Fagprofil

Espen Ekberg

Professor - Institutt for rettsvitenskap og styring

Institutt for rettsvitenskap og styring

Biografi

Professor of Economic History at the Centre for Business History; Editor-in-Chief of the Scandinavian Economic History Review (with Fransisco Beltrán Tapia, NTNU). Former researcher and associate professsor at the Centre for Business History (2012-2018) and Post doctoral research fellow at the University of Agder/University of Oslo (2009-2012). Cand.Polit/M.Sc in Sociology (2002) and PhD in Economic history (2008), both from the University of Oslo.

Currently writing a book on the recent history of Norway’s largest commercial bank, Den norske Bank (DnB) (period, 1990-2004). My most recent publications include Ulykkens frukter: Storebrand og forsikringsbransjen, bind 1: 1767–1945 [The fruits of accident: Storebrand and the insurance business, volume 1: 1767-1945], Oslo: Universitetsforlaget 2017 (with Christine Myrvang); 'The non-globalisation of modern food retailing: the case of the failed Coop Norden merger', Scandinavian Economic History Review, 66.2 2018 (with Kristoffer Jensen); “Against the tide: Understanding the Commercial Success of Nordic Consumer Co-operatives, 1945-2010”, in Mary Hilson, Silke Neunsinger and Greg Patmore (eds) A global history of consumer co-operation since 1850: movements and businesses, Leiden: Brill 2017; `Maritime entrepreneurs and policy-makers: a historical approach to contemporary economic globalization´, Journal of Global History, 10(1), 2015 (with Even Lange and Andreas Nybø) and ‘Business history and economic globalisation´, Business History, 56(1), 2014 (with Even Lange).
My research interests have evolved around four main issues. The first is the history of insurance and banking. I recently co-authored (with Christine Myrvang, Sverre August Christensen and Trond Bergh) a commissioned, two volumes/ + 1000 pages book on the history of Norwegian insurance company Storebrand. The book on DnB studies the development of the bank through the major banking crisis of the early 1990s – were the state by way of a rescue operation took control of the majority of the bank’s shares – and how the bank gradually rebuilt itself to become the sole, large Norwegian-owned commercial bank.
My second main research interest has been maritime economic history. Merchant shipping was the world’s first global industry. Technological, organizational and institutional transformations in seaborne transport played a fundamental role in the phenomenal growth of world trade during the nineteenth and second half of the twentieth century – and hence also in the enforced process of globalization characterizing the world economy during these two periods. My research has sought to explore and highlight the importance of shipping in the globalization of the world economy. Empirically it has focused on the experiences of the Norwegian merchant marine –being, since the mid 1800s, consistently one of the world’s largest merchant fleets – but with an explicit international approach. It has explored questions such as how did Norwegian ship-owners manage to gain such a strong foothold in international shipping from the mid nineteenth century onwards? And, what role did shipowners play in the development of international trade in specific products and hence in the overall growth of world trade during the second half of the twentieth century?
A third major interest has been - and still is - the history of retailing and particularly the history of consumer co-operatives. A consumer co-operative is a distinct form of economic enterprise. Unlike traditional retail enterprises the co-op is owned and democratically controlled by its users (the consumers), and surplus is returned on the basis of use. Consumer co-operatives started to develop in Western Europe from the mid nineteenth century onwards. They soon gained substantial market shares and by the interwar years they were firmly established as an important alternative to traditional forms of capitalist commerce in most Western European countries. In 2006 I co-authored (with Even Lange, Eivind Merok and Iselin Theien) a book on the history of the consumer co-operative movement in Norway. During this work I was struck by the finding that consumer co-operative enterprises had developed so unevenly in different Western European countries during the post-war period. Not least I was fascinated by the discovery that the Norwegian consumer co-operatives were among those which had developed most successfully. My PhD thesis explored how this development may have come about, by way of a comparative analysis of the development of consumer co-operative trade in Norway and the UK in the period from 1950 to 2002. In later work, I have expanded this comparative approach by including more cases and seeking to explore more generally the reasons for failure and success among consumer co-operatives in western Europe during the post WWII period. In 2015 I co-authored (with Lars Thue and Christine Myrvang) a commissioned book on the history of the family company Joh Johannson, Norway’s largest grocery wholesaler and one of the main competitors of the consumer co-operative movement in Norway.
Fourth and finally I have been quite concernd with the historiography of economic history and business history. I have been interested in the historical development of business history as a field of research both nationally and internationally, as well as its present day position and role in the academic milieu generally and at business schools more particularly. I have also written on how business history as a distinct field of research field can contribute to larger academic debates on major issues such as economic globalization and the growth of international trade - issues which traditionally have been dominated by economists and other social scientists.

Publikasjoner

Ekberg, Espen & Jensen, Kristoffer (2018)

The non-globalisation of modern food retailing: the case of the failed Coop Norden merger

Scandinavian Economic History Review, 66(2), s. 170- 185. Doi: 10.1080/03585522.2018.1454340

By discussing the creation and subsequent failure of Coop Norden, set up by the Scandinavian consumer co-operatives in 2002 as a common wholesale and food retail enterprise, this article provides insights into the nature of the Scandinavian food retail sector and co-operative enterprises in an era of globalisation. The article combines recent research on the globalisation of retailing with the academic literature on the economic position and development of consumer co-operative enterprises. The article concludes that the failure of Coop Norden can be seen as the natural consequence of two inherent problems: 1. A flawed vision among co-operative managers on how globalisation would impact retailing and 2. A misalignment between Danish, Norwegian and Swedish co-operative agendas. The article is based on comprehensive studies of the internal co-operative archives in Denmark and Norway.

Ekberg, Espen & Iversen, Martin Jes (2018)

Time for a Nordic business history initiative?

Scandinavian Economic History Review, 66(1), s. 9- 17. Doi: 10.1080/03585522.2018.1434559 - Fulltekst i vitenarkiv

The current state of Nordic business history is by certain estimates better than ever. Nordic business historians publish extensively in leading international journals and have a strong presence at international business history conferences. Still, in this discussion article we raise a yellow flag of warning for the future of Nordic business history. We argue that the subject field is challenged along three important dimensions: (i) lack of relevant teaching, (ii) continued reliance on commissioned history and (iii) limited recruitment. The article discusses these challenges and seeks to place them in a historical perspective. For each challenge, we develop a set of concrete proposals to address the problems identified. A common theme in our proposed solutions is to intensify Nordic collaboration, particularly through the establishment of common, externally funded Nordic research projects. To create meeting grounds for the development of such projects, The Scandinavian Society for Economic and Social History – the formal collaborative body for Nordic economic historians and the owner of Scandinavian Economic History Review – should be reinvigorated.

Ekberg, Espen (2017)

Against the tide: Understanding the Commercial Success of Nordic Consumer Co-operatives, 1945-2010

Hilson, Mary; Neunsinger, Silke & Patmore, Greg (red.). A Global History of Consumer Co-operation since 1850

Ekberg, Espen; Christensen, Sverre August, Bergh, Trond & Myrvang, Christine (2017)

Skadeskutt og livskraftig. Storebrand og forsikringsbransjen, bind 2: 1945-2017

Universitetsforlaget.

Ekberg, Espen & Myrvang, Christine (2017)

Ulykkens frukter. Storebrand og forsikringsbransjen, bind 1: 1767-1945

Universitetsforlaget.

Merok, Eivind & Ekberg, Espen (2016)

'Business history' som innfallsvinkel til skipsfartshistorie

Sogner, Knut; Lie, Einar & Aven, Håvard Brede (red.). Entreprenørskap i næringsliv og politikk. Festskrift til Even Lange

Ekberg, Espen & Merok, Eivind (2016)

'Business history' som innfallsvinkel til skipsfartshistorien.

Sogner, Knut; Lie, Einar & Aven, Håvard Brede (red.). Entreprenørskap i næringsliv og politikk. Festskrift til Even Lange

Thue, Lars; Ekberg, Espen & Myrvang, Christine (2016)

Mellommannen. Joh. Johannson og kampen om dagligvaremarkedet, 1866-2016

Universitetsforlaget.

Ekberg, Espen; Lange, Even & Nybø, Andreas (2015)

Maritime entrepreneurs and policy-makers: a historical approach to contemporary economic globalization

Journal of Global History, 10(1), s. 171- 193. Doi: 10.1017/S1740022814000333

Ekberg, Espen (2014)

Norsk skipsfart og den maritime klyngen: Et næringslivshistorisk perspektiv

Ekberg, Espen; Lønnborg, Mikael & Myrvang, Christine (red.). Næringsliv og historie

Ekberg, Espen; Lønnborg, Mikael & Myrvang, Christine (2014)

Innledning: Mellom næringsliv og historie

Ekberg, Espen; Lønnborg, Mikael & Myrvang, Christine (red.). Næringsliv og historie

Ekberg, Espen; Lønnborg, Mikael & Myrvang, Christine (2014)

Næringsliv og historie

Pax Forlag.

Ekberg, Espen & Lange, Even (2014)

Business history and economic globalisation

Business History, 56(1), s. 101- 115. Doi: 10.1080/00076791.2013.818418

Merok, Eivind & Ekberg, Espen (2012)

Partners in world trade. Anglo-Norwegian shipping networks, 1855-1905

Pharo, Helge Ø. & Salmon, Patrick (red.). Britain and Norway: special relationships

Ekberg, Espen (2012)

Confronting three revolutions: Western European consumer co-operatives and their divergent development, 1950-2008

Business History, 54(6), s. 1004- 1021. Doi: 10.1080/00076791.2012.706894

Ekberg, Espen (2012)

Organization: top down or bottom up? The organizational development of consumer co-operatives, 1950-2000

Battilani, Patricia & Schröter, Harm G. (red.). The Cooperative Business Movement. 1950 to the present

Ekberg, Espen; Lange, Even & Merok, Eivind (2012)

Building the networks of trade: Perspectives on twentieth century maritime history

Harlaftis, Gelina; Tenold, Stig & Valdaliso, Jesus M (red.). The World's Key Industry - History and Economics of International Shipping

Ekberg, Espen (2012)

Nordic shipping: A statistical overview

Tenold, Stig; Iversen, Martin Jes & Lange, Even (red.). Global shipping in small nations: nordic experiences after 1960

Ekberg, Espen (2011)

The Growth of the Deep-Sea Car-Carrying Industry, 1960-2008

Fischer, Lewis Ross & Lange, Even (red.). New directions in Norwegian maritime history

Ekberg, Espen & Merok, Eivind (2009)

Norwegian Shipping in the Port of Liverpool, 1855-1895: Niche Specialization and Anglo-Norwegian Networks

International Journal of Maritime History, XXI(2), s. 221- 239.

Ekberg, Espen (2009)

Consumer Co-operation and the Transformation of Modern Food Retailing: The British and Norwegian Consumer Co-operative Movement in Comparison, 1950-2002

Black, Lawrence & Robertson, Nicole (red.). Consumerism and the Co-operative Movement in Modern British History. Taking Stock

Lange, Even; Ekberg, Espen & Merok, Eivind (2006)

Vekst og forbrukerpolitisk radikalisering

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Butikkene i sentrum!

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Optimisme, ekspansjon og kollaps

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Krise og ny vekst

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Kjededrift og maktkamp mot produsentene

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Medlemsutvikling, deltaktelse og demokrati

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Ekspansjonsiver og styringsproblemer

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Visjonen om Norden

Lange, Even (red.). Organisert kjøpekraft. Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2004)

Corporate efficiency, democratic legitimacy and consumer-political integrity: Norwegian consumer co-operatives, 1970-2002

Theien, Iselin & Lange, Even (red.). Affluence and Activism. Organised Consumers in the Post-War Era

Engelstad, Fredrik; Ekberg, Espen, Gulbrandsen, Trygve Jens & Vatnaland, Jon (2003)

Næringslivet mellom marked og politikk

Gyldendal Akademisk.

Ekberg, Espen (2018)

Historien om Sears Roebuck

NRK P2 - Studio 2 [Radio]

Ekberg, Espen (2008)

Samvirkelag i spissen

Norgesglasset, P1 [Radio]

Ekberg, Espen (2008)

Samvirkelaget - et norsk vinnerlag

Østlandssendingen, P1 [Radio]

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

Hundre år med samvirke

Dagbladet [Kronikk]

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2004)

Kamp om makt

Dagens næringsliv [Kronikk]

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2003)

Lær av egne feil

Dagens næringsliv [Kronikk]

Ekberg, Espen (2018)

To containerise or not to containerise? Norwegian shipping companies and the container revolution, 1960-2000

[Academic lecture]. The European Business History Conference.

Ekberg, Espen & Jensen, Kristoffer (2017)

The non-globalisation of modern food retailing: the case of the failed Coop Norden merger

[Academic lecture]. Nordiske historikermøde 2017.

Ekberg, Espen (2017)

Finansialisering på norsk

[Academic lecture]. Norske historiedager 2017.

Ekberg, Espen (2015)

Consumer co-operatives in the Nordic countries. Why have they been so succesfull?

[Academic lecture]. Rethinking History at Business Schools. Seminar series at Copenhagen Business School.

Ekberg, Espen (2015)

From national fire insurance to international reinsurane. The internationalisation of the Norwegian insurance company Stoebrand during the intewar years.

[Academic lecture]. Det svenska ekonomisk historiska mötet.

Ekberg, Espen (2012)

Consumer Co-operatives in the Nordic region, 1950-2010

[Academic lecture]. Mainstreaming Co-operation: An Alternative for the 21st Century?.

Ekberg, Espen (2012)

Consumer co-operatives in the Nordic countries, 1950-2010

[Academic lecture]. Towards a global history of the consumer movement.

Ekberg, Espen (2012)

To containerise or not to containerise? Norwegian shipping companies and the container revolution, 1960-2000

[Academic lecture]. 6th International Conference of Maritime History.

Ekberg, Espen (2011)

The foray of Norwegian shipowners into car carrier shipping, 1960-2008

[Academic lecture]. Shipping Revolutions after the Second World War.

Ekberg, Espen & Iversen, Martin Jes (2010)

Global Shipping – Is there a Nordic model? A comparative research project on Nordic shipping, 1960-2010

[Popular scientific article]. Mercator. Maritime Economics and Policy, s. 266- 269.

Ekberg, Espen (2010)

Organisation: top down or bottom up? The organisational development of consumer co-operatives

[Academic lecture]. International Colloquium in Business History.

Ekberg, Espen (2010)

Ut av krise: Spesialisering og markedsutvikling i norsk skipsfart: 1970-2010

[Academic lecture]. Nye perspektiver på norsk skipsfartshistorie.

Ekberg, Espen & Merok, Eivind (2010)

Partners in World Trade: Anglo-Norwegian shipping networks, 1855-1905

[Academic lecture]. Britain and Norway: Contacts, Networks and Influences.

Ekberg, Espen (2010)

Scandinavian shipping and the global niches

[Academic lecture]. Nordic Responses to Economic Integration: The Shipping Sector, 1955-2005.

Ekberg, Espen & Merok, Eivind (2009)

Shipping from the Periphery: The Norwegian Experience, 1850-1913

[Academic lecture]. Shipping, Transport and Trade in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Ekberg, Espen & Lange, Even (2009)

Mapping the growth of the Norwegian offshore shipping industry, 1970-2005

[Academic lecture]. Seminar on Nordic shipping history: Nordic Responses to Economic Integration - the Shipping Sector, 1955-2005.

Ekberg, Espen & Lange, Even (2009)

The non-containerisation of the Norwegian fleet - why Norwegian ship-owners failed to take advantage of the container revolution

[Academic lecture]. Seminar on Nordic shipping history: Nordic Responses to Economic Integration - the Shipping Sector, 1955-2005.

Merok, Eivind & Ekberg, Espen (2008)

Norwegian maritime expansion in the 19th century: Existing explanations and some new explorations

[Academic lecture]. 12th Annual congress of the European Business History Association.

Merok, Eivind & Ekberg, Espen (2008)

Sail to steam revisited: Market specialisation of the Norwegian fleet, 1880-1914

[Academic lecture]. 5th IMEHA International Congress of Maritime History.

Ekberg, Espen (2006)

Forbrukersamvirkets historie i Norge

[Popular scientific article]. St. Hallvard, s. 28- 41.

Ekberg, Espen; Lange, Even & Vatnaland, Jon (2006)

The Dynamics of Success and Failure: The Failed Expansions of the Norwegian Consumer Co-operatives 1990-2000

[Academic lecture]. Tenth annual conference of the European Business History Association.

Lange, Even; Ekberg, Espen & Merok, Eivind (2006)

A successful latecomer: Growth and transformation of the Norwegian consumer co-operatives 1920-2000

[Academic lecture]. XIV International Economic History Congress.

Ekberg, Espen (2005)

Challenges to the Consumer Co-operative movement in Post War Europe: The British and Norwegian consumer co-operative movement in comparison, 1950-2002

[Academic lecture]. ”Taking stock: The Co-operative Movement in British history.” People’s History Museum.

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2003)

Strukturendringer i norsk finanssektor. Fragmentering, makt og styringsavmakt i skjæringspunktet mellom næringsliv og politikk

[Report]. Unipub forlag.

Ekberg, Espen & Vatnaland, Jon (2003)

Visjonen som brast : Forbrukersamvirkets møbelsatsing 1993-2001

[Report]. Institutt for samfunnsforskning.

Det eksisterer lite forskning som systematisk beskriver og analyserer drivkreftene bak større tapsprosjekter i næringslivet. Denne rapporten tar for seg Forbrukersamvirkets forsøk på å etablere en landsdekkende forbrukereid møbelkjede. Satsingen foregikk fra 1993 til 2001 og var et ledd i organisasjonens langsiktige strategi om å utvide virksomheten til ulike faghandelsbransjer. Satsingen ble drevet av Norges Kooperative Landsforening (NKL), gjennom Det norske Møbelsenter. Satsingen var imidlertid ikke vellykket og samlet sett tapte NKL omlag 400 millioner kroner på engasjementet i møbelbransjen. Rapporten beskriver hendelsesforløpet i detalj. Videre gir rapporten en analyse av årsakene til at satsingen ikke lyktes. Konklusjonen er at satsingen bar preg av flere uheldige disposisjoner som samlet sett resulterte i en betydelig omsetningssvikt i butikkene. For det første vektlegges den raske veksten i prosjektets tidlige fase. Denne medførte betydelige økonomiske og organisatoriske problemer. Videre innebar samarbeidet med det private selskapet Idé Skeidar flere svært uheldige konsekvenser. Blant annet sviktet engrossystemet, den styringsmessige kontrollen ble svekket og organisasjonen mistet motivasjon og salgsfokus. Til slutt vektlegges de stadige reorganiseringene. Disse resulterte i tap av rutiner, redusert arbeidsmiljøkvalitet og ytterligere tap av salgsfokus. Det formelle ansvaret for satsingen påligger styret og representantskapet i NKL. Samtidig drøftes forhold som kan tilsi at administrasjonen i NKL har hatt en betydelig faktisk innflytelse over sentrale beslutninger. Det er imidlertid få forhold som taler for at den kooperative driftsformen i seg selv var en årsak til utfallet. De mer overordnede årsakene må knyttes til andre faktorer. For det første gikk NKL her inn i en ny bransje uten tilstrekkelig kompetanse og forståelse for denne. For det andre forsøkte NKL på feil grunnlag å revolusjonere driftsformene i denne bransjen. For det tredje var NKL svært utålmodig i forhold til resultatene. Endelig skapte styringsstrukturene problemer med å oppnå en hensiktsmessig styring og ledelse av kjeden.

Akademisk grad
År Akademisk institusjon Grad
2008 University of Oslo Ph.D.
2002 University of Oslo Master Cand. Polit.
Arbeidserfaring
År Arbeidsgiver Tittel
2012 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Researcher II
2009 - 2012 University of Agder/University of Oslo Post Doctoral Research Fellow
2004 - 2008 University Of Oslo PhD Student
2002 - 2004 Institute for Social Research Scientific Assistant