Leticia Antunes Nogueira defended her PhD thesis

Leticia Antunes Nogueira defended her PhD thesis

June 11, Leticia Antunes Nogueira from the IKE research group at Department of Business and Management successfully defended her PhD thesis. Congratulations to Leticia.

The title of Leticia's thesis is "Sailing wild winds of change: How a project based organization sustained continuity in a turbulent environment". Subject of Leticia's lecture was: The concept of the operating core and its implication for search and decision making in project based organizations: Classic and recent developments in the behavioral theory of the firm?

Read a summary of the PhD thesis.

Members of the assessment commitee were:

  • Associate Professor Allan Næs Gjerding, Aalborg University, Denmark (Chair)
  • Associate Professor Joana Geraldi, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Professor Fredrik Tell, Uppsala University, Sweden

A small refreshment was served after the public defence.

The assessment committe: Allan Næs Gjerding, Fredrik Tell and Joana Geraldi
The assessment committee.

Leticia Antunes Nogueira defending her PhD thesis
Leticia defending her PhD thesis.


Summary of the PhD thesis

This thesis explores how project-based organizations (PBOs) navigate turbulent environments. A key challenge of PBOs is dealing with the continuity–turbulence problem, in which the firm's efforts to survive, maintain a robust order book, and repeatedly use its expertise across projects are challenged by frequent disturbances posed by the environment. Founded on critical realism, this work presents the case of a Danish supplier to the energy sector from 1965 to 2008.

The study introduces the operating core as the central mechanism orienting the way the firm behaved in its trajectory. The operating core is a notion that aggregates the expertise of firms; it is akin to a woven blanket that grows in times of plenty, but that must stretch beyond its original coverage in times of scarcity. The operating core of an organization embodies that which is valuable, and enables a firm's power of acting. 

The findings contribute to expanding the Behavioral Theory of the Firm, by introducing the particularities of project-organizing. In particular, this thesis provides insight to search behavior, the logics of decision-making, and the exploration–exploitation dichotomy. This is, in effect, not only the study of the behavior of an organization, but also a narrative of industrial evolution, seen through the eyes of an exemplary player.


Further information

Senior researcher Letícia Antunes Nogueira
Nordland Research Institute, Norway
Phone: +47 75 41 18 46
Email: lan@nforsk.no