Photo of Janet Johansson

Janet Johansson

Associate Professor

I explore ethics of care to enrich the understanding of leadership, management and the organisational pursuits of equality and diversity.


I am a researcher and educator in the field of organisational studies, particularly in topics relating to management and leadership. My research interest spans an eclectic array of areas including leadership, identity, gender studies, employee well-being, as well as equality, diversity and social inclusion in workplaces.

I accomplished my doctoral education at Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University. My doctoral thesis focuses on lifestyle factors that influence business leaders’ identity construction and leadership practices. For my thesis, I interviewed 24 sporty top managers, CEOs and corporate executives from Sweden. I took a critical approach, and used social theories of self-presentation, dramaturgical theories of social life, theories of athleticism and embodiment. I examined how sporty top managers enact informal activities in the lifestyle domain to strengthen their identity as competitive business leaders; and how they, in turn exert leadership power to construct new health ethics and behavioural norms in organisations. Based on this research, I also published one peer-reviewed journal article in 2017 (in Human Relations). Another article is currently under the review process.

Before joining Linköping University, I worked as a lecturer and researcher at Stockholm Business School (Stockholm University), Mälardalen University, Linnaeus University and Södertörn University. I have involved in teaching activities in courses such as Organisation Theories, Management Theories and Analysis, Power, Change and Resistance, Advanced Management Theories, Human Resource Management. I supervised and examined theses. I worked as a researcher in the projects of “Digitalised Work and Organisations (DAO)” (a research of digitisation of the Swedish metal industry). Based on the empirical study, I published a case report and one peer-reviewed original journal article.

The research project I am currently working on is “Performing equality on, in front of and behind the stage” (a research on equality strategies and practices in Riksteatern). I draw on the thoughts from Critical Diversity Studies, and use framing theories, feminist theories of ethics and care to explore paradoxes, issues, dilemmas that remain in the organisation’s pursuits of equality and diversity. I also focus on foregrounding individuals’, especially the vulnerable individuals’ agency in co-constructing the practices and discourses around equality, diversity and social inclusion. In addition, with this work, I aim to explore more profound understanding of the complexity of the hybrid organisations (the combined organisational form of both the professional organisation and the voluntary association). I have two journal articles currently under review based on this research project.



Johansson, J. (2017). ”Sweat is weakness leaving the body”: a study on the self-presentational practices of sporty top managers in Sweden. Doctoral Thesis. Stockholm University, Sweden

Peer-reviewed original articles

Johansson, J., Tienari, J. and Valtonen, A. (2017) The body, identity and gender in managerial athleticism. Human Relations, 70(9): 1141‒1167. First published date: January-17-2017

Johansson, J., Asztalos Morell, I., & Lindell, E. (2020). Gendering the digitalized metal industry. Gender, Work & Organization, 27(6), 1321- 1345.

Ahonen, P., Blomberg, A., Doerr, K., Einola, K., Elkina, A., Gao, G., . . . Johansson, J., Zhang, L. (2020). Writing resistance together. Gender, Work and Organization, 27(4), 447-470.

Johansson, J., & Edwards, M. (2021). Exploring caring leadership through a feminist ethic of care: The case of a sporty CEO. Leadership, 17(3), 318– 335.

Johansson, J. Z., & Lindström Sol, S. (2021). Artistic Freedom or the Hamper of Equality? Exploring Ethical Dilemmas in the Use of Artistic Freedom in a Cultural Organization in Sweden. Journal of Business Ethics, 1- 15.

Cozza, M., Gherardi, S., Graziano, V., Johansson, J., Mondon‐Navazo, M., Murgia, A., & Trogal, K. (2021). COVID‐19 as a breakdown in the texture of social practices. Gender, Work & Organization, 28, 190-208.

Johansson, J., and Wickström, A., (2022). Constructing a ‘different’ strength: a feminist exploration of vulnerability, ethical agency and care. Journal of Business Ethics.

Peer-reviewed conference contributions 2016 - 2022

Johansson, J. (2016). Becoming an athleticist role model: a study on the emotional and somatic aspects of the identity construction of a sporty CEO. 32nd EGOS conference (subtheme 48: Theorising Power in, through and from Leadership Development), Naples, Italy

Johansson, J., Asztalos Morell. I., & Lindell, E. (2018). Gendering the digital revolution of metal industry. Gender, Work and Organizations Conference, Sydney, Australia

Johansson, J. & Edward, M. (2018). Exploring practices of ethics of care in the meritocratic system in academic leadership positions. Gender, Work and Organizations Conference, 2018, Sydney, Australia

Johansson, J., & Wickström, A. (2019) Exploring humanity in ‘otherness’: an analysis of individual initiatives in equality and diversity work in a Swedish performing arts touring company. Gender, Work and Organizations Conference, 2020 (Kent Business School, UK) (postponed to 2021 on Zoom)

Johansson, J. & Linström Sol, S. (2021) Artistic freedom or the hamper of differences? Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism (SCOS). Copenhagen Business School. 6-9 July 2020 (postponed to 2021 on ZOOM)

Johansson, J., Lindström, S., Wigren, C., & Vogal, A. (2022). Exploring performative strengths in collaborative, reflexive dialogues through care. AfterMethod Conference, Mälärdalen University, Västerås, Sweden

Johansson, J. & Risberg, A. (2022). Performing diversity and normalizing disability: an analysis of inclusion and exclusion of the ‘silent’ others. EGOS (Sub-theme 36: Invisible Inequalities in and around Organizations: Sources, Manifestations, and Consequences) conference, Vienna, Austria

Johansson, J. and Wickström, A. (2021) Exploring humanity in ‘otherness’: an analysis of individual initiatives in equality and diversity work in a Swedish performing arts touring company. Gender Work and Organization Conference Name, Kent Business School (digital).

Johansson, J. (2016). Becoming an athleticist role model: a study on the emotional and somatic aspects of the identity construction of a sporty CEO”. Conference of European Group for Organizational Studies, Naples, Italy.

Other publications including popular science books/presentations

Johansson, J. (2018). [Review of the book Gender and Employment in Rural China, by Song, J.] Gender, Work and Organisation, 25:741–744

Johansson, J. (2017). Challenges and opportunities in digitalized work and management – Case Study 8. School of Business, Society and Engineering, Department of Economy, Society and Technique (EST). Västerås: Mälardalen University. ISBN: 978-91-7485-363-6


Janet Johansson, Grace Gao, Ingela Solvell, Caroline Wigren-Kristoferson (2024) Exploring caring collaborations in academia through feminist reflexive dialogs Gender, Work and Organization Continue to DOI
Anna-Liisa Kaasila-Pakanen, Pauliina Jaaskelainen, Grace Gao, Emmanouela Mandalaki, Ling Eleanor Zhang, Katja Einola, Janet Johansson, Alison Pullen (2024) Writing touch, writing (epistemic) vulnerability Gender, Work and Organization, Vol. 31, p. 264-283 Continue to DOI


Caroline Wigren-Kristoferson, Janet Johansson (2023) Organizing good life by co-constructing sustainable living spaces through caring collaborations
Janet Johansson, Andrea Fried (2023) Introducing the philosophy of hope to restore the power of imagination in utopian and dystopian discourses in organization research
Janet Johansson, Alice Wickström (2023) Constructing a 'Different' Strength: A Feminist Exploration of Vulnerability, Ethical Agency and Care Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 184, p. 317-331 Continue to DOI

Media Exposure of my doctoral research

Swedish newspaper and business press

Affärsvärlden: published on Feb. 7th, 2018, “Uthållighetssporter stärker chefsidentiteten”

Dagens Nyheter: published on May 28th, 2017, “Chefer som elitidrottar favoriserar de som tränar”

Tidning Chef: Nr. 06/7, 2017, page 50-53, article by Karin O´Mahony, “Extremesportande chefer – fara för vi-känslan?”

Näringsliv SvD: Tuesday 27 Sept., 2016, article by Johanna Cederblad, “Moderna toppchefer mer som Putin än Churchill”

Aftonbladet: published on Tuesday, 2 Sept, 2014, article by Lejring, Ellna Bratt, “Träningshets - eller?” (“Is it the heat of exercises?”)

Aftonbladet: published on 15 July, 2016, “Träning för överklass Extrema sporter passar ett framgångsrikt företag”

Vocational magazines

Vårdforbundet: published on 2017-04-27, “Sportiga chefer ser sig själva som atletiska ledare”

Civilekonomen: published on 2017-05-09 by Philip Wallin, ”Sportiga chefer: nej tack till överviktiga”

Computer Sweden: published on 2017-05-02, by Karin Lindström, ”Forskning: Sportiga chefer belönar hälsosamma medarbetare”

Prevent: published on 25 April 2017, by Marianne Zetterblom,  ”Chefer som extremtränar skapar press” 

ETC: published 2016-03-19, ”Hur påverkas man av ett träningsfreak till chef?”

Arbetsliv (journal of working life), 14 May, 2014, article by Eldh, Margaretha, “Allt fler extremtränar” (“Many more work out extremely hard”)

Jusektidning, 31 January, 2014, article by Bergström, AnnMarie, “Det nya karriärspåret” (”the new career passage”)

Arbetsmiljö/Ledarskap, 15 May, 2014, article by Anki Udd, ” Fysisk träning – privatsak eller arbetskrav?” (”physical exercises, private matter or work craft?”) 


Tidning Chef, 17 September 2014, article by André, Maria, “Därför extremtränar många chefer” (”Therefore many top managers workout extremely hard”)

University press

Universitetsnytt, 5 November, 2014, article by Madeleine Salomon, "Ledarskap i vältränade kroppar” (”leadership in the well-trained body”)

TV and radio

Swedish TV channel 4, economic news

Swedish Radio SP1:Sverige Radio, Vetenskapsradion Forum

Sent on Wednesday, 6 July "Elitmotionerande chefer"

International media

Norwegian media: published on 14. October, 2014, ”Derfor er din chef så vild med ekstremsport: Flere og flere topchefer træner til maraton og triatlon, da det skaber en følelse af kontrol og selvsikkerhed. Der er gået ren inflation i træning”