Roland Almqvist

Roland Almqvist


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Works at Stockholm Business School
Telephone 08-16 12 89
Visiting address Kräftriket hus 24 Roslagsvägen 101
Room 44
Postal address Företagsekonomiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Roland Almqvist is Professor at Stockholm Business School (SBS), Stockholm University. He is teaching in accounting and management accounting at bachelor and master levels and he is also supervising doctoral students within the institutions doctoral program. Roland's research has mainly been oriented towards management control in the public sector with a special focus on the outcomes of New Public Management in public sector organizations. Rolands current research is focusing on the next phase in public sector management control and is exploring the question "what will come after the New Public Management?". His research has resulted in book publications and articles in journal such as Public Administration, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal and Critical Perspecitves on Accounting.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Ulf Johanson, Roland Almqvist, Matti Skoog. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management 31 (3), 309-324

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to further develop a conceptual framework for analysing performance management systems (PMS). The framework aims to be useful for a rich understanding of a specific organisation’s PMS. At the same time, it should preferable be simple so that it could be used even in practice. The framework adds to earlier work by Malmi and Brown (2008), Ferreira and Otley (2009), Broadbent and Laughlin (2009), Bedford and Malmi (2015) and Johanson et al. (2001).

    Design/methodology/approach – The paper is theoretical but has also been applied to a Swedish municipality. The purpose of the latter was to understand if the framework is feasible so far.

    Findings – The authors hold that the framework in its present form is useful to use as an analytical tool even if it needs to be subjected to further development.

    Research limitations/implications – The paper addresses an issue that is continuously changing. This means that the suggested framework may suffer from theoretical weaknesses in some respects. To balance between a theoretically deep and exhaustive framework and a framework that is simple enough to use is a tricky question that needs further investigation.

    Practical implications – The ambition with the framework is that it shall be useful even in practice.

    Originality/value – The need for further research in the PMS area has been emphasised by the above researcher but also by, e.g., Van Helden and Reichard (2016). They hold that the authors need rich European cases to improve the understanding of how PMS works. The authors hold that the present framework has the potential to meet the demands from Van Helden and Reichard.

  • 2019. Nils Kvilvang, Erik Bjurström, Roland Almqvist. Policy Studies

    This study found that the problem-solving capacity of a public organization can be understood in terms of the legitimacy of the formulated problems and solutions. Increasing the problem-solving capacity depends on not only the acceptance of problems and how to solve them but also on formal structures and processes. Sensemaking and framing are important keys to unlocking how legitimacy is built, and consequently, how problem-solving capacity is built in a complex organization. We contend that although governance theory recognizes complexity through concepts such as networks and multi-levelness, empirical research tends to downplay what complexity can entail, thus limiting the theoretical development and practical usability of governance theory. Using complexity as a sensemaking framework, we analyze how the top-tier managers of a capital understand the challenges and solutions of coping with rapid growth. We argue that although complexity theory is no panacea to unlocking the difficulties of public sector challenges, it can be a valuable guide to future research on governance.

  • 2018. Roland Almqvist, Niklas Wällstedt.
  • 2018. Roland Almqvist (et al.).
  • 2018. Roland Almqvist, Johan Graaf, Anders Parment.
  • 2018. Sara Brorström (et al.). Public Money & Management 38 (3), 193-202

    This paper shows how sustainable and smart strategies can be implemented in cities and how these strategies influence, and are influenced by, performance measurement systems. Drawing upon the Foucauldian notion of governmentality, the authors present the case of Gothenburg in Sweden, where they interviewed the key actors involved in a new sustainability strategy. Translating strategy into performance measurement systems requires collaboration across organizational boundaries and considerations of financial goals and social and human aspects.

  • 2017. Niklas Wällstedt, Roland Almqvist. Public Management Review 19 (7), 1022-1045

    Budgeting has endured changes in management ideals, because it supports an instrumental rationality in which organizations should use their own resources to produce their own results. Budgeting depends on and enforces traditional and transactional systems based on predefined entities, such as single-purpose organizations and measurable outputs. This study investigates this issue and asks what types of entities budgeting needs, and where and when these entities can be negotiated and reconstructed. This study shows that budgeting and its reinforcement of traditional and transactional systems makes it difficult to proceed towards new management ideals based on cooperation, sharing, and responsiveness.

  • 2017. Niklas Wällstedt, Roland Almqvist. Governmental Financial Resilience, 187-205

    In this chapter, the development of financial sustainability and resilience in Swedish local governments is analysed. We analyse four Swedish municipalities, where we have interviewed top managers and co-workers. As a complement, we have examined the municipalities’ strategic plans, budget documents and annual reports. We also contextualise this analysis with other findings from local government research during this time, as well as with central government initiatives. In summary, we examine why Swedish municipalities in general remained strong after the financial crisis by showing how they strengthened their anticipatory and coping capacities over time – something that, in the cases of this chapter, was achieved before the 2008/2009 crisis in response to previous crises, rather than because of it. We also show that this is not the only reason. As Swedish finances were comparatively stable, and the problems of the banking sector relatively small, the financial shocks to the municipalities could be overcome relatively easily.

  • 2017. Roland Almqvist (et al.).
  • Conference Smart cities
    2017. Sara Brorström (et al.).
  • 2016. Ulf Johanson, Roland Almqvist.
  • 2016. Sara Brorström (et al.).

    Urbanisation is a global challenge where urban areas are growing while other areas shrink their population. The challenges that arise with a globalised world affect city development practises (Vallance et al., 2012; Giffinger et al., 2007) and have implications for management and of cities around the world (Lombardi et al, 2011; Kreuger and Gibbs, 2010). Urbanisation has lately enriched the focus on sustainability, innovation and performance (e.g. Metzger and Rader-Olsson, 2013). These changes and new challenges for public organizations have also entailed collaborative urban governance, where public organizations carry out practices together with private and non-profit organization. Swedish cities have a strong tradition of self-government, something that could imply differences between them in relation to management and performance. In large cities there is a new strive for innovation, which is a means of both becoming more flexible to new solutions where change can be implemented faster but also something described as a necessity based on the challenges the cities now face (Bartlett and Dibben, 2002). The aim of the paper is to increase our understanding regarding urban development and be able to support civil servants and politicians in local governments in their work with sustainable urban development. In particular, we aim to investigate how sustainable and smart strategies are implemented in a Swedish city and how they are influencing performance measurement systems.

    In this paper we use the notion of governmentality of Foucault (1991) to explain the how sustainable and smart strategies are implemented as it is based on three developments (Ferlie and Ongaro, 2015): calculative technology sponsored by the government center; government fragments into a collection of indirect and hybrid organizations; and to new identity shifts and values characteristic Foucauldian analyses.This paper consists of qualitative data from the city of Gothenburg where interviews have been carried out with key actors involved in the implementation phase of a sustainable and smart strategy. Our intention is also to, in the next steps, include data from other large Swedish cities such as Stockholm, Malmö and Helsingborg.

  • 2015. Niklas Wällstedt, Roland Almqvist. Offentlig Förvaltning. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration 19 (2), 7-25

    This article explores the next phase of public management: the era of paradox. As new public management (NPM) policies and practices were shown to be inadequate to solve the problems of public management, they began to be complemented – rather than replaced – with new reforms and practices. These reforms and practices are often contradictory to existing ones, leaving managers in a difficult position. By extending the debate about contradictions and paradox from the policy level to the organisational level, we show how public sector managers work to resolve these contradictions in a situated manner, keeping the contradictions alive rather than resolving them permanently.

  • 2015. Johan Henningsson, Ulf Johanson, Roland Almqvist. Qualitative Research in Financial Markets 7 (4), 346-362

    Purpose – This study aims to explore fund manager use of trust to reduce information complexity concerning corporate intangible resources and sustainability and what consequences this have for corporates as providers of information. Analytically, fund managers are considered part of a system with social meaning. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative research approach is used. Data are obtained from two focus group discussions that occurred on two separate occasions. The first discussion was between four communications executives at leading Swedish companies. The second discussion was between four experienced fund managers in the Swedish financial market. Findings – The results suggest that fund managers oscillate between exhibiting trust and distrust when reducing the complexity of information on intangible resources and sustainability. Fund managers tend to trust the stable context of company information and strive to trust top management. Communicative dilemmas emerge when fund managers oscillate between trust and distrust. The fund manager disinterest in details emerges because of a reliance on a stable information context and company management. The representation dilemma emerges when narratives are used in corporate reporting. Research limitations/implications – This study contributes empirically to the knowledge concerning the social complexity of fund management. Practical implications – The paper increases the understanding of communicative difficulties for corporates to communicate with actors on the financial markets through narratives on intangible resources and sustainability. Originality/value – By focusing on the social meaning in the communication between companies and financial markets, we have contrasted the dominant view of financial economics of financial market actors as rational agents and the individualistic mode of theorizing in accordance with rational choice theory.

  • 2014. Roland Almqvist, Bino Catasús, Niklas Wällstedt. Organisation & Samhälle (2), 50-53
  • 2014. Niklas Wällstedt, Giuseppe Grossi, Roland Almqvist. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management 26 (1), 181-218
  • 2013. Roland Almqvist, Niklas Wällstedt.

    Kontinuerlig effektivitet, god ekonomisk hushållning samt styrning och ledningär ord som alla som arbetar i, eller företräder en kommun, måste taställning till mer eller mindre dagligen och väl fungerande styrmodeller harvarit prioritet åtminstone sedan mitten av 90-talet i många kommuner eftersomde setts som en förutsättning för att hantera besvärliga situationer. Samtidigthar detta inte skett utan problem vilket innebär att implementeringoch användning av ett nytt styrsystem kan innebära en besvärlig situation isig. Denna rapport behandlar främst olika styrsystems egenskaper och hurdessa egenskaper påverkar en kommunal organisations kapacitet att hanterabesvärliga situationer, vilka egenskaper som underminerar samma kapacitetmen också hur olika rationaliteter inom samma system skapar problem ochförutsättningar för varandra. Kort sagt handlar denna rapport om hur organisationerkan styras genom besvärliga situationer, inklusive de situationer somuppkommer genom styrsystemet självt.Utgångspunkten för rapporten är att styrsystemet är till för att få alla iorganisationen att dra åt samma håll men att detta försvåras av den diversifieradekommunala organisationen där en mängd underorganisationer,funktioner och yrkesgrupper ska koordineras för bästa möjliga måluppfyllelse.Rapporten utgår också från de svårbrutna traditioner som finns inomdessa väl etablerade underorganisationer, funktioner och grupperingar därnya sätt att värdera och skapa värde i organisationen ofta möts av motståndfrån de som har ett mer traditionellt förhållningssätt, dels till styrning ochförvaltning av organisationen, men också till hur kommunal service skallproduceras på ett professionellt sätt. För att bryta eller, i vissa fall, dra nyttaav dessa traditioner behöver ett styrsystem fånga upp och kommunicera devärden som den kommunala organisationen står för. Det traditionella systemetbehöver alltså kompletteras med andra typer av infallsvinklar för attkunna utvecklas och förbättras. Här tar rapporten hjälp av Broadbent ochLaughlins (2009) ramverk, som lyfter fram två generella sätt att närma sigproblematiken med traditionella system i en organisation. Genom att följaBroadbent och Laughlin, argumenterar vi för att ett styrsystem, förutom att vara traditionellt, antingen kan vara transaktionellt, d v s underbyggt av eninstrumentell rationalitet, eller relationellt, d v s underbyggt av en kommunikativrationalitet. Vi argumenterar också för att det är genom att balanseradessa rationaliteter och vara medveten om dess styrkor och svagheter somett styrsystem kan användas för att fånga upp och identifiera de största utmaningarna– den grundläggande förutsättningen för att framgångsrikt styrasig igenom dem. Det är när rationaliter och systemtyper möts och utvecklarvarandra som styrsystem stöter på dessa utmaningar, där dilemman och paradoxeruppstår, men det är också i dessa möten som styrsystem kan uppnå sinfulla potential.Målet med rapporten är att ge kommunerna ytterligare verktyg för attskapa väl fungerande styrsystem som kan användas för att styra sig igenombesvärliga situationer. Rapportens ramverk lägger grunden för en diskussionom vilka problem som kan tänkas uppstå i designen av ett styrsystem, mendet ger också en del svar på vilka lösningar som kan vara viktiga givet dettänkesätt som genomsyrar en organisation. Detta görs genom att analyseraempiri från tre kommuner som ingår i det nationella kommunforskningsprogrammetför att påvisa vilka konsekvenser de traditionella, transaktionellaoch relationella egenskaperna kan få för styrsystemets funktion och kapacitetatt hantera besvärliga situationer och skapa värde.

  • 2013. Roland Almqvist, Niklas Wällstedt. Management, 203-230
  • 2013. Roland Almqvist, Niklas Wällstedt. Kommunal Ekonomi (4), 25-26
  • 2013. Roland Almqvist (et al.). Critical Perspectives on Accounting 24 (7-8), 479-487
  • 2012. Roland Almqvist (et al.).
  • Chapter Ekonomistyrning
    2011. Roland Almqvist, Maria Mårtensson. Ledning av företag och förvaltningar, 87-115
  • 2011. Roland Almqvist, Bino Catasús, Matti Skoog. International Journal of Public Sector Management 24 (2), 122-145

    Purpose – This paper aims to present an empirical case where fundamental changes in the environment have forced an organization to re‐evaluate its management control systems and possibly search for destabilizing supporting routines in order to unlearn the established ways of measuring and controlling within the organization. The problem, however, is that organizational technologies often work in the other direction, i.e. they promote stability in organizational routines. The paper seeks to increase understanding regarding the importance of destabilizing, or, as the authors like to call them, sensebreaking activities within organizations that are present in rapidly changing environments.

    Design/methodology/approach – The authors used multiple sources and multiple techniques to collect data; interviews with managers, participation in meetings, and document analysis such as annual reports, pamphlets, speeches and Swedish Armed Forces's (SAF's) web site.

    Findings – The study is clearly presented in a design‐oriented way. The benefits, however, are that it illustrates that the available models take for granted that the organization has a mission that is accepted. When the mission is debated, the focus and practice of management control falls into pieces. Also, when the ontology of the organization is debated, flexibility does not suffice. The proposition is that it is through sensebreaking that a reflective position may be held. That is, a position where everything may be questioned and that this questioning never stops.

    Originality/value – The study of the SAF could probably be labeled a study of an extreme case. Extreme cases facilitate theory building because the dynamics being examined tend to be more visible than they might be in other contexts. The caveat, however, is that this particular case study risks becoming anecdotal since the SAF is, per definition, one of a kind. The paper's argument, however, is that the SAF acts as an illustration of the limits (and possibilities) of management control theory and how it is framed as a technology in a milieu that is neither relatively stable nor stable, but rather under extraordinary pressure for change.

  • 2010. Roland Almqvist, Bino Catasús, Matti Skoog.
  • 2010. B Brorström (et al.).
  • 2010. Roland Almqvist (et al.).
  • 2010. Roland Almqvist, Giuseppe Grossi, Niklas Wällstedt.
  • 2010. Roland Almqvist, J Henningsson, U Johanson.
  • 2009. Ulf Johansson (et al.). Journal of Intellectual Capital 10 (4), 520-538

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight how, and why, some small and medium-sized high-tech Japanese firms apply and assess the “intellectual asset-based management” (IAbM) guidelines issued by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in October 2005.Design/methodology/approach – This is an interpretive case study linking semi-structured interview and document data from four Japanese firms that have issued IAbM reports containing ideas about the processes of creating knowledge and routines in their organizations.Findings – The findings indicate that the firms studied essentially follow the guidelines, although pinpointing how this affects their internal management is difficult. The IAbM report is primarily used for external communication, with the capital market and with existing and potential customers.Practical implications – The practical implications found in this paper relate mainly to the four challenges found already in research by Johanson, i.e. uniqueness versus comparability, confidentiality versus accountability, market communication and management control.Originality/value – The unique features of this paper are found mainly in the empirical parts, where the guidelines and the sample of small and medium-sized Japanese firms form an interesting and seldom used empirical point of departure. The findings concerning actual use and interpretation of a guideline could also, of course, be regarded as a distinctive aspect of this paper.

  • 2009. Ernst Jonsson, Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg.
  • 2009. Almqvist Roland, J Henningsson. Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting. 13 (1), 46-60
  • 2008. Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg. Ekonomistyrning (1)
  • 2008. Roland Almqvist. 31th annual congress of the European Accounting Association, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 23 – 25 April.
  • 2008. Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg. The Finnish journal of Local Government Studies 36 (2), 181-199
  • 2007. Roland Almqvist. 30th annual congress of the European Accounting Association, Lisbon, Portugal 25 – 27 April
  • 2007. Roland Almqvist, Matti Skoog. Intellectual Capital Revisited:
  • 2007. Roland Almqvist. 30th annual congress of the European Accounting Association, Lisbon, Portugal 25 – 27 April
  • 2007. Roland Almqvist. Health and Management Control
  • 2007. Roland Almqvist.
  • 2007. Roland Almqvist, Högberg Olle.
  • 2007. Roland Almqvist (et al.). The 3rd Workshop on Visualising, Measuring and Managing Intangibles and Intellectual Capital, Ferrara 29 – 31 October.  
  • 2006. Ulf Johansson (et al.). Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal 19 (6), 842-857

    Purpose– The aim of this paper is to debate various critical issues in the implementation and use of the balanced scorecard (BSC) as a management control tool. Because there is no self‐evident solution to these critical issues, they are termed dilemmas.Design/methodology/approach– The paper contributes to the BSC debate by collecting insights from empirical findings, as well as exploring various theoretical aspects.Findings– After presenting four perceived dilemmas and how they affect the implementation and use of the BSC in various settings, the paper concludes that there is a need for further debate and research on these dilemmas.Research limitations/implications– The paper is primarily a contribution to the debate concerning the balanced scorecard and its range of application as a management control model.Practical implications– The paper is motivated by an overall high rate of implementation failure in various practical settings.Originality/value– Some of the problems described have been debated before, whereas others are new. However, there has been hardly any discussion of the dilemmas in conjunction with one another. The paper is an attempt to generate important new questions about the future implementation and use of the BSC.

  • 2006. Roland Almqvist, Matti Skoog. Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting 10 (3), 132-154

    Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to clarify ongoing transformations in an organisation's management control systems (MCSs) by investigating the nature and emergence of internal change mechanisms. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses an inductive methodological approach. Data were obtained from focused interviews with managers at different levels in one public and one private Swedish organisation. Various internal and external documents were also analysed. Findings – The findings indicate that one starting point for achieving continuous MCS transformation in organisations is to select specific transformation mechanisms. These mechanisms appear capable of linking various aspects of organisational time and place, and turning general expectations of continuous change into coordinated action through accountability and organisational learning. Research limitations/implications – The study focuses on enablers rather than barriers in MCS transformation processes. Selection of the specific organisations studied was based partly on how well established their practices were in relation to new MCS aspects. Originality/value – The approach of the paper, which goes beyond a rational outcome orientation, focuses on internal mechanisms of change that contribute to an understanding of how and why MCS become dynamic in effect.

  • 2006. Roland Almqvist, Matti Skoog. Human Resource Costing and Accounting Network, the 5th International Conference in Stockholm. 
  • 2006. Roland Almqvist, Matti Skoog. 4th International Conference on Accounting, Auditing and Management in Public Sector Reforms, Siena 7 – 9 September
  • 2006. Roland Almqvist.
  • 2006. Roland Almqvist (et al.). 2nd Workshop on Visualising, Measuring and Managing Intangibles and Intellectual Capital, Maastricht 25 – 27 October
  • 2005. Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg. Kommunal Ekonomi och Politik 9 (2), 7-36
  • 2005. Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg. 28th annual congress of the European Accounting Association, Gothenburg, Sweden 18 – 20 May. 
  • 2005. Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg. The challenge of public-private partnerships
  • 2004. Matti Skoog, Roland Almqvist, Anders Grönlund.
  • 2004. Roland Almqvist. Kommunal ekonomi och politik 8 (4), 7-24
  • 2003. Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg. Kommunal ekonomi och politik 7 (3), 7-45
  • 2001. Roland Almqvist. Public Administration - an international quarterly 79 (3), 689-706
  • 2001. Roland Almqvist.
  • 2001. Roland Almqvist, Olle Högberg.
  • 2001. Roland Almqvist, Ernst Jonsson.
Show all publications by Roland Almqvist at Stockholm University

Last updated: September 23, 2020

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