Stockholm university

Ingrid Gustafsson Nordin

About me

Ingrid Gustafsson Nordin is an affiliated researcher at Score (Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research). Her research is focused on questions about responsibility distribution, globalization and various forms of audits. Empirically, she studies the use and vast proliferation of international standards such as ISO 9001. She has published in various outlets such as Organization Theory and Critical Perspectives on Accounting. She is also author of the book How Standards Rule the World. The Construction of a Global Control Regime (Edward Elgar, 2020). 

Gustafsson Nordin did her post-doc at Stanford University 2019-2021. She has also previously been affiliated to Södertörns Högskola, and a visiting PhD student at University of California at Berkeley and Copenhagen Business School. Ingrid Gustafsson Nordin teaches at the Department of Political Sciences and at the Stockholm School of Business (Stockholm University). 


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • ‘Un-responsible’ Organization: How More Organization Produces Less Responsibility

    2022. Nils Brunsson, Ingrid Gustafsson Nordin, Kristina Tamm Hallström. Organization Theory 3 (4)


    As the world becomes more and more organized, it seems ever more difficult to find anyone responsible. Why is that? We argue that the extensive external organization of organizations in contemporary society provides the key. Formal organizations are collective orders with great potential for concentrating responsibility on top managers and the organization. But when they are organized by other organizations, this potential is undermined, and responsibility becomes diluted rather than concentrated. We explain this outcome by analysing the communication of decisions as a main producer of responsibility and by defining organization as a decided order. Our analysis draws upon and contributes to research about partial organization, but it also contributes to literatures on global governance and organizational institutionalism.

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  • Organizing for Independence

    2019. Kristina Tamm Hallström, Ingrid Gustafsson. Organization outside Organizations, 155-176


    In this chapter we investigate how certification and accreditation organizations put much effort in constructing an image of independence for the outside world to see and endorse. It is difficult for an organization to proclaim its own independence; rather, a fundamental way of convincing others of its independence is through entering dependency relationships with other formal organizations that grant the organization independence, like the dubbing of knights. We analyse the character of organizational dependencies with respect to rules, sanctions, hierarchy, monitoring, and membership and conclude that the search for independence result in the addition of elements to elements, driving more and more organization. We discuss how the adding of elements form a complex system of interdependent organizations, which resembles a rational, authoritative Weberian bureaucracy. Although this bureaucratic system may be understood as organization – a decided and systematized order – it is not a discernible entity. It is partial and as such it lacks a central authority to govern and to which an overall responsibility could be ascribed. Paradoxically, the efforts aiming at ensuring independence resulted in the organizations becoming dependent not only on each other, but also on the decided order surrounding them.

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  • Hyper-organized eco-labels – An organization studies perspective on the implications of Tripartite Standards Regimes

    2018. Ingrid Gustafsson, Kristina Tamm Hallström. Food Policy 75, 124-133


    In this article, we analyze the specific tools used to organize global food governance: standards, certification and accreditation, to develop and enhance the discussion regarding Tripartite Standards Regimes (TSR). The dynamics and implications of TSRs are discussed through an in-depth process study of the organization of a Swedish eco-label and the two TSRs of which this labeling organization has been a part of between 1985 and 2016. Using the theoretical concept hyper-organization, the article shows the development of four and five-fold organizational layers of control. Two implications of the hyper-organized TSRs are highlighted: (1) Public authorities play a much greater part in global food governance than previous research has acknowledged. The role of the state, in turn, has implications for how legitimacy and responsibility are sought. (2) In the complex organization of standards, certification and accreditation, responsibility is diffused and very hard to locate. Surprisingly, as the role of public authorities in TSRs becomes clearer and more articulate, the system grows more complex, making responsibility even harder to locate.

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  • Markets, Trust, and the Construction of Macro-Organizations

    2018. Nils Brunsson, Ingrid Gustafsson, Kristina Tamm Hallström. Organizing and Reorganizing Markets, 136-152


    How can buyers know what they are buying? In many markets this is no trivial problem, particularly for ambitious, contemporary consumers who care about the way a product has been produced and its effects on health or the physical environment. Buyers have little choice but to trust sellers’ descriptions of the origins and effects of the product, which, in turn, evokes the question of how the buyers can trust the sellers. We describe how the problem of trust has justified the production of new formal organizations, such as certification organizations, accreditation organizations, meta-organizations for the accreditation organizations, and meta-meta-organizations for these meta-organizations. In order to create trust in organizations at one level, a new level of organizations has been created for monitoring the lower level. We argue that such a ‘macro-organization’ is unlikely to represent a stable solution, but has inherent tendencies for further growth.

    Read more about Markets, Trust, and the Construction of Macro-Organizations
  • The Certification Paradox: Monitoring as a Solution and a Problem

    2013. Ingrid Gustafsson, Kristina Tamm Hallström. Trust and Organizations, 91-109


    In Egels-Zandén’s chapter we could see how multinational shoe companies work in order to create trust in their brands by using a process logic framework in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. In other words, the companies and their suppliers undertake a dialogue and negotiate with the actors within civil society as to a reasonable interpretation of the freedom of association. This example indicates that confidence has become all the more important in today’s market exchange. It is no longer sufficient to offer products and services of high quality at a reasonable price but, instead, it has also become important to, as a producer, be transparent and open for dialogue. One must be able to demonstrate that the production process has been conducted in an acceptable manner, in terms of specific values, such as sustainability, the work environment, and human rights. If consumers, civil society actors, and journalists discover that a company has used child labor, harmful chemicals, or has denied its employees acceptable working conditions, there is a high risk that the company will be criticized in the media, which, in turn, can seriously damage its reputation and the possibility of market survival.

    Read more about The Certification Paradox

Show all publications by Ingrid Gustafsson Nordin at Stockholm University