Making us wiser in corporate governance

Øyvind Bøhren

Professor Øyvind Bøhren receives BI's award for impact on society and research communication 2018. - Bøhren participates in many of the major business debates, has an international impact, and has sold 150,000 textbooks, the jury said.

AWARD: Impact on Society and Science Communication

BI's prize for impact on society and research communication is granted to researchers who have contributed to discussions and changes in society through outstanding research communication.

The prize consists of a diploma and 50.000 kroner that the winner may use to promote and further develop his activities related to general and user-oriented research communication.

Increased knowledge on corporate governance

Professor Øyvind Bøhren of the Department of Finance won BI's prize for societal impact and research communication 2018.

The award winner demonstrates high quality, both in his research and in how he communicates, the jury writes in its statement.

In recent years, Bøhren has been particularly keen on developing new knowledge about corporate governance through the Centre for Corporate Governance Research at BI.

Corporate Governance is about the relationship between owners, the board, and management in both private and public enterprises. It is not unusual for the relationship between the three roles to trigger conflicts that create severe challenges for businesses. Some of these conflicts make their way into the media.

The controversy around Statistics Norway, the execution of ownership at Norges Bank, and Kjell Inge Røkke's treatment of minority shareholders are just a few examples of conflicts we have been able to follow in the media. Common to these three cases is that Bøhren has contributed with academic perspectives. The jury has noted that Øyvind Bøhren has been engaged in many of the major business debates over the last few years.

Interaction with practitioners

Research at the Centre for Corporate Governance Research (CCGR) is funded by sponsors who believe there is a need for more research-based knowledge in this area. The sponsors are represented in CCGR’s council, but have no influence on the selection and execution of the research projects.

On the other hand, Bøhren and his research colleagues can use the members of the council to discuss the practical relevance of the academic questions. Bøhren also involves members of the council when he is to share research results through articles in the media. This applies to both practical relevance and whether the text is understandable. As such, research communication becomes an integral part of the research activity.

The jury notes that this interaction with those who can use the knowledge, helps making communication through the media more accurate, whether through articles or interviews.

The research must be shared

Øyvind Bøhren is more than happy to talk to both journalists and practitioners about topics he can clarify and shine light on with his knowledge and academic insight. In his research communication, he often starts with his own research that has undergone quality control through international publication in peer-refereed journals. He respectfully declines to comment on topics where he does not feel he can confidently contribute from an academic platform.

Through such an attitude towards research communication, Bøhren has built a high level of credibility, both in the media and among those who have roles as leaders, in management or ownership, the jury says.

Communicates on a wide scale

Øyvind Bøhren is genuinely keen to make new research results known to those who can put the knowledge into use. He does this through both Norwegian and international media and through arenas such as seminars and conferences aimed at both researchers and practitioners. This applies, for example, to BI's annual board conference, where Bøhren has the academia responsibility.

He also encourages his research colleagues at the Department of Finance to write articles to give new research greater impact.

The prize winner also demonstrates an exemplary ability to associate research results with hot topics in the societal debate, so that more attention is paid to the results of the research.

The jury notes that Bøhren does not shy away from challenging powerful players in society. He is clear, precise and fearless when, for example, he criticizes key members of the business community for how they exercise their ownership rights.

Øyvind Bøhren has published two textbooks in finance and one textbook in corporate governance. Two of these books have been published in the last three years. In total, the three books have been sold more than 150,000 copies. This number is so large that Bøhren’s textbooks alone have had a significant effect on practice, the jury states.

International impact

Although Øyvind Bøhren’s research laboratory is Norwegian businesses, he succeeds in gaining international attention on his research. He has recently published posts about his research for the academic blogs at Harvard Law School and Oxford Business Law School.

The jury has no doubt that Øyvind Bøhren has not only succeeded in finding new answers to difficult questions in corporate governance. He has also succeeded in increasing knowledge so that it can contribute to better practice. Put simply, he has helped make all of us a little wiser.

The jury highlights Øyvind Bøhren as a role model for other researchers in how you can gain momentum in society through research communication,. The jury hopes that the prize can inspire Bøhren to continue being active in his research and research communication.

This year’s jury:

The jury who has evaluated candidates for BI's award for impact on society and research communication 2018, consisted of Håkon Haugli, Executive Director of Abelia, Elisabeth Berge, Secretary General of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Vibeke Holth, Editor of Kapital, Tor Haugnes, Lecturer at BI and Martine Ramstad Høge, student representative.

About the prize:

BI's award for impact on society and research communication awards researchers who have contributed largely to social change through outstanding research communication, cooperation with business and public affairs, participation in boards and public councils/committees and participation in societal debate

The prize was awarded for the first time in 2007, when it was given to professor Arne Jon Isachsen.

The prize winner must fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  • Contribute to societal changes based on research and academic knowledge through research communication, cooperation with business and public enterprises, participation in boards and public councils/committees.
  • Versatile use of communication channels and forms of expression (oral and written, language and image), both in traditional and digital and social media.
  • Initiates research communication and inspires others to communicate research.
  • The ability to have dialogue and cooperation with practitioners.
  • Creativity and innovative research communication.

Special emphasis is placed on research communication that contributes to social changes (better decisions, smarter ways of doing things and new products and services based on research results).

Previous prize winners:

2017: Hilde C. Bjørnland
2015: Øyvind Kvalnes
2012: Torger Reve
2009: Hilde C. Bjørnland
2008: Jørgen Randers
2007: Arne Jon Isachsen

Text: Audun Farbrot, Head of Science Communication, BI Norwegian Business School.

Published 19. January 2018

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