Sverre August Christensen

Førsteamanuensis - Institutt for rettsvitenskap og styring


Associate professor at the Centre for Business History My research interests have evolved around many things, but particularly ownership and corporate governance.
By ownership I mean the importance of owners and ownership, and also differences between different types of owners, passive-active, long-short-term, and concentrated-diffuse, as well as stat, national and foreign ownership. And lastly how ownership affect industrial policy and innovation. With corporate governance I primarily mean the principal-agent relationship between owners and managers, but also the purpose of the company, and issue of corporate social responsibility.

I have written about international business in Norway in my phd on the Norwegian telecom industry and a commission work on the Norwegian subsidiary of ABB. These books discusses foreign owned companies in Norway, and not least the corporate governance of these companies. In 2017 the history of Norwegian insurance company Storebrand was published. I was in charge of the History project, and the main author of the second volume (1945-2017) other authors were Espen Ekberg, Trond Bergh and Christine Myrvang. Among other things, the book deals with the importance of corporate governance in Norway from the 1980s and onwards, and in particular Storebrand's pioneering role with CSR and ethical investment. I have published several articles and chapters on the Norwegian state ownership in listed companies. Its historical background and special features. The last years I have been engaged with setting up a centre at BI for competence and knowledge on state ownership in Norway, in cooperation with Equinor, Yara and Hydro; as well as the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Lastly, I am course responsible for The Firm (Bedriften), an introductory course, which is compulsory for all bachelor students at BI.


Christensen, Sverre August (2023)

Explaining State Ownership in Listed Companies in Norway

Enterprise & Society Doi: 10.1017/eso.2023.19

This article aims to explain the considerable state ownership in listed companies in Norway (SOiN) at present. The extant literature has pointed to alleged national idiosyncrasies to explain this special feature of Norwegian capitalism. The main contribution of this article is a comparative perspective. It shows that most European countries have pursued selective protectionism (i.e., to secure national ownership in key companies). It also shows that financial capital was not crucial for selective protectionism. On this background, the article discusses why state ownership became the mode of selective protectionism in Norway. It argues that the main reason is that large private (often multinational) companies did not develop in the wake of the second Industrial Revolution. Another key reason is that a specific hybrid ownership model that was developed after 1945 became an available institutional solution for securing national ownership after 1990. A common ground and a compromise were found on this model, based both on trust and distrust toward the state: a trust in that the state could operate as a passive and private owner, and a corresponding distrust in the state as an active industrialist and owner.

Christensen, Sverre August (2021)

A Narrative Approach to Corporate Relations: The Historical Background on Telenor’s Success

Enterprise & Society, 23(2), s. 512- 547. Doi: 10.1017/eso.2020.66 - Fulltekst i vitenarkiv

Christensen, Sverre August (2020)

Dubrowka - a free-standing company from a Norwegian family-network capitalism

Scandinavian Economic History Review, s. 1- 18. Doi: 10.1080/03585522.2020.1759680 - Fulltekst i vitenarkiv

The first globalisation, in the decades around 1900, was propelled by free-standing companies. This article discusses the establishment of a Norwegian free-standing company in Russia in 1910. It was the culmination of an eastwards movement from the Norwegian forest industry that went through Sweden and Finland before reaching Russia. The article discusses who controlled the company, and how this changed over time. It makes two main contributions to the literature. Firstly, how a family network can solve some of the puzzles free-standing companies have posed to theories of international business, especially regarding the origins and internalisation of ownership advantages. Secondly, it shows that, although free-standing companies were important for the first global economy, they were also integral to the deglobalization that followed.

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

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


Christensen, Sverre August (2015)

Liberale verdier og statlig eierskap

Magma forskning og viten, 18(4), s. 75- 83.

Christensen, Sverre August (2014)

Globaliseringens fortellinger : ABB Norges konsernansvar for olje- og gassvirksomhet

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

Christensen, Sverre & Rinde, Harald (2009)

Nasjonale utlendinger : ABB i Norge 1880-2010

Gyldendal Akademisk.

Christensen, Sverre (2003)

Statlig eierskap og nasjonal kontroll

Christensen, Espeli, Larsen og Sogner (red): Kapitalistisk Demokrati? – Norsk næringslivshistorie gjennom 100 år

Christensen, Sverre & Sogner, Knut (2001)

Treforedlingsbedriften Dubrowka

Plankeadel. Kiær- og Solberg-familien under den 2. industrielle revolusjon

Christensen, Sverre August (2016)

Dubrowka - a free-standing company from a family-network capitalism

[Academic lecture]. World Congress on Business History/Congress of the European Business History Association.

Benito, Gabriel R.G.; Christensen, Sverre, Lunnan, Randi & Tomassen, Sverre (2008)

Fra operativ til strategisk internasjonalisering: En studie av store norske selskapers utflytting av divisjonshovedkontorer

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Christensen, Sverre & Nilsen, Yngve (2006)

Langs gilde veier. Gilde Norsk Kjøtt 1931-2006

[Scientific book]. Dinamo forlag.

Christensen, Sverre; Espeli, Harald, Larsen, Eirinn & Sogner, Knut (2003)

Kapitalistisk demokrati?

[Scientific book]. Gyldendal Akademisk.

Christensen, Sverre A. (1999)

Hydromodellens opprinnelse. Oppgjøret om Norsk Hydro etter andre verdenskrig

[Report]. Handelshøyskolen BI.

Akademisk grad
År Akademisk institusjon Grad
2006 BI Norwegian Business School Ph.D Dr. Oecon.
1997 University of Oslo Master Cand. Philol.
1994 University of Oslo Bachelor
År Arbeidsgiver Tittel
2017 - Present Lactosa AS Chairman of Board
2010 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Associate Professor
2005 - 2009 BI Norwegian Business School Researcher
2000 - 2004 BI Norwegian Business School PhD Candidate
1997 - 1999 BI Norwegian Business School Researcher