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Maria Booth: House of Innovation’s latest PhD graduate

House of Innovation is proud to present its latest PhD graduate: Maria Booth. She had her thesis defense last week, and we took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her time at SSE, her research and her plans the future. Congratulations, Maria!

Please tell us about yourself. 

Swedish. 40 years old. Mother of two. Married to a Brit. An MSc from SSE with a specialization in finance. I have worked in finance as a risk and portfolio analyst in commercial real estate, then as the CFO in a battery start-up for a few years.

Why did you decide to follow the Ph.D. program in Business Administration at SSE?

Returning to academia has always been lingering as an option in the back of my mind. When working for a start-up I got interested in how innovation was managed. I have always been interested in how the social world works and realized that I could actually pursue that hobby as a career. It is such a treat to be able to dig deep into a topic at this level of detail to explore and discover how things are connected.

What is your research about?

My research took an unexpected turn from innovation management to how new product development was done, and then to organizing in general. My thesis is about organizational routines and how process descriptions in organizations affect how people work. All organizations have these processes, but many can at the same time both over and underestimate what they do to the ways work is carried out.

Which were the most interesting learnings throughout the program?

That’s a difficult question to answer! I think that the most interesting learnings have come from a combination of what I have learned from my research and what I have learned about being a researcher. I think I look at the social world slightly differently today and question and problematize more than I did before.

What were the biggest challenges?

As a former practitioner, it was difficult to let go of trying to find solutions to problems. Researchers are not management or organization consultants that should identify solutions. Our job is to understand what happens rather than to say what should happen.

What’s next?

I am planning on staying in academia and will be hanging around SSE for a while!

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