Peter Ekman is driven by digitalisation and sustainability
Peter Ekman was recently appointed as Professor of Business Marketing with a specialisation in industrial marketing. In both his research and his teaching, he is interested in how companies work with digitalisation, service development and sustainability. His work has been published in a variety of scientific publications over the years such as International Business Review, Industrial Marketing Management and the Journal of Business Research.
What is the driving force in your research?
“Before my academic career took off, I worked in small consulting firms and also at a ABB. My driving force all along has been to think about how those companies that cooperate can become smarter and better together. I have also taken this passion with me in my research – why do companies behave the way they do, how can they become more efficient together and increase their value creation? Both for the organisation itself, for its employees, for other stakeholders (e.g. customers and suppliers) and for society at large?”
Which research topics are particularly important for you?
“Digitalisation is what I mostly focus on, and I have been able to study how it affects companies' business relationships, for example based on factors such as mutual commitment, trust and engagement. In my recent studies, I have been particularly interested in how digitalisation can support the sustainability challenges facing society – especially in the real estate sector, and in particular the transformation of the energy sector, increased circularity in construction and the collaborative economy in the use of premises.”
“You could describe what is happening now as a transformation of market ecosystems. This transformation is not something that can be done overnight, but it will require new roles, new business models and new behaviours. Currently there are many interesting market transformations that are accelerated by digitalisation and that enable a more sustainable business enterprise – changes which I and my colleagues will follow in the coming decades.”
What's the best part about conducting research at MDU?
“Mälardalen University is a young University where innovative collaboration both within and outside the University is encouraged – something which has suited me as I enjoy mixing academia and entrepreneurship!”
How would you describe your research environment at MDU?
“Research in business administration and industrial engineering has developed significantly over the past ten years, both in the number of researchers and output (scientific articles, books and reports) and I feel privileged to have been part of this journey.
When I joined MDU after the turn of the millennium, the project was focused on globalisation and digitalisation – a research stream that has continued and many lessons have been learnt – but which today has expanded to also include sustainability. We hope our research environment will be able to contribute with how to consider more forms of values, both environmental and social, in terms of organising, governance and marketing.
There are also several researchers who are presently investigating how digitisation can be a support in our transition towards a sustainable global society. Today, MDU has a good mix of researchers from doctoral students to Professors working on these challenges, usually in direct collaboration with the local private sector and society. In the area of economics, MDU has a very large proportion of external funding if you do a national comparison – something that I see as proof that what we do is relevant and important!”
Peter Ekman in brief:
- Engaged in the development of the Economics programme's new focus on digital business development within the framework of Sörmlandskontraktet.
- Teaches marketing, industrial marketing, e-commerce and service development to students on various courses.
- Deputy Director of the national graduate school in management and IT, a graduate school that occurs in collaboration between twelve higher education institutions.