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  • Public defence: 2019-08-29 13:15 S205h, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå
    Annelin, Alice
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Audit teams and audit quality: a sustainable development goal perspective2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation investigates the influence of audit teams on audit quality and produces a conceptual analysis through the perspective of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework (United Nations, 2017). Four articles study four different audit team factors, namely audit team hierarchical structures, team stress, team psychological distances and team equality. The conceptual analysis approach has been chosen to address the increasing demand for a better understanding of the accounting research role in sustainable development (Bebbington & Unerman, 2018), which drove the research problem focus in each article. This dissertation summarises the work that has been conducted in the four studies and also makes propositions for an SDG perspective on the work and for future research based on their findings.

    A unique set of data has been collected that contains information about auditors who have worked on the same engagements in the same team. The data has been collected by interviews and questionnaire surveys conducted in a field study, which have provided information that can be analysed using a qualitative and quantitative approach. The data has also included proprietary information about audit team client characteristics from a Big 4 audit firm. More specifically, this research has contributed to audit team, audit quality and the role of accounting in the achievement of the UN’s SDGs by answering several research questions. Results find that hierarchical power and status as well as trust play a role in audit team structure; audit team stress triggers and consequences include 1) team planning, competence, autonomy, 2) team changes, coordination and leadership, communication and cooperation and team support, and 3) team stress cognition, physical and affective forms; and, audit team psychological distances and equality has a relation to team behaviour. Findings can contribute to an understanding of equality and well-being in audit teams and therefore to the audit team’s achievement of the UN’s SDGs.

  • Public defence: 2019-08-30 13:00 Hörsal S205, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå
    Leijerholt, Ulrika
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Public sector branding: an internal brand management perspective2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The increased use of branding within the public sector signifies an important area for academic research that currently lacks theory and empirical evidence; public sector branding. Extant literature paints a scattered picture. On one hand, some branding principles appear to be equally relevant in the public sector as they are in the private sphere. On the other hand, the public sector appears to require a somewhat distinct approach to branding as there are contextual differences that may affect branding principles, their implementation, and outcomes. Thus, the field lacks established relevant theoretical frameworks to guide public sector organizations in their branding efforts.

    One particular area of interest is that of internal brand management. A strong organizational brand is dependent on the brand values being incorporated into the fabric of an organization and into the behaviors of its employees. How this outcome can be achieved in the public sector, however, is still unknown. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation is to investigate central factors affecting the implementation of internal brand management in the public sector, considering its specific nature.

    Through a multi-method study, this dissertation presents the synthesized findings of four individual papers. The first paper, a literature review, explores extant research on public sector branding. The next two papers are based on a qualitative case study, which includes interviews, observations, and brandrelated documents. The fourth paper is based on a quantitative study. The three empirical papers investigate various factors that influence internal brand management in the public sector.

    The synthesized findings demonstrate that organizations within the public sector need to approach branding in a manner that considers its distinct nature. From an internal brand management perspective this entails considering contextual, organizational, and individual factors. These factors have been found to affect branding principles and their implementation in public organizations and indicate the unique nature of public sector branding.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-06 09:00 A103, Byggnad 6A, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå
    Håglin, Sofia
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Science and Technology).
    Vitamin A regulated neuronal regeneration and homeostasis2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The olfactory epithelium is a dynamic tissue maintained by continuous neurogenesis throughout life. Upon injury, neurons and other olfactory cell types are regenerated through proliferation of horizontal stem cells. Some genes that regulate vitamin A metabolism are spatially expressed in the olfactory epithelium. Retinoic acid is a vitamin A derivate, a key regulator of proliferation and stem cell activity. Retinoic acid is generated and inactivated by enzymes with opposing expression patterns which create local variations in retinoic acid levels in the olfactory epithelium. The overall aim of this thesis is to elucidate functional relationships between retinoic acid metabolism and the regulation of temporal and spatial features of normal tissue homeostasis and regeneration of neurons within the olfactory epithelium.

    I have studied the association between the activity-dependent retinoic acid inactivating enzyme CYP26B1 and neurogenesis.  During doubled stimulation by odorants and air flow the level of CYP26B1 was further induced in olfactory sensory neurons and proliferation of progenitor/stem cells was increased. In the absence of stimuli, CYP26B1 expression was reduced and proliferation decreased. Stimuli-independent transgenic over-expression of CYP26B1 resul-ted in increased proliferation, which was compared to acute intranasal admini-stration of retinoic acid that reduced the number of proliferating cells.

    The region of the olfactory epithelium with low CYP26B1 and high levels of retinoic acid synthesizing enzymes had the greatest level of proliferation and regenerated efficiently after chemical induced injury. Furthermore, neurons in this region differentiated surprisingly fast. In the region with high CYP26B1 and low levels of retinoic acid synthesizing enzymes the proliferation rate was low and the regeneration after injury was incomplete. Together these results indicate that retinoic acid within the olfactory epithelial stem cell niche regulates local differences in functional neuronal diversity, neurogenesis, and generative capacity of olfactory epithelial progenitor/stem cells.

    My research has revealed that ageing as well as constitutive transgenic over-expression of CYP26B1 activated dormant horizontal basal stem cells in the olfactory epithelium in an injury like manner. Continuous stem cell activation by constitutive CYP26B1 expression, repeated injuries or old age results in the appearance of epithelial patches devoid of normal olfactory epithelial cells, containing metaplastic respiratory cells. The respiratory patches either contained ciliated cells or a previously unidentified columnar secretory cell type.  Moreover, we investigated whether increased proliferation of stem cells affected their regenerative potential over time. Repeated injury-repair cycles maximized the number of stem cell division, which decreased their potential to regenerate olfactory epithelial cells. Together these results indicate a premature exhaustion of the stem cell niche upon reduced levels of retinoic acid, repeated injury induced regeneration, and ageing.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-06 13:15 Aula Anatomica (Bio.A.206), Biologihuset, Umeå
    Krzywda, Jakub
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Computing Science.
    May the power be with you: managing power-performance tradeoffs in cloud data centers2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The overall goal of the work presented in this thesis was to find ways of managing power-performance tradeoffs in cloud data centers. To this end, the relationships between the power consumption of data center servers and the performance of applications hosted in data centers are analyzed, models that capture these relationships are developed, and controllers to optimize the use of data center infrastructures are proposed.

    The studies were motivated by the massive power consumption of modern data centers, which is a matter of significant financial and environmental concern. Various strategies for improving the power efficiency of data centers have been proposed, including server consolidation, server throttling, and power budgeting. However, no matter what strategy is used to enhance data center power efficiency, substantial reductions in the power consumption of data center servers can easily degrade the performance of hosted applications, causing customer dissatisfaction. It is therefore crucial for data center operators to understand and control power-performance tradeoffs.

    The research methods used in this work include experiments on real testbeds, the application of statistical methods to create power-performance models, development of various optimization techniques to improve the power efficiency of servers, and simulations to evaluate the proposed solutions at scale.

    This thesis makes multiple contributions. First, it introduces taxonomies for various aspects of data center configuration, events, management actions, and monitored metrics. We discuss the relationships between these elements and support our analysis with results from a set of testbed experiments. We demonstrate limitations on the usefulness of various data center management actions for controlling power consumption, including Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling (DVFS) and Running Average Power Limit (RAPL). We also demonstrate similar limitations on common measures for controlling application performance, including variation of operating system scheduling parameters, CPU pinning, and horizontal and vertical scaling. Finally, we propose a set of power budgeting controllers that act at the application, server, and cluster levels to minimize performance degradation while enforcing power limits.

    The results and analysis presented in this thesis can be used by data center operators to improve the power-efficiency of servers and reduce overall operational costs while minimizing performance degradation. All of the software generated during this work, including controller source code, virtual machine images, scripts, and simulators, has been open-sourced.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-11 10:00 Samhällsvetarhuset Hörsal D, Umeå
    Vaassen, Bram
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Causal after all: a model of mental causation for dualists2019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this dissertation, I develop and defend a model of causation that allows for dualist mental causation in worlds where the physical domain is physically complete.

    In Part I, I present the dualist ontology that will be assumed throughout the thesis and identify two challenges for models of mental causation within such an ontology: the exclusion worry and the common cause worry. I also argue that a proper response to these challenges requires a thoroughly lightweight account of causation, i.e. an account that allows for causes to be metaphysically distinct from the phenomena that produce or physically necessitate their effects.

    In Part II, I critically evaluate contemporary responses to these challenges from the philosophical literature. In particular, I discuss (i) List and Stoljar’s criticism of exclusion worries, (ii) Kroedel’s alternative dualist ontology, (iii) concerns about the notion of causal sufficiency, and (iv) Lowe’s models of dualist mental causation. I argue that none of these proposals provide independent motivation for a thoroughly lightweight account of causation and therefore leave room for improvement.

    In the first four chapters of Part III, I develop a thoroughly lightweight model of causation, which builds on interventionist approaches to causation. First, I explain how so-called ‘holding fixed’-requirements in standard interventionist accounts stand in the way of dualist mental causation. I then argue that interventionist accounts should impose a robustness condition on causal correlations and that, with this condition in place, the ‘holding fixed’-requirements can be weakened such that they do allow for dualist mental causation. I dub the interventionist model with such weakened ‘holding fixed’-requirements ‘insensitive interventionism’, argue that it can counter the exclusion worry as well as the common cause worry, and explain under which circumstances it would predict there to be dualist mental causation. Importantly, these circumstances might, for all we know, hold in the actual world.

    In the final three chapters of Part III, I defend insensitive interventionism against some objections. I consider the objection that causation must be productive, the objection that causes must (in some sense) physically necessitate their effects, and the objection that insensitive interventionism is too permissive. I respond by drawing from the literature on causation by absences and on the relation between causation and fundamental physics. Overall, insensitive interventionism performs as well as standard interventionist accounts. I conclude that insensitive interventionism is a credible model of causation.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-12 13:00 KBE301, KBC-huset
    Theens, Frithjof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC).
    Does language matter?: sources of inequivalence and demand of reading ability of mathematics tasks in different languages2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Practicing mathematics is not possible without the use of language. To communicate mathematical content, not only words in natural language are used but also non-verbal forms of communication such as mathematical symbols, graphs, and diagrams. All these forms of communication can be seen as part of the language used when doing mathematics. When mathematics tasks are used to assess mathematical competence, it is important to know how language can affect students’ possibility to solve the task. In this thesis, two different but related aspects of the relation between language and mathematics tasks are investigated. The first aspect concerns linguistic features of written mathematics task that can make the task more difficult to read and/or to solve. These features may result in unnecessary and unwanted reading demands, that is, the task then partially assesses students’ reading ability instead of their mathematical ability. The second aspect concerns differences between different language versions of mathematics tasks used in multilanguage assessments. These differences may cause inequivalence between the language versions, that is, the task may be more difficult to solve for students of one language group than students of another. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to investigate some of the effects that language can have on written mathematics tasks, in particular, on the validity of mathematics assessments. The thesis focuses on unnecessary reading demands and inequivalence in multilanguage assessments. The data in this thesis are obtained from tasks of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012. The task texts and the student results on these tasks are analyzed quantitatively to identify the occurrence and possible sources of unnecessary reading demands and inequivalence. Think-aloud-protocols and task-based interviews of students who had worked with some of the tasks, serve to qualitatively identify possible sources of reading demands and inequivalence, respectively.

    The results showed both unnecessary reading demands and inequivalence in some of the tasks. Some linguistic features were identified as possible sources of these reading demands, while others were not related to them. For example, sentence length was not related to reading demands of tasks in Swedish, whereas sentence structure was identified as a possible source of unnecessary reading demands. Some linguistic differences between different language versions of mathematics tasks were also identified as possible sources of inequivalence, and in addition there were curricular differences that were such potential sources. The findings of this thesis have implications for designing mathematics tasks both in one language and in multilingual settings. They may help to ensure validity of mathematics assessments, but also to make mathematics texts easier to understand for students in general.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-13 10:00 N 420, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå
    Ekman, Robin
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
    Quantum Kinetic Theory for Plasmas: spin, exchange, and particle dispersive effects2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis is about developing and studying quantum mechanical models of plasmas. Quantum effects can be important at high densities, at low temperatures, and in strong electromagnetic fields, in various laboratory and astrophysical systems. The focus is on the electron spin, the intrinsic magnetic moment; exchange interactions, a purely quantum mechanical effect arising from particles being indistinguishable; and particle dispersive effects, essentially the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The focus is on using phase-space formulations of quantum mechanics, namely Wigner and -functions. These methods allow carrying over techniques from classical plasma physics and identifying quantum as opposed to classical behavior.

    Two new kinetic models including the spin are presented, one fully relativistic and to first order in ħ, and one semi-relativistic but to all orders in ħ. Among other example calculations, for the former, conservation laws for energy, momentum, and angular momentum are derived and related to “hidden momentum” and the Abraham-Minkowski dilemma. Both models are discussed in the context of the existing literature.

    A kinetic model of exchange interactions, formally similar to a collision operator, is compared to a widely used fluid description based on density functional theory, for the case of electrostatic waves. The models are found to disagree significantly.

    A new, non-linear, wave damping mechanism is shown to arise from particle dispersive effects. It can be interpreted as the simultaneous absorption or emission of multiple wave quanta. This multi-plasmon damping is of particular interest for highly degenerate electrons, where it can occur on time scales comparable to or shorter than that of linear Landau damping.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-13 10:15 S 205 h, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå
    Enqvist, Lena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Law.
    En myndighet i samverkan: Försäkringskassans rättsliga förutsättningar att samverka med Arbetsförmedlingen samt hälso- och sjukvården2019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This doctoral thesis investigates and analyzes the legal conditions under which the Swedish Social Insurance Agency may engage in cooperation with the Swedish Public Employment Service and Swedish Health Care Providers (both public and private), regarding rehabilitation, information exchange and investigation measures in individual sick leave insurance cases. It also presents an analysis of whether these legal conditions contribute to safeguarding legality and legal certainty when the Social Insurance Agency is involved in cooperation.

    Overall the thesis concludes that the legal conditions for such cooperation are good in terms of assistance regarding rehabilitation, information exchange and investigation measures. The designated assignment of the Social Insurance Agency relating to the distribution of sickness benefits is also such that any cooperation that helps the individual's rehabilitation or the investigation and assessment of entitlement to such benefits is encouraged. The legality and legal certainty in such cooperation is also found to be fundamentally safeguarded, since it follows from the principle of legality in Swedish administrative law that any measures taken by the Social Insurance Agency in cooperation with other bodies must be founded in the constitutional legal order. However, since the Social Insurance Agency's assignment pertains to the distribution of positive rights and benefits, the requirements governing how clearly stated and distinct such legal support must be are generally less stringent. This is reflected in the rules and principles identified as supporting or limiting the legal conditions for cooperation, as in many cases they lack detailed prerequisites for when they may be used or what should be done. Many of the legal rules or legal principles that limit the authority and power to freely design the possible content, aims and process practice of cooperation are also not specifically aimed at regulating such situations. Moreover, in many cases they are found in constitutional or general administrative law principles that are essentially abstract, and not usually applied by administrators in the handling of individual cases. This, in turn, affects the overall impact that the supporting factors of legality and legal certainty can have in the Social Insurance Agency's multi-party cooperation. These supporting factors include the Agency's duties to ensure independent decision-making (ideally) based on a clearly designated assignment, to comply with the legal principles of objectivity, equality before the law and foreseeability, and to respect the individual's personal integrity in multi-party cooperation.