and anchored within the organisation and what mandates are distributed to other agencies, and
muddling through – how the policies ultimately are implemented.

The role of Artificial intelligence (AI) and governance is two-fold: both as a regulator of AI as well as a user of AI. The project will look into both these areas. The overall contribution of the project is to understand and nuance the relation between new technology such as AI and governance and thus facilitate a discussion surrounding the EC as both a European but also a global policy agenda setter.

Main supervisor: Jarle Trondal
Co-supervisor: Leif Skiftenes Flak

PhD Project: Public organizations and their ability to cope with changes

PhD Fellow Frank Danielsen.

I am a PhD research fellow in Information Systems and my research area is eGovernment. I study digital transformation initiatives in public organizations and how digitalization will affect their ability to cope with changes. To understand this there is also a need to know what digital transformation is in the context of public organizations. Further, I want to identify opportunities and challenges of digital transformation initiatives. I also want to understand how supportive technologies can affect these challenges. The plan is to use mixed methods (qualitative case studies and quantitative surveys) to explore this in depth and verify my findings. I started on my PhD in 2017 and I hope to conclude in 2022.

Supervisors: Professor Øystein Sæbø and Professor Maung Kyaw Sein

PhD Project: Digital Discretion Acceptance and Impact in Street-Level Bureaucracy

Assistant professor Peter André Busch.

Abstract: Street-level bureaucracies are public organizations responsible for turning policy intentions into actions experienced by clients. They occupy street-level bureaucrats such as judges, social workers, and teachers who have extensive ability to exercise discretion. Whereas clients ideally should experience public policy implementation equally within a jurisdiction, policies are often found to be implemented differently in different contexts. Policy discrepancies have led to the criticism of discretionary practices, introducing technology as a remedy to reduce the street-level footprint in policy implementation. Whereas street-level bureaucrats may have become powerful actors, a technological impact on discretionary practices can disclose too much algorithmic imprint. This is potentially problematic since there is a fundamental difference between professional street-level work and digital work practices. Whereas street-level bureaucrats base their decisions on professional knowledge and skill sets, acquired through years of training and experience, digital tools are designed by non-professionals without any first-hand experience of street-level work. Using a mixed methods approach, I have investigated how the characteristics of street-level work can explain the acceptance and impact of digital discretion.

Supervisor: Professor Øystein Sæbø

PhD Project: Digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany – (Simply) a matter of governance?

PhD Fellow Christopher Köhler, Zeppelin University, Germany

Abstract: What is „good“ governance? This question is as old as the original roots of the concept of governance that lie in ancient greek. Still, in times where political and economic changes, crisis and revolutions challenge countries, enterprises, people in many countries governance by various actors seems to face renaissance.

This also proves to be true in the context of the digital revolution. Therefore, various governments all over the world implement respective policies to (try to) enable their society to be on the winning rather than the losing side. One such example is Germany.

Traditionally the German “Mittelstand” is described as to be the backbone of economy. Even more important for the economy though – in scale and size – are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which make up more than 99 percent of all enterprises in Germany. Problematically, digitalization has been proven to be quite challenging. This is particularly true for small and medium-sized firms as these organizations face many disadvantages (e.g. lack of expertise and financial autonomy) in comparison to big companies.

In line with resource-dependence theory (RDT) especially such enterprises are contingent on external resources to generate profit and/or outperform competitors. In this respect, the thesis with the working title “Digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany – (Simply) a matter of governance?“ analyses the (digital) governance-mechanisms and policy instruments national and subnational governments implement to support german SMEs concerning the digital challenge.

Therefore, the author utilizes the interdisciplinary concept of governance to synthesize theories of political science (e.g. theory of public goods) and economics (market-based (MBV) and resource-based view (RBV) and RDT) to evaluate how potential policy implementation failures may be obviated (in the future) and which already implemented governance-mechanisms (hierarchy, market and/or networks) are suited (best) to support diverse german SMEs concerning (internal) digitalization.

Therefore, the work draws on qualitative (e.g. content analysis) as well as quantitative methods (e.g. text mining, cluster analysis and various regression models) to guarantee methodological triangulation.


  • Determinants (various) of democratic (in-)stability
  • Governance (theories): Policy cycle/stages (politics, policies, policy outcomes), transaction cost theory, market-based view, resource-based view, resource-dependence theory

Analysis and Methods

Survey research, descriptive statistics, qualitative and quantitative text/content analysis, cluster analysis, regression models (various)



Supervisor: Professor Alexander Ruser.

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