About Focus

About Focus

The FOCUS program explores how new types of organizational solutions can contribute to competitive advantage.

FOCUS was launched as a five-year research program in collaboration with industry partners in 2012. Cross-disciplinary research was conducted on four themes: Internationalization and Integration, Leading Knowledge Workers, Dynamic Control Systems, and Developing Change Capacity.

Current research activities (2015-2018) are organized into two research projects:

  1. ACTION which studies how firms develop and implement more dynamic control systems. Corporate partner: Statoil.
  2. CiBiViCi which studies how firms organize their international activities to create cross-border value creation. Corporate partners are: Deloitte, DNB, Lærdal Medical and Telenor.

FOCUS research is performed in close collaboration with corporate partners. We aim to develop new theories, models and practices that that attend to the increasing pressure of identifying and implementing future-oriented corporate solutions

Program goals:

  • Develop new insights, theories and models on corporate solutions.
  • Establish new arenas for collaboration between academia and practitioners.
  • Produce practically relevant knowledge and publish in top international journals.


This research examines how organizations handle the balance between autonomy and control. While previous research has examined how performance measurement facilitates increased dynamics and a better balance between autonomy and control, ACTION looks more specifically at the role governing documents play in creating a good balance between autonomy and control, which subsequently provides increased efficiency. The research is organized into three sub-projects:

  1. Dynamic Management Control Systems
    In this project we focus specifically on the relationship between the management control system and the manager using the system, for instance issues related to Beyond Budgeting, accountability, learning and reflection.
  2. Change Capacity
    This project examines how first line leaders can contribute in developing capacity for multiple changes, including innovative and more dynamic control systems. Previous research has illustrated how many organizations today implement a number of parallel and overlapping changes, which can create challenges particularly at lower levels in the organization. We identity challenges at the first line level and probe how managers at this level deal with such challenges and take on change agency.
  3. Enterprise Risk Management and Management Control
    In this project we study Enterprise Risk Management as a tool but also as a way of changing mindsets in organizations. Key issues include risk appetite and scenario development.

The research is funded by Statoil and conducted in collaboration with a number of corporate partners as well as academic partnerships (e.g. Stockholm School of Economics).

Cross-border value creation (cibivici)

There are profound developments in Norwegian firm’s international activities. For instance, in the last thirty years, Norwegian manufacturing has changed from being almost solely based in Norway to being engaged in value creating business operations around the world.

This is reflected in a sharp increase in the proportion of employees located abroad, from 9% in 1980 to 64% in 2012.  Regardless of whether the motivation to become a multinational enterprise (MNE) is tied to resource seeking, market seeking, efficiency seeking or strategic asset seeking, the process of internationalization implies that a firm has to confront a set of distinctive challenges, geographical, institutional, cultural and political. MNEs are “playing away from home” and must therefore develop managerial and organizational capabilities that enable them to leverage whatever unique strategic capabilities they possess.

The CiBiViCi program examines four key integrative capabilities:

  1. Overarching integrative capabilities involved in creating appropriate structural, organizational and psychological linkages across geographically dispersed business units
  2. Knowledge sharing capabilities to maximize synergies
  3. Global talent integration capabilities to manage human resources across locations and operations
  4. Boundary spanning capabilities to enhance cooperation across geographically dispersed value chains

Program Leadership

All people at ACTION
All people at CiBiViCi