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  • Public defence: 2017-11-08 09:15 Case, Västerås
    Nordlander, Eva
    Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center.
    System studies of Anaerobic Co-digestion Processes2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Production of biogas through anaerobic digestion is one pathway to achieving the European Union (EU) goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the share of renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency. In this thesis, two different models (Anaerobic Digestion Model No. 1 and an artificial neural network) are used to simulate a full-scale co-digester in order to evaluate the feasibility of such models. This thesis also includes models of two systems to study the inclusion of microalgae in biogas plants and wastewater treatment plants. One of the studies is a life-cycle assessment in which replacement of the ley crop with microalgae is evaluated. The other study concerns the inclusion of microalgae in case studies of biological treatment in three wastewater treatment plants. Finally, the co-digestion between microalgae and sewage sludge has been simulated to evaluate the effect on biogas and methane yield. The results showed that Anaerobic Digestion Model No.1 and the artificial neural network are suitable for replicating the dynamics of a full-scale co-digestion plant. For the tested period, the artificial neural network showed a better fit for biogas and methane content than the Anaerobic Digestion Model No. 1. Simulations showed that co-digestion with microalgae tended to reduce biomethane production. However, this depended on the species and biodegradability of the microalgae. The results also showed that inclusion of microalgae could decrease carbon dioxide emissions in both types of plants and decrease the energy demand of the studied wastewater treatment plants. The extent of the decrease in the wastewater treatment plants depended on surface volume. In the biogas plant, the inclusion of microalgae led to a lower net energy ratio for the methane compared to when using ley crop silage. Both studies show that microalgae cultivation is best suited for use in summer in the northern climate.

  • Public defence: 2017-11-10 13:15 Tentum, Eskilstuna
    Yuwanich, Nuttapol
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare.
    Occupational stress among Thai emergency department nurses: Development and validation of an instrument for measuring stressors in emergency departments2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Working at an emergency department has some characteristics, which may generate stress. In this thesis, the stressors for emergency nurses were evaluated and an instrument was developed for measuring their impact. In order to gain a deeper understanding regarding the occupational stress among emergency nurses, a descriptive qualitative design with semi-structured interviews were used in two studies (I, II), one at a private and the other at a public hospital in Thailand. Three main categories of stressors were identified, related to the activity at the emergency departments, to human factors and to perceived consequences of these factors. Nurses in both private and public hospitals frequently experienced occupational stress, which influenced their psychophysiological health, and resulted in incomplete nursing care. Since no validated instrument had been published for measuring stressors in emergency nurses’ workplace, a scoping literature review was performed and a questionnaire for this purpose was developed, based on the review and the results from the interviews (I and II). The questionnaire was validated (III) and the influence of socio-economic factors were evaluated (IV). Four-hundred and five emergency nurses in Thailand completed a questionnaire containing 59 items. The responses were analyzed using 1) item generation, 2) content and face validity and test-retest reliability and 3) evaluation of the internal consistency and construct validity of the instrument. An exploratory factor analysis was performed on 200 of these responses and a confirmatory factor analysis on the remaining 205. The analysis provided a final four-factor solution with 25 items distributed among the factors Life and death situations, Patients’ and families’ actions and reactions, Technical and formal support, and Conflicts. The statistical evaluation (Cronbach’s alpha and intra-class correlation coefficient) indicated good homogeneity and stability. The type of organization, educational level and average income were associated with stressor related to Life and Death situations. Stressor related to Patients’ and families’ actions and reactions was predicted by educational level. While sociodemographic variables had no influence on stressor related to Technical and formal support and Conflicts. Future research regarding patient safety should focus on both emergency nurses’ and patients’ perspectives regarding consequences of occupational stress related to patient safety. Different perspectives may create a knowledge-base which can be used to develop guidelines or protocols aiming at reducing nurses’ stress and prevent its consequence, such as poor patient safety.

  • Public defence: 2017-11-15 09:15 Delta, Västerås
    Ljungblad, Jonas
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    High performance breath alcohol analysis2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol breath testing on a larger scale will save lives. Alcohol intake affects the human body by significantly longer response time to external stimuli. In demanding situations where the senses need to be on alert a prolonged reaction time can be the difference between life and death, both for the intoxicated subject and for surrounding  individuals.

    The aims of this thesis include investigations of a new type of breath alcohol sensor, designed for operation without a mouthpiece, both with regards to sensor performance as well as usability in relation to various breath  alcohol  screening applications.

    In many situations where breath alcohol screening is suitable, there is a need for quick and easy use. The instrument should interfere as little as possible with the regular routines and procedures. One such task is driving. To accommodate for these needs in an in-vehicle application, the breath alcohol sensing system must be seamlessly installed in the vehicle and not interfere with the normal behavior of the sober driver. Driving is also a task requiring high level of concentration over a prolonged period of time. In the U.S. alone thousands of lives are annually lost in accidents where the driver was under the influence of  alcohol.  Similar numbers have been recorded for Europe. The potential for a system handling the needs for ease-of-use is huge and may result in successful products.

    The results presented within this thesis provide experimental evidence of sufficient sensor performance for screening applications with an instrument operating without a mouthpiece. Smarter calculation methods were also shown to be a feasible path to improved measurement reliability. Important steps towards an even more passive solution for in-vehicle screening is also presented. Experiments showed that given enough time and sensor resolution, passive alcohol detection systems are feasible.

    The full text will be freely available from 2017-10-25 08:00
  • Public defence: 2017-11-15 13:00 Omega, Västerås
    Gillmore, Edward
    Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.
    Four essays on subsidiary evolution: Exploring the antecedents, contexts and outcomes of mandate loss2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The emergence of enhancement or depletion of subsidiary charters is driven by two different types of organizational units and the environment. (1) The parent is ultimately responsible for the establishment of subsidiaries and will greatly impact its evolution by involvement. (2) Evolution is also largely contingent on the subsidiary’s choice. (3) The environment is critical in the evolutionary process as changes in the environment will influence the parent and subsidiary in their choices (Birkinshaw, 1996; Birkinshaw and Hood, 1998; Cantwell and Mudambi, 2005). The thesis sets out to investigate the drivers and effects of mandating on subsidiary evolution within the MNE. The departure in this thesis from the literature is its specific focus on how mandates are lost in complex networked Multinational Enterprise’s (MNE) and the effect this has on subsidiary resources and relationship development.

    This thesis bases its empirical analysis on data collected from two qualitative rounds of interviews collected in two Swedish multinational enterprises, Alfa and Beta, and 36 of their foreign subsidiaries based in Europe, China, India and N. America. This yielded 112 interviews, the first round of interviews investigates the headquarters drivers of mandating and the network characteristics of mandated subsidiaries. It became apparent during this first round that mandates were lost by subsidiaries quite often and that they continued operating. These counterfactuals informed the second round of interviews, here the focus zooms in on the consequences of the loss of R&D mandates on subsidiary evolution. Specifically, the thesis examines the resource and relationship characteristics of the focal subsidiaries and the impact of mandate loss. 

    The study builds on four essays that taken together suggests if the MNE relocates mandates with the purpose of accessing resources, efficiency seeking, or as a response to endogenous and/or exogenous pressures, the process of mandating presents subsidiaries, that are not wound-down, spun-off or closed, with the opportunity and space to evolve its charter. This has far-reaching possible consequences for both the subsidiary and the MNE not least in resource and relationship combinations and orchestration and managing capabilities. Secondly, the thesis calls into question the importance of mandates and that researchers should pay more attention to the formal and informal tenets of mandates i.e. the combinations of mandate relationships and resources. The mandate is a well established indicator of the subsidiaries formal activities and responsibilities, however, it is not indicative of the informal behavior of a subsidiary which in this thesis is shown to be important in equal parts for the subsidiary’s evolution.

    The full text will be freely available from 2017-10-25 02:21
  • Public defence: 2017-11-24 09:00 Beta, Västerås
    Åkerlind, Charlotta
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
    eHomecare – for safety and communication in everyday life: The perspectives of older users, relatives and care managers2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The overall aim of this thesis was to examine how eHomecare affects the daily lives of older users and their relatives, with a focus on safety and communication. A further aim was to explore care managers’ perspectives, expectations and experiences of eHomecare and its implementation. Methods: Participants in study one and two were older people with granted eHomecare and eight relatives and, care managers in study three and four. Data were collected through four qualitative studies, using individual interviews in the first and second studies before the introduction and after six months’ use of eHomecare, by individual vignette-based interviews in the third study, and with focus-group interviews in the fourth study. Data were analysed using different qualitative content analyses. Results: The participants described safety as a part of everyday life. eHomecare was found to facilitate a ‘new safety’ for older people and a ‘re-established safety’ for relatives, yet its use raised concerns about ethical considerations and reduced human contact. Participants could attain feelings of togetherness and affection through communication, although this was also considered a vulnerable activity due to physical changes and loss of other people. Used correctly, eHomecare increased communication and thus closeness and participation for the participants. For older participants unable to use the technology as hoped, eHomecare led to disappointment. Care managers expressed that eHomecare can increase older peoples’ everyday life-quality if they receive the right tools at the right time. Care managers, however, have difficulties with eHomecare’s management process. While they struggle with their own attitudes, lack of time and high workloads, their decisions are also influenced by surrounding organisations and the older people’s relatives. Care managers’ own organisations, work situations, relevant stakeholders and society in general can hinder them in managing eHomecare as a new homecare service. Widespread information about eHomecare and opportunities for relevant stakeholders to participate in its implementation are good preconditions for fulfilling the mission of care managers. Conclusions: The findings describe eHomecare from the perspectives of its older users, their relatives and the care managers responsible for managing the service. Used correctly, eHomecare increases possibilities for communication and provides safety. However, care managers have a complex mission when managing the service and they express a need for support and knowledge. The findings can be used clinically to develop older peoples’ utilization of eHomecare and to develop support for the fulfilment of care managers’ mission.

    Keywords: care managers, content analysis, communication, eHomecare, experiences, information and communication technology, older people, participation, perceptions, relatives, safety, welfare technology

  • Public defence: 2017-12-08 10:00 Raspen, Eskilstuna
    Sannö, Anna
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
    Time to change: zipping sustainability into operations2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Industry is a key player in the transition to a sustainable society, where manufacturing companies need to respond to the challenges of environmental concerns in several ways. The need for managing environmental technological change in production systems is and will continue to be a challenge for manufacturing companies, as they often tend to focus on short-term priorities to stay economically competitive, rather than developing the organisation to manage longer-term environmental competitiveness.

    In accordance with this, the objective of the thesis is to develop an understanding of how to manage environmental technological change in a production system. By identifying four categories of contextual preparedness, these being short-term focused, trade-off prepared, balance-seeking or long-term prepared, the thesis provides perspectives on how to manage change related to time and contextual aspects. The operation managers need to manage the projects by allocating individuals who can work systematically and build a strong knowledge base by collaborating with internal and external stakeholders. It shows that knowledge is not only about technology but also about realising the need for change and developing strong longer-term objectives.

    A model is developed to support operations managers with purposeful actions, such as reflecting upon their long-term capabilities and making conscious decisions when to manage their environmental technology change processes regarding their own production system. The model presents how to “zip” sustainability into operations, so as to provide guidance for operations managers on how to systematically manage long-term change in a context that needs to work with multiple time aspects - and priorities. By using the term zip it is emphasised that the long-term developments have to be consciously integrated into the organisation aligned to the short-term needs.

    Literature reviews, as well as four empirical case studies, have been conducted in order to explore environmental technological change. In the first two studies, the factors which affect environmental technological change in a production system have been identified. In the two subsequent studies the change processes as such were studied, leading to an increased understanding of how the production system and temporal dimensions influence the change processes. The studies conducted and the results are presented in six appended papers.