Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz

Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz

Principal Researcher
Visiting address: Widerströmska huset, Tomtebodavägen 18A, 17165 Solna
Postal address: C7 Lärande, Informatik, Management och Etik, C7 MMC Augustsson, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I am a professor in psychology commited to improving the usefulness of
    research evidence
    I am a senior researcher at Procome and a Professor in Psychology at
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social welfare. My
    professional background is in occupational health, where I have worked as a
    psychologist. My research focus is on the design, implementation and
    evaluation of changes in organizations in general, with a specific interest
    in how we can make evidence more useful in practice.
    Vinnvård fellow i Improvement Science 2013-2016
    2008 Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, Department of Psychology,
    Stockholm University.
    2001 Licensed Psychologist
    2000 Master of Science in Psychology (300Hp), Department of Psychology,
    Stockholm University


  • My research is concerned with understanding how we can achieve sustainable
    improvements in organizations. It builds on work and organizational
    psychology and organizational behavior – the understanding of individuals
    in organizations and the interaction between those individuals and
    organizational process and structures.
    The improvements and intervention that we study range from the micro-system
    (e.g. thought-process among nurses in an ED) and the system level (e.g. how
    local authorities handle intended change, as well as linking of the different
    perspectives (e.g. the effect of reimbursement systems on employee job
    motivation). The content of the improvements and interventions has differed,
    as has their aim. The focus, instead, is on the process of managing and being
    effective in achieving the intended change, as well as the evaluation of such
    Although the improvements and interventions I have been involved in at a
    first glance may seem very different, they do have some common
    characteristics. First, they represent an approach where the goal is to make
    a difference in the organization where the study is set at the same time as
    scientific, rigorous methods are applied in order to contribute to the
    accumulation of systematic knowledge. Second, the studies are concerned with
    how improvements can be made at workplaces with a dual focus on effect
    evaluations and process questions (implementation studies). In this, I
    combine motivation theories, occupational health theories, leadership
    theories, organizational theories and operant psychology applied to
    organizations and systems (organizational behavior management).
    Third, I strive toward integrating measures from different types of outcomes,
    including performance outcomes (quality of care, costs, safety etc.) and
    staff outcomes (health, wellbeing and work conditions). Thus, a common theme
    is to increase the awareness of the multiple effects of improvements and
    interventions on a whole range of outcomes, and the necessity of considering
    them simultaneously. For example, we have shown how an occupational
    intervention can have a positive effect on organizational performance (number
    of patients treated, quality of care and cost of sickness absence). Another
    example is showing how teamwork in emergency care, implemented with improved
    efficiency in mind, also has a substantial positive impact on patients’
    perceptions of quality of care.


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