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Gustaf Kastberg

2016-11-02 08:31

New economics professor to strengthen the research environment


Gustaf Kastberg is a new professor of business administration at the University of Borås. He is an expert on economic management and organisation in the public sector and sees his work at the university as the opportunity to inspire more research in this area.

“The University of Borås is in a dynamic region and this spreads to the academic environment. The university also has good collaborations with external partners, such as Borås City. In addition, I have interested colleagues in my field and a good student base. So it feels good,” he says.

Gustaf Kastberg has, throughout his career, primarily studied economics and organisation in local governments. Above all, he is interested in budgeting and resource allocation.

Facts
Age: Turned 40 last spring
Lives: Varberg
Family: Wife and two kids
Gets angry about: Increased administration (and war of course)
Longs for: I am a new beekeeper so I long for the time after winter when the bees will start flying again (and peace of course)
Favorite app: SR and SMHI
Dream job besides professor: School teacher
Guest at my fictional dream dinner: My nearest and dearest

"I have also done studies based on a business management perspective. They’ve dealt with process management and studies on how market mechanisms have been used to increase effectiveness. Generally, I am interested in the meeting between the social and the complex as well as quantifications of different kinds.”

Researches social investments

Currently, he is participating in two larger research projects. In one, financed by Västra Götaland region, he studies social investment. That means attempts to direct social activities based on investment logic. Is it possible to reduce social exclusion and public interventions over time through taking meaningful and urgent action immediately?

“It deals with, for example, children who leave school without complete qualifications, the cost to society in the future, and if it is possible to see efforts made in school as investments. Can it ultimately pay for itself?”

His research has so far shown that the trend of social investments is spreading, but that it is difficult to make it work in practice.

“It’s a good thought, but when several organisations are supposed to work together with different budgets and competencies, it is a challenge to get it to work,” explains Gustaf Kastberg.

The other project is financed by Forte and the Swedish Research Council and deals with school management. For a long time, local governments and heads of school have attempted to manage schools with tight control, meaning that teachers have had reduced scope to affect and develop their work.

“Everyone seems to want to direct and have influence at the same time. In the study, we assume that this is not without its problems and that the risk is that management initiatives can come into conflict with each other and, in the worst case, lead to worsened school results.”

Sees benefits in smaller institutions of higher learning

Gustaf Kastberg defended his dissertation at the School of Public Administration at the University of Gothenburg within organisation and freedom of choice. In his dissertation, he studied how to determine the price and quality of, for example, in-home care services or school capitation allowance. Afterwards, he worked at Lund University and then the University of Gothenburg once more. Since mid-year, he has been at the University of Borås and sees the advantages of working at a smaller university.

“There is obviously a sense of security and convenience at a large university. But I believe there are greater chances of being able to make a difference and form your own platform at a university college,” he says.

Gustaf Kastberg hopes to be able to contribute to the development and strengthening of the economic environment within the area of business administration. Additionally, he finds teaching rewarding.

“We research in order to have something to teach, some wise person has said. Moreover, you become a good researcher by teaching. I see the research and teaching parts as parts of a whole.”

Fact

The next professorial inauguration will take place on 5 May 2017.

Text: Anna Kjellsson
Photo: Suss Wilén
Translation: Eva Medin