Initiating and Anchoring an Academic Course on Societal Collaboration:

A Story About ‘Someotherism’ and a Need for Reflexivity




organizing, societal collaboration, higher education, learning, reflexivity, universities, someotherism


Collaboration between academia and society has become a key priority for many higher education institutions (HEIs). In Sweden, this is partly driven by political calls to secure the long-term provision of knowledge, innovation and competitiveness. At the system and institutional level, responses to this are reflected in governance structures and strategic documents. However, those strategic responses often fall short and attempts to organise for collaboration are often met with scepticism, and, in practice, micro-level changes are slow. This paper asks why that is the case by reflecting on the experiences gained from initiating and anchoring a course on societal collaboration at a Swedish HEI. We analyse the experiences from this bottom-up initiative by building on the notion of reflexivity. Our study contributes to research on managing and organising collaboration at HEIs by highlighting and illustrating the need to adopt a scientific approach – to use scientific knowledge – and engage (more) in reflexivity when organising to ensure societal collaboration. Efforts to produce collaboration cannot be expected to be solved by ‘someother’, but require strategy to be aligned with practice. We conclude our reflexive inquiry with implications for research and practice.


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Author Biographies

Anna Jonsson, School of Economics & Management, Lund University

Anna Jonsson is Associate Professor at Lund University, School of Economics and Management and affiliated researcher at SIR, Stockholm School of Economics. Her research interests include learning and knowledge sharing in organizations and society and how to rethink science communication.

Eugenia Perez-Vico, School of Business, Innovation and Sustainability, Halmstad University

Eugenia Perez Vico is an Associate Professor in Innovation Sciences at Halmstad University. Her research interest lies in the area of research and innovation policy with a focus on universities’ collaboration with the surrounding society.

Diamanto Politis, School of Economics and Management, Lund University

Diamanto Politis is Professor in Entrepreneurship at Lund University, School of Economics and Management. Her research interests entrepreneurial learning and education, academic entrepreneurship, and the dynamics of learning in entrepreneurial ecosystems.




How to Cite

Jonsson, A., Perez-Vico, E., & Politis, D. (2023). Initiating and Anchoring an Academic Course on Societal Collaboration: : A Story About ‘Someotherism’ and a Need for Reflexivity. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, 27(1), 75–98.

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