Chance and luck gave me an opening job with the building contractor Skanska in Ethiopia in 1971 and 1972. The experience of being in Ethiopia on the brink of revolution stimulated an interest in development issues that have been with me since. Several years later I was working for the UNDP in Tanzania, which provoked an equally keen interest in matters of organisation, governance and management. It is at the converging point of these two fields of study that I have my education, my professional experience and my broad interest as a researcher and consultant. I took a first degree in business administration and economics at the Stockholm School of Economics, following which I became research associate at the Institute of International Business. While pursuing research in evaluationsystems, I was teaching scientific method, as well as international management. My Ph.D. work on planning and evaluation was published in 1985.
A formative period in my professional life was a year spent at the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania, where I followed a programme in Social Systems Sciences. The approach to interdisciplinary research taught there, its sharp focus on systems properties, and practical training in holistic approaches have been ideals for me since then. The social systems sciences programme gave me an interest in large, messy and unstructured problems, which remains.
The core of my professional interests lie in evaluation research, that is, in the study of evaluation processes, in finding solutions to evaluation questions, and in developing sound methods of evaluation. But evaluation is part of larger organisational processes; such as creating legitimacy, boundary management, organisational learning, management, control and governance. In pursuit of evaluation, I have also come to read on, think about and work with these areas.
I have mainly applied knowledge in evaluation and organisation to development cooperation. It is the process of cooperation as such, with its structures of governance, accountability, learning and control that have been at the centre of my interest, and where I have worked, for example through appointment to Parliamentary Commissions, to board work in the Swedish aid community, as well as consultancy assignments in Sweden and abroad. These have covered both bilateral and multilateral development cooperation, but on balance I have spent more time on the international organisations, including reform and organisational change in complex systems such as the UN agencies.
Even though international cooperation is at the centre, I have worked in many other sectors, as in the music industry, on museums and cultural policy, public health organisations, defence and several other fields of public administration and research.