Annika Engström

Assistant Professor Work Organisation
Doctor of Philosophy


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Annika Engström's research interests include the importance of interaction and communication for task management, effectiveness and learning in groups and organizations. Her interest lies is in leading and organizing interpersonal communication to deal with conflicting logics in the organization, where discrepancies cause tensions that may be challenging to deal with. This can include development versus execution, existing versus new knowledge, stability versus change and standardization versus variation in work processes as well as in customer order based offerings. Work meetings are of special interests. Paradox thinking and the concept of ambidexterity is often used as a theoretical lens in her research.

Previous research projects, InPot, focused on leaders' utilization of innovation potentials in managers day-to-day work in lean-inspired industrial companies. She also led the research project, Innovate, which together with four other researchers and six manufacturing companies, investigated organizational ambidexterity, the art of balancing management of what is already planned while the organization manages to be innovative and development-oriented. She has participated in the research project The Whispering Game and studied communication and information flow in customization settings in industrial companies. Annika also participates in the research group for Lifelong Learning, with a focus on school principals' work and the school as a learning organization.

Today, her research is conducted mainly in the newly started multidisciplinary research profile AFAIR, where Annika is a member of the steering group as well as the management group and she leads one of the projects in the research area of AI transformation. The research is close to practice and carried out in close collaboration with organizations in both the private and public sectors. Knowledge creation between researchers and practitioners is central.


Annika was born in 1964 in Kiruna. She graduated as a counsellor in 1989 and came to Jönköping in 1990 where she took her Master's degree in Education. Annika has, alongside counselling, devoted herself to teaching and coaching in communication skills, counselling and coaching at the University of Umeå and at Jönköping University as well as a consultant in her own company. Since 2006 Annika Engström she is working as a lecturer at JTH, where she teaches courses in communication, leadership, change management and organizational development. Annika has over the years at JTH held various positions as coordinator, program manager and as part of the department management team. In June 2014, Annika defended her thesis Learning Interaction for Effectiveness. A study of work groups in a medium-sized industry at Helix and the Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning at Linköping University, which got rewarded as best HR research 2015. Today Annika's is leading several research projects and have been rewarded for SPARK Award in both 2018 and 2021. 


Sollander, K., Engström, A. (2021). Unplanned managerial work: an ambidextrous learning potential Studies in Continuing Education.
Engström, A., Käkelä, N. (2019). Early steps in learning about organizational learning in customization settings: A communication perspective Learning Organization, 26(1), 27-43.
Bjursell, C., Engström, A. (2019). A Lewinian approach to managing barriers to university–industry collaboration Higher Education Policy, 32(1), 129-148.
Engström, A. (2016). Arbetsmöten: Arenor för samspel och lärande Pedagogisk forskning i Sverige, 21(3-4), 283-305.


Engström, A., Lundin, M. (2018). Personalvetenskapliga perspektiv på kommunikation. Stockholm: Liber

Book chapter

Bjursell, C., Engström, A. (2020). Horizontal structures – A fundamental but forgotten perspective for superintendents in school governance?. In: L. Moos, E. Nihlfors, & J. M. Paulsen (Ed.), Re-centering the critical potential of Nordic school leadership research: Fundamental, but often forgotten perspectives (pp. 107 -125). Cham: Springer
Engström, A. (2019). Effective interaction in organisations. In: H. Ahl, I. Bergmo Prvulovic & K. Kilhammar (Ed.), Human resource management: A Nordic perspective (pp. 30 -41). London, UK: Routledge
Engström, A. (2017). Effektivt samspel i organisationer. In: Helene Ahl, Ingela Bergmo Prvulovic & Karin Kilhammar (Ed.), HR: Att ta tillvara mänskliga resurser (pp. 45 -58). Lund: Studentlitteratur AB

Conference paper

Bäckstrand, J., Engström, A. (2019). Engagement and co-creation of knowledge – the important role of workshops for data collection and analysis. 6th International EurOMA Sustainable Operations and Supply Chains Forum, Gothenburg, Sweden, 18-19 March, 2019.
Bjursell, C., Engström, A. (2019). Horizontal structures – A fundamental and forgotten perspective in school governance?. International Symposium at the Danish School of Education (DPU) in Copenhagen 10-11 October 2019: Fundamental but often forgotten perspectives on/in school and leadership..
Engström, A., Barry, D., Sollander, K., Edh Mirzaei, N., Johansson, A. (2019). Embracing the unplanned: Organizational ambidexterity within manufacturing SMEs. 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) 2019, August 9-13, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Engström, A., Käkelä, N. (2018). Learning to make a difference in customization settings. Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities OLKC 2018, 26th - 28th April, 2018, Liverpool, UK.
Sollander, K., Engström, A., Wikner, J. (2018). A framework for task-based ambidexterity in manufacturing SMEs. Cham: Springer, IFIP WG 5.7 International Conference, APMS 2018, Seoul, Korea, August 26-30, 2018.
Engström, A., Wikner, J. (2017). Identifying scenarios for ambidextrous learning in a decoupling thinking context. IFIP WG 5.7 International Conference, APMS 2017, Hamburg, September 3-7, 2017..
Engström, A., Johansson, A. (2017). Working meetings and inspiration for learning. 11th Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities conference (OLKC), Valladolid, April 26 - 28, 2017..
Engström, A. (2017). Effectiveness in meetings. Groups dealing with ambidexterity dilemma. Paper presented at the INGroup, Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research, Twelfth Annual Conference in St Louis, Missouri, USA.
Bäckstrand, J., Engström, A. (2017). Overcoming Contradictions through Cross-functional Integration in an ETO-context. 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Atlanta, August 4-8, 2017..
Elvnäs, S., Engström, A., Carter, N. (2017). Leading production and innovation. Turku: University of Turku, WORK2017, Work and Labour in the Digital Future, 16-18 August 2017 Turku, Finland.
Käkelä, N., Bäckstrand, J., Engström, A. (2017). Viskleken. 17th Research and Application Conference on Logistics and Operations Management [PLANs forsknings- och tillämpningskonferens], Chalmers, Göteborg, 25-26 October 2017.
Bjursell, C., Engström, A. (2016). Barriers to managing knowledge and learning in university: Industry cooperation. 16th European Academy of Management (EURAM) Annual Conference, Paris, 1-4 June, 2016.
Johansson, A., Engström, A., McKelvie, A. (2016). An In-depth Investigation of Employee-driven Innovation. 36th Babson College Entrepreneurship Conference.
Johansson, A., Engström, A. (2016). Effectual learning in SME’s – activities promoting transformation in place of frustration. Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange Conference (ACERE) 2016, 2–5 February 2016, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Bäckstrand, J., Engström, A. (2016). The lead time tree as a boundary object for developmental learning and improved conditions for purchasers. 5th World Conference on Production and Operation Management, P&OM, Havana, September 6-10, 2016..
Engström, A. (2011). Teams effectiveness in small medium sized manufacturing company. OLKC 2011 Doctoral Consortium.

Doctoral thesis

Engström, A. (2014). Lärande samspel för effektivitet: En studie av arbetsgrupper i ett mindre industriföretag (Doctoral thesis, Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press).

Other publications

Bjursell, C., Engström, A. (2020). Reflektioner om distansmöten [Text och video].
Mgruppen Svenska Managementgruppen AB, .. (2020). HR-organisationens kommunikation & mötesexperter: Intervju med Annika Engström. Stockholm: Mgruppen Svenska Managementgruppen AB
Engström, A., Bjursell, C. (2020). Lärande under pandemin [Video].


Käkelä, N., Engström, A., Lennartsson, M., Bäckstrand, J. (2020). Viskleken: Samlade lärdomar från ett kollaborativt forskningsprojekt. Jönköping: Tekniska högskolan i Jönköping
Engström, A. (2007). Påverkansprocesser i vuxnas lärande: kritiska händelser i en reflektionsgrupp. Jönköping: Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation/Encell