Researcher from Skövde is defending her doctor’s thesis: Collaboration may strengthen competiveness in rural areas


Is it possible to stimulate informal collaboration between rural companies and local public operators together with associations within the private sector? And can these together strengthen competitiveness for companies locally? These are questions that Lotten Svensson, doctoral student at the University of Skövde, has devoted her research to. The answers are to be provided by her when she defends her doctor’s thesis on Friday 16 December.

Lotten Svensson is a lecturer in Business Administration and a doctoral student at the University of Twente, the Netherlands, where the public defense of her doctoral thesis is also to take place. She was previously a doctoral student at her own company Lotten & Company AB, at the School of Business, Economics and Law in Gothenburg. Lotten is also a part of the research group “Strategic entrepreneurship in doing business in the future” at the School of Business at the University of Skövde.

– In my thesis, with the title “A Resource-based View on Collaboration between Firms and Local Partners in a Non-urban Swedish Context.”, I would like to highlight successful collaborations between trade and industry and the municipality/the public sector by means of examples from Töreboda municipality, says Lotten Svensson.

Lotten has examined the companies’ collaboration with local operators. Most of the companies in focus are to be found in something she calls a regional ecosystem, where the environment consists of their own operations, public and non-profit operators.

– It thus concerns companies that, together with their local external operators, generate additional resources for their own development. As I see it, this kind of broader development is possible and maybe even necessary. The internal resources of a company can lead to positive development in the form of profitability, gains and the like. To expand this theory, where even external resources can be made available to the companies, informal public – private collaborations can contribute to helping companies in rural areas to prosper financially. The collaboration between the public and the private sector can also improve upon a mutual spirit, or identity, in a particular place, Svensson continues.

During her work on the thesis Lotten has held workshops where companies, associations and the public sector have participated and discussed issues concerning future development in the municipality, in the case Töreboda. The results have been compiled based on among other things comments from municipal administrations, private companies and non-profit organizations.

– The main purpose of my research is to understand how the quality of the interplay between key individuals from the organizations in focus and how their efforts can strengthen a productive collaboration between the public and the private sector. Informal collaboration is important for those involved. My research shows that it is possible to develop the collaboration in a rural area where successful private companies and a municipality function well together with relevant, non-profit organizations that are also present and active in the same region. As a consequence, a more comprehensive competitive potential of a place can be understood and developed based on the quality of the informal public-private collaboration that are at play.


Lotten Svensson’s public defense of her doctoral thesis on 16 December will be broadcast live via video link from the Netherlands to colleagues and other interested parties at the University of Skövde. The broadcast will begin at 12.30 p.m., follow it on

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Lotten Svensson