Interdisciplinary research collaboration creates synergies

With a research project spanning the diverse fields of political science, psychology and organisation, synergies have been created at Aarhus University, spurred on by academic relevance and the urge to research across disciplines.

2014.04.29 | Julia Rolsted Stacey

Before the merger at Aarhus University, three professors initiated a very interesting collaborative project joining the fields of political science, psychology and organisation. The goal was to create a common working ground and carry out an extensive research project together. No one had asked these researchers to get together and write a joint research grant application – but Hans Jeppe Jeppesen from the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, John P. Ulhøi from the Department of Business Administration and Thomas Pallesen from the Department of Political Science and Government did anyway.

“It was the relevance of the academic work and the urge to do interdisciplinary research that prompted us to develop this research grant application entitled ‘The role of leadership in the implementation of major organizational restructuring initiatives at hospitals in Central Denmark’,” explains John Ulhøi.

Collaboration yields better results

The research grant application was accepted, and the three researchers received a substantial grant from the Velux Foundation in 2011 and immediately began preparing a study built on cross-disciplinary and subject-specific hypotheses. 

“In this way we made sure that each researcher’s academic skills were allowed to unfold in the study while keeping focus on the interdisciplinary perspective as well,” emphasises John Ulhøi.

“We create synergies by cooperating and we achieve more by working together, and at the same time we are expanding on the research within each of our specific fields.”

The research project examines the nature of distributed management during the implementation of major organisational changes in hospitals in the Central Denmark Region. Distributed management refers to the interplay between the management team and employee involvement.

John Ulhøi, Thomas Pallesen and Hans Jeppe Jeppesen spent a lot of time and effort on establishing a solid, shared theoretical foundation for their work.

“Our studies are theoretically structured from the bottom up on shared hypotheses and models. Our work is interrelated and the project as a whole is consistent, which is certainly a big advantage,” emphasises John Ulhøi.

“We have already gathered a large amount of data, and we are about to begin our second round of data collection.”

Further information

Professor John Parm Ulhøi
Department of Business Administration
E: jpu@asb.dk
T: +45 8716 5027
M: +45 2618 8329

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