Category Archives: Uncategorised

Sexual Harassment, Harassment and Victimisation in Academia

I remember very well one of my first conferences abroad as a PhD. student. We were socialising in a pub and meeting researchers from all over the world. My colleague and I were introduced by my supervisor to a male professor. He looked at us briefly and exclaimed something like:

I can fully understand why you chose these two as your new PhD students.

*lol*

Their breasts are great!


I can still remember how extremely painful the situation was. I was completely shocked and did not react at all. And neither did my colleagues. I strongly felt that I did not belong in academia, and that this was obvious from the comment. I so wish I could say that I said something clever, and that I walked out of the situation strong etc. That did not happen at all. I felt like such an outsider and the comment rested with me the whole conference.

Until very recently little has been known about sexual harassment, harassment and victimisation in academia. But now one of the well known Swedish universities has done a study to understand the occurrence of sexual harassment, harassment and victimisation in academia. Recently they presented a report around the topic that is based on questionnaire, interview and focus group data from employees, doctoral students and students. In total, 61 interviews and 21 focus groups were
completed, and the surcey was sent to all employees, doctoral students and students who were registered for the autumn of 2018. The response rate was 34% for employees and doctoral students, and 32% for students.

The report can be downloaded from Tellus’ blog.
In Swedish: https://tellus.blogg.lu.se/lunds-universitet-starker-det-forebyggande-arbetet-mot-sexuella-trakasserier-med-stod-i-kunskapsunderlaget-fran-tellus/
In English: https://tellus-eng.blogg.lu.se/the-report-from-tellus-is-published/

From the report: “Amongst employees and doctoral students, 25% of women and 7% of men state that they have been subjected to sexual harassment at some point during their employment at Lund University. 8% of female respondents stated that this had occurred in the last 12 months; the corresponding figure for men was 3%.”

Robots should not reproduce our mistakes – teaching about equal opportunities and AI

I was an invited lecturer to the introductory course for Technical Mathematicians at the Royal Institute of Technology a few weeks back. The students were really great, and thet had really many interesting view points and reflections related to Equal Opportunities. It was indeed a well worth effort to go to Stockholm and to meet them and to discuss this with them!

We did the course as a flipped classroom experience where the students watched three TED talks before the lecture, and we discussed these during the lecture – and of course other things. One of the TED talks posts was on how to keep human bias out of AI, by Kriti Sharma and the students very much appreciated this.

I think many people have the image that AI is neutral, and that it is disconnected from equal opportunities. Unfortunately this is not true, and AI can indeed be carriers of strong bias. Or as in the below Ted talk where Kriti Shama concludes that the “Poor robots suffer from sexism”, and that the newest technologies are created to reflect a society that is strongly biased.

Robots should not reproduce our mistakes and we need to be careful when launching AI systems in decision making. The problem basically lies in the material that we provide robots with, and how diverse that material is or isn’t. Also there is sexism in what the robots do, and helpful robots that support us are for example often women.

Of course Kriti Shama’s TED talk also provides some ways forwards. Her conclusion is that we should be  

1) Be aware about the biases around us .

2) Give diverse experiences to learn from

3) Make diverse teams build the technologies

Doing Expert Evaluations for Positions at Other Universities – some tips from an equal opportunities perspective

As a professor I am asked many times per year to do expert evaluations for other universities. I honestly think that I also get more of these because I am a woman in a female dominated field. The universities need one woman and one man to do this job, and there are indeed fewer women than men in computer science.

These expert evaluations are of different kinds but for example they include rankings of candidates for a position at another university, or assessing weather someone can be promoted to professor, lecturer etc. I also very often do assessments of teaching skills, and I have spent many weeks of work on that over the years.

Below are some of the ideas that I think are crucial when doing these expert evaluations from an equal opportunities perspective:

Transparency about evaluation criteria used. When doing these assessments I work a lot on being transparent about the assessment criteria. I spend many hours working on describing on what bases the ranking is done. I also know that this is one way for all of us to avoid being too biased in our assessments which makes this part even more important. The criteria for rankings are found in the official employment documents of the university.

Writing to a Respected Colleague. I always imagine that the person I evaluate is a respected colleague of mine. This makes me very aware of the phrasings and also of how critical I am. I know that everyone is struggling and trying their very best given their circumstances and they will read what I write very carefully. I am especially careful when I write negative comments.

Follow the evaluation criteria to the detail. I make use of my evaluation criteria in every detail when I describe the work that has been done and try to structure the report according to the criteria so that it becomes transparent.

Try to be aware of biases. We are all biased in our thinking, and in all evaluations we need to try to be non biased. I go though my assessments one or two extra times before submitting with the bias glasses on thinking of those aspects that I have learned are often biased. I am especially aware when I asses independence, leadership skills and potential future.

Kicking off the Semester with Family Turbulence and No Blogging

I haven’t had the energy to blog in a while, but now I will try to get my routine back again and write something every week. It’s been a turbulent start of the semester. The first week I was ill with fever and a cold. I spent the week separated from the family in our small house in the garden to make sure that everyone else stayed healthy. The Covid-19 test I took was negative, and I am happy about that. Not that I expected it to be positive since I hadn’t met anyone with the decease, but you can never be totally sure not to get it I guess.

The third week of work started with 24 hours in the children’s hospital. One of my teenage sons had strong chest pains for around 8 hours before it disappeared. I got less than two hours of sleep in 24 hours, and was really extremely worried. It looked like an heart muscle inflammation, but in the end they didn’t really find any problem. I am so grateful for the very professional care he received, and the constant surveillance they put him under. The health care professionals did all tests imaginable dressed up in their Covid-19 suits. All tests were done in our small room including X-ray, EKG and blood tests due to the virus situation. Of course I couldn’t help observing their use of technology. And as expected it didn’t work properly at all occasions.

I hope that next week is a boring and normal week. I love my work, and I look forward to focussing on that again. There are several new projects coming in, and I have also gotten a new role at the university.

Study on Automation of eServices in Primary Care

Automation where humans and computers cooperate on various levels is transforming society. Many jobs are anticipated to be partially or completely automated in the future. OECD, for example, calculate that 14% of current jobs could completely disappear in the next 15-20 years, and they estimate that around 32% are likely to change entirely as tasks are automated (OECD 2019). Another well cited calculation estimates that 47% of all jobs in the US will be threatened by technology development in the next 10 to 20 years (Frey and Osborne 2017). This transformation using automation is also seen in the healthcare sector and some areas of automation are clinical development, non-invasive surgeries, robots in the medical pill dispersion and administrative systems being automated 

Automation has also recently moved into the area of patient-centric services to address society’s challenges with an ageing population and healthcare provision. The goal of the transformation with automation here is to make healthcare more efficient, and to empower patients. Given the work environment problems in healthcare, with a large turnover of especially nurses (Hsu 2016) and recent evidence that suggest digitalisation is experienced as a part of the problem by many healthcare professionals (Kroth et al. 2019; Scandurra et al. 2014), it is vital to investigate the effects of automation and digitalisation on work engagement. 

As a part of the STRIA work we did a study on staff at 1177 that we published in a Swedish technical report found here

Abstract:

Denna rapport innehåller en kartläggning av 1177-personalens digitala arbetsmiljö vid arbete med den chattfunktion till patienter som användes under ett pilotprojekt hösten 2019. Rapporten är skriven med utgångspunkt från att läsaren har inblick i personalen på 1177s arbete, och har kunskap kring de IT-system som används. Kartläggningen genomfördes som ett samarbete mellan forskningsprojektet Systemutvecklingsmetoder för digital arbetsmiljö som leds av Uppsala Universitet och Region Uppsalas projekt Nära Vård Online under hösten och vintern 2019/2020.

Kontextuella intervjuer genomfördes på plats under cirka fem timmar. Dessutom genomfördes nio semistrukturerade intervjuer med sjuksköterskorna och åtta med läkare. Intervjufrågorna grupperades i fyra teman: intervjupersonens bakgrund; arbetsmiljö relaterat till pilotprojektet; arbetsmiljö relaterat till det äldre sättet att arbeta och några avslutande frågor. Alla intervjuer transkriberades och tematisk analys gjordes.

Inom temat upplevelse av krav visar intervjuerna att det som är mest stressande, och som nästan stressar alla, är köbildningen i chattsystemet. Det som stressar är otillräcklig information om vilka samtal som väntar, och att man inte kan veta när personen man chattar med svarar. Dessutom påpekar några att man inte heller kan se vilka patienter som behöver snabb hjälp och vilka som kan vänta.

Inom temat stöd kan man konstatera att alla upplever systemen som stabila, och har god inblick i vad man kan göra om systemen inte fungerar. Många tycker att systemen fungerar mycket bra. Några påpekar att samarbetet och stödet från kollegor som jobbar hemifrån inte fungerar lika bra som att arbeta på samma plats.

Inom området upplevelse av kontroll finns det förbättringsområden vad det gäller vilka frågor som patienten svarat på, och sjuksköterskor påpekade att systemet delvis är designat för läkare och inte för sjuksköterskors arbete. Många upplevde att de kunde vara med och påverka i förändringsarbetet, och att de i mycket stor utsträckning varit delaktig.

Rapporten innehåller också några rekommendationer kring design och implementering av liknande tjänster ur ett arbetsmiljöperspektiv. Slutligen finns lästips för den intresserade läsaren.

 

Soon ten years since I defended my PhD: “Date set, opponent accepted! Now the only thing that is missing is the text”

10 years have soon passed since I defended my PhD. Facebook has given me some memories such as “Date set, opponent accepted! Now the only thing that is missing is the text”.  I remember that I had tree months to write the introduction to the text and organise everything around the PhD. The PhD was based on eight papers related to how to work with software engineering (user centred design- UCD) in large organisations, and a large action research project with eight different public authorities. You find the thesis here: http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A310201&dswid=-5735

The thesis has three research questions:

  1. What happens when UCSD is introduced in a public authority?

I was also interested in the values and perspectives of people involved in the organisation as well as how UCSD can be introduced through new methods that affect the values and perspectives of the stakeholders including the system developers in the organisation. Therefore, this thesis also aims at understanding the following questions:

  1. How do perspectives of stakeholders in systems development projects affect the work with UCSD, usability and users’ health in the organisations studied?

The final question addresses the issues of how we can address the introduction of UCSD and change perspectives:

  1. What new methods can be used to introduce UCSD and to influence perspectives?

barnen

I finished my PhD during a tough period in life, and I had much support from my family, my supervisor Jan Gulliksen and my friends. One of my very best friends Helena Bernáld did the photos for the thesis, and my parents helped me with grocery shopping, cleaning and laundry. In parallel to writing my PhD I was a single mom of three kids aged 2, 6 and 7, see photo. In addition to this I had just bought a house that I renovated and I somehow I pulled off painting my new house. I don’t remember why I though it was so important. Why did I do that!!?? It sounds very crazy in hindsight.

I remember nailing the PhD thesis to a wall in the university building (see photo) and feeling so happy that I pulled things off! A big thanks to everyone that helped me during this period!!

Professor Bodil Jönsson was the opponent at my defence. I remember that the discussion was very nice and that she thought that I had used too many theories and added to much material to the thesis. And she had a point. Somehow the situation in life made the PhD defence seem like something that was possible to control. And I was really not very nervous about it, and writing the thesis was therapy related to life in general. That part is also difficult to understand! I guess people are strange, and I am equally strange myself. 

Keep safe in Corona times!

 

Digital Work Environment and The Health Care Sector: Presentation at Vitalis 2020

Magdalena Stadin from Jönköping University, David Borgestig from Region Uppsala and I will be presenting at Vitalis 2020!

The abstract for the talk (transpated from Swedish)

Today, health care in Sweden is largely digitalised. The data that the business needs to function such as clinical data on patients such as administrative data on personnel, resources and costs are now primarily in digital form. This means that most healthcare and administrative processes are performed using one or more computer systems. This has had major consequences for the health care workers’ work environment.
This presentation begins by explaining what the digital work environment consists of, and some of the work environment problems that have arisen in connection with digitalisation. The digital work environment includes all the different digital systems required to carry out one’s work. The digital work environment can have a major impact on the physical, mental, and social work environment. For example, clicking and typing with a keyboard can cause physical problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders. Poorly designed systems can increase the cognitive load and lead to brain fatigue and overload, which can contribute to fatigue. The transition to digital communication can also change social patterns and power relations in depth.

The presenters have many years of experience in research on digitalisation of healthcare from a work environment perspective and will give examples from the studies they participated in as an introduction to the presentation.

In the presentation we will also elaborate on two different case studies we have done on digitization and the working environment. The first study is about a pilot project in primary care around triaging patients with the help of a chat function. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the staff with the new service? How is the staff’s working environment affected by the change? What can be learned for future implementations in primary care. The second study is an interview study with leaders in health care and their experiences of aspects in the digital work environment that are perceived to contribute to stress and frustration, and how these aspects are handled in a concrete manner. A further theme highlighted by the second study is what improvement measures would be required for the digital work environment to be improved, from the leaders’ perspective.

Finally, we will make recommendations for working with digital work environment in health care.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Starting up Interview Study with the Aim of Defining “Digital Excellence”

The University Chancellor’s Office (Universitetskanslersämbetet ), together with the Swedish Growth Agency (Tillväxtverket), has been commissioned to analyze and propose how the supply of digital excellence can be developed in the short and long term. The assignment includes the development of improved statistics and forecasts of the total need for competence in business and the public sector with the aim of improving the conditions for universities and universities to meet the need for excellence in the short and long term.
However, there is no accepted definition of what digital excellence is. Our project hence aims to develop a definition of the concept of digital excellence. The definition should form the basis for UKÄ and the Swedish Growth Agency’s project.

As a part of this work Jan Gulliksen, Arnold Pears, Mattias Wiggberg and I are doing an interview study with 10-20 key players to understand their perspective of Digital Excellence. This week I have started doing these semi structured interviews, and it has been great fun. Doing an interview is always a learning experience, and people are often very wise and knowledgeable.

 

Participating in Conference about Social Work

I will participate in the conference organised by the Social Work Centre (CEASAR).  The conference will be run in Uppsala on the 12th and 13th of March. The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for presentations of research in social work in a Swedish context.  The majority of the time will be devoted to seminar discussions papers. Simon Lindgren till give a key note which sounds really interesting on the topic of Digital Cultures and Digital Methods in the Social Sciences at the opening of the Conference. I will participate as a panel member discussing digitalisation in social work under the guidance of Professor Stefan Sjöström together with two other researchers:

  • Åsa Cajander, professor of human-computer interaction, Uppsala universityo
  • Lupita Svensson, associate professor in social work, Lund Universityo
  • Karin Osvaldsson Cromdal, associate professor in social work, Linköpingsuniversitet

Key Note at Uppsala Public Management Seminar 2020

On the 18th of March I will give a key note about work environment and digitalisation at the Uppsala Public Management Seminar 2020. When invited they want me to talk a bit about New Public Management and digitalisation, so that will be one theme. The key note will be in Swedish

 

Hur påverkas arbetslivet och arbetsmiljön av digitalisering?

Digitaliseringen är fantastisk och skapar nya möjligheter i samhället. Vi digitaliserar också alltmer och nya tekniker driver förändringen. Det vi ofta glömmer bort är att digitaliseringen i arbetslivet också påverkar vår arbetsmiljö. Under den här föreläsningen kommer Åsa Cajander att berätta om forskningsfronten inom området digitalisering och arbetsmiljö med illustrerande exempel. Föreläsningen kommer att beröra fragmentering av tid, förändringar i arbetsuppgifter och problemet med att vara ständigt uppkopplad och nåbar. Föreläsningen kommer också att innehålla rekommendationer och råd kring hur man digitaliserar med arbetsmiljön i fokus.

 

 

See you there