Professors and Associate Professors – University of Copenhagen

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Karen Lisa Salamon

Karen Lisa Salamon

Associate Professor

Organization and Management are recurring themes of my research, teaching and dissemination to the public.

I am a member of the researher group business and Organisation.

Thematic specialization
Working from anthropology, I have since the 1980s addressed management and organizational issues, partly related to the fields of design and cultural production. In my research I have linked these topics to the cultural constitution of leadership and the formation of social movements and  management ideologies.

Teaching and supervision
My primary teaching and tutoring area is BOA - Business and Organizational Anthropology. Here business practices related to e.g. management, marketing & performance, strategy, design and innovation are put into perspective with anthropological theory. Based on my research within design anthropology and anthropology of religions, I also supervise and teach in these fields.

Regional specialization
Regionally my research has had its starting point in Danish and Scandinavian organizational life; associations, authorities and companies. I have conducted ethnographic field work primarily in Denmark, but also in countries such as Norway, France, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and North America.

My current research is primarily done under the auspices of the UCPH2016 Programme of Excellence, in the cross-disciplinary project CoNeXT, concerned with large neutron and X-ray synchrotron research infrastructures that are operational or under construction in Sweden and Germany. The anthropological contribution to CoNeXT consists of a research team, which under my leadership ethnographically follows and documents socio-cultural and organizational processes related to building and working these so-called Big Science installations, involving more than 17 countries and an ever increasing number of actors and interests from different sectors of society.
Previously, my research and dissemination have focused on transnational networks and movements within organization and management practices, and I have studied practices of evaluation ("audit cultures") as well as other technocratic approaches to management and leadership, particularly in the public sector. As Assistant Professor at Copenhagen Business School, and as independent lecturer, author and consultant, I have been in dialogue with hundreds of employees and managers within particularly the knowledge sectors and educational institutions, health care, social services and cultural production, not least in relation to the implementation of New Public Management-style structures of governance from the 1990s, and specifically in connection with a municipal reform in Denmark in 2007. Besides, I have published on related topics such as management ethics, neo-spiritual influences in management and values-based leadership ("New Age Value"), management roles and concepts of learning and performativity in management - seen through culture-analytical and anthropological lenses.

Another track in my research has centered on cultural production and innovation. From 2004-2008 I was an Associate Professor at the Danish Design School (now KADK), conducting my research, academic teaching and graduate as well as phd supervision on topics of cultural production and the anthropology of design. Based on ethnographic methods and in dialogue and cooperation with designers, artists, cultural operators and performative cultural producers, I have in this and other contexts studied options and outlined strategies for innovation of products, forms of organization and communication, partly based on ethnographic methods for understanding producers’ and users' engagement and social practices.

Dissemination and societal impact
Most of my working life I have shared my research findings and ethnographic knowledge via mass media, public lectures, published essayistic writings, analytical background papers, Open University and evening school courses, televised and radio broadcast debates, social media and by working as advisor and consultant to businesses and organizations. This has given me an interest in the role of research for changing and improving society and in the innovative potentials of the cultural and social sciences. I have had the challenge and pleasure of combining anthropological theory and ethnographic methods in practical action research, and then to draw on this in analytical reflection and further theoretical work. In my teaching and ongoing research, I try to develop and disseminate this type of concerns, interests and skills.

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Virkelighedsnære opgaver: om refleksiv aktionsundervisning (RAU)

    Salamon, K. L. 1 Sep 2015 Universitetspædagogiske praksisser. Rienecker, L. & Stray Jørgensen, P. (eds.). 1 ed. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur, p. 57-83 26 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

  2. Published

    UNESCOs mangfoldighedskonvention - perspektiver for skolens religionsundervisning

    Salamon, K. L. 2012 In : Religionslaereren. 108, 5, p. 12-13 1 p.

    Research output: CommunicationJournal article

  3. Barndommen på spil i værdikampen

    Engberg, C. & Salamon, K. L. 29 Apr 2010 In : Politiken. p. 7-8 1 p.

    Research output: CommunicationContribution to newspaper - Feature article

  4. Det nye arbejdsliv

    Salamon, K. L. 2007 In : Økonomi og samfund. p. 62-79 17 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  5. Fundamentalismens genkomst

    Salamon, K. L. 3 Aug 2004 In : Berlingske Tidende. p. 13 1 p.

    Research output: CommunicationContribution to newspaper - Comment/debate

  6. Prophets of a cultural capitalism: an ethnography of romantic spiritualism in business management

    Salamon, K. L. 2002 In : Folk. 44, 4, p. 89-115 26 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  7. Design-Business Interaction: an anthropological excursion into two professional cultures

    Salamon, K. L., Gelfer-Jørgensen, M. & Scandinavian Journal of Design History (tidsskrift) 1999 In : Scandinavian Journal of Design History. 8, p. 9-15 6 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  8. I grunden er vi enige: en ekskursion i skandinavisk foreningsliv

    Salamon, K. L. 1992 In : Antropologi. 25, p. 105-116, 163 12 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

ID: 40135773