Professor Daniel Nyberg
Newcastle Business School (Management and Organisational Studies)
- Phone:(02) 49217923
From the politics of global warming to the economics of democracy, Professor Daniel Nyberg is seeking to understand how corporations responsibly – or not so responsibly – engage with society and the environment.
Professor Daniel Nyberg is tackling some of the most pressing and complicated problems in the world. Indeed, delving deep into the unknowns of everything from climate change and capitalism to the intricate relationship between industry and government is ‘business as usual’ for the business researcher, who takes an interdisciplinary approach to his studies on the activities of corporations.
“These are some of the biggest threats facing humankind,” he affirms.
“How could you not be interested?”
Under watchful eyes
Daniel’s research career began in 2005, when he undertook a PhD at the University of Melbourne. Largely considered an ethnography, the three-year probe sought to observe the different levels of control exercised by key personnel in call centres across Australia.
“Some years ago, most or all workplaces used to have supervisors who would stand over employees’ shoulders telling them what to do and what not to do,” he says.
“When their backs were turned, other staff could easily work a little bit slower or take a short rest break.”
“There is nowhere to hide or slack off in call centres, however, because supervisors are listening in to phone conversations and can see on their screens exactly what people are saying and doing every minute of every day.”
Also reflecting on the opportunities and challenges presented by the Digital Era in this “extreme scenario,” Daniel looked to understand the value and implications of control from multiple angles.
“Electronic video surveillance now means workers are observed around the clock – they don’t know when or where so they always have to behave,” he explains.
“Advancements in technology have similarly allowed us to get closer to our tools.”
“Those in call centres regularly work with their computers, for example, rather than towards them.”
“They wear headsets and often repeat exactly what is written on the monitor – there are no deviations.”
Shifting the onus
Daniel relocated to The Netherlands after receiving his award in 2008, signing on to pioneer further research on corporate control and responsibility at Radboud University. The Swedish native specifically focused on defining the “not-so-easily defined” during his stint abroad, leading a project on long-term sickness absence in the workplace.
“The goal was to identify how organisations deal with employees who are burnt out or stressed or ill due to their jobs,” he recalls.
“This work was on the back of new policies that were implemented right across the continent.”
Exploring a number of social welfare programs and policies throughout the enquiry, Daniel concedes his findings were a very “mixed bag.”
“Perhaps not so surprisingly, I discovered that a lot of countries in Europe manage long-term sickness absences through ‘activation,’” he reveals.
“Basically, this assumes that it is the responsibility of the individuals themselves to ensure they recover and return to work as quickly as possible.”
“It is my belief, however, that you need to be healthy in order to deal with an illness – if you are employed within an organisation and work makes you sick and it is your job to get better, there is limited room for you, the employee, to move, as you cannot change how your organisation operates.”
“So we can liberate people to take care of themselves but we also need to liberate them in the workplace.”
E is for eco-conscious
Daniel spent the next four years at the University of Sydney and then the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, turning his attention to corporate responses to climate change. He also published a book on it in September 2015.
“I wanted to know how businesses deal with this issue internally, such as through the design and delivery of green products and services, as well as how they deal with it in the industry, such as with carbon offsets, and how they deal with it in the public debate,” the bilinguist elaborates.
“It’s important to understand what corporations are doing in order to mitigate and/or minimise its effects.”
“We also need to have knowledge about what they’re doing so we can regulate their activities.”
Moving to the Hunter in April of last year to become a Professor of the University of Newcastle’s Business School, Daniel again looked to expand his research focus.
“I’m currently exploring how corporations influence democracy,” he states.
“The clearest example is the Labor Government’s super profit tax proposal of 2010, which the mining industry vehemently opposed.”
“Even though it spent $22 million doing so, calculations by the Australian Financial Review suggest it saved $10 billion by agreeing to a truce with then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard.”
“So, you can see it’s often much easier and cheaper for corporations to deal with public policies than it is for them to deal with their processes.”
Daniel Nyberg is Professor of Management at Newcastle Business School and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. His research investigates how global and societal phenomena are translated into local organisational realities. He is currently pursuing this on projects relating to how corporations respond to climate change, the politics of ‘fracking’, and corporate political activities influencing public policy. He has led major research projects funded by the European Commission and the Australian Research Council, and published in international journals including: Organization Studies, Organization, Human Relations, Environment and Planning: A, British Journal of Sociology, and British Journal of Industrial Relation. Daniel has a forthcoming book later this year (with Professor Chris Wright at Sydney University): Climate change, capitalism and corporations: Processes of creative self-destruction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Research Expertise
My main research interest is investigating how organizations take part in negotiating and shaping how we, as individuals, organizations, and societies, respond to global or societal phenomena. I am pursuing this research interest on projects relating to how corporations respond to climate change, the politics of fracking, and corporate political activities influencing public policy. The empirical projects are based on public documents and interviews, mainly using a discursive approach. Central to my diverse range of research interests is displaying power relations within and between organizations, and engendering moral or ethical business practice.
- PhD, University of Melbourne
- Bachelor of Social Science, Stockholm University - Sweden
- Master of Human Resources Management, University of Western Australia
- Master of Social Science, Stockholm University - Sweden
- Climate change
- Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility
- Corporate Political Activities
- Foundations of Research
- Research Methods
- Swedish (Fluent)
Fields of Research
|150303||Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement||25|
|150310||Organisation and Management Theory||50|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Professor||University of Newcastle
Newcastle Business School
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Book (1 outputs)
Wright C, Nyberg BD, Climate change, capitalism and corporations: Processes of creative self-destruction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 254 (2015) [A1]
Chapter (6 outputs)
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Re-producing a neoliberal political regime: Competing justifications and dominance in disputing fracking', Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations: Contributions from French Pragmatist Sociology, Emerald Publishing, Bingley, UK 143-171 (2017) [B1]
|2015||van Gestel N, Nyberg BD, Vossen E, 'Institutional logics and micro-processes in organizations: A multi-actor perspective on sickness absence management in three Dutch hospitals', Managing change: From health policy to practice, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, UK 55-70 (2015) [B1]|
Nyberg D, Delaney H, 'Critical ethnographic research: Negotiations, influences, and interests', Critical Management Research: Reflections from the Field 63-80 (2014)
Grant D, Nyberg D, 'Business and the communication of climate change: An organisational discourse perspective', The Routledge Handbook of Language and Professional Communication 193-206 (2014)
|Show 3 more chapters|
Journal article (31 outputs)
Cinque S, Nyberg D, 'Theatre s radical potential: a study of critical performativity', Culture and Organization, (2020)
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Joining the debate on ¿critical performativity¿ as articulated in the field of critical management studies (CMS... [more]
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Joining the debate on ¿critical performativity¿ as articulated in the field of critical management studies (CMS), we engage with Boltanski¿s dual framework of critique to examine the development of an Italian critical theatre project. Based on an ethnographic study, we discuss the theatre actors¿ experiences, thereby (a) demonstrating the potentiality of theatre for a radical critique of social reality, and (b) exposing how this potential is hampered in reproducing the dominant theatre institution. The reflective and contested theatre production is held up as a deflecting mirror¿a heterotopic space¿in considering CMS¿ potential for radical critical performativity. The theatre actors¿ experiences offer insights for developing the conceptualization of (radical) critical performativity by reflecting upon the role of the critical scholar in finding allies in the quest to normalize critique and developing heterotopic aspects of academia.
Nyberg D, Murray J, 'Corporate Politics in the Public Sphere: Corporate Citizenspeak in a Mass Media Policy Contest', Business and Society, 59 579-611 (2020) [C1]
© The Author(s) 2017. This article connects the previously isolated literatures on corporate citizenship and corporate political activity to explain how firms construct political ... [more]
© The Author(s) 2017. This article connects the previously isolated literatures on corporate citizenship and corporate political activity to explain how firms construct political influence in the public sphere. The public engagement of firms as political actors is explored empirically through a discursive analysis of a public debate between the mining industry and the Australian government over a proposed tax. The findings show how the mining industry acted as a corporate citizen concerned about the common good. This, in turn, legitimized corporate political activity, which undermined deliberation about the common good. The findings explain how the public sphere is refeudalized through corporate manipulation of deliberative processes via what we term corporate citizenspeak¿simultaneously speaking as corporate citizens and for individual citizens. Corporate citizenspeak illustrates the duplicitous engagement of firms as political actors, claiming political legitimacy while subverting deliberative norms. This contributes to the theoretical development of corporations as political actors by explaining how corporate interests are aggregated to represent the common good and how corporate political activity is employed to dominate the public sphere. This has important implications for understanding how corporations undermine democratic principles.
Cinque S, Nyberg D, Starkey K, ''Living at the border of poverty': How theater actors maintain their calling through narrative identity work', HUMAN RELATIONS, (2020)
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Fracking the Future: The Temporal Portability of Frames in Political Contests', Organization Studies, 41 175-196 (2020) [C1]
© The Author(s) 2018. Despite scientific consensus on the need to rapidly decarbonize economic systems to limit global warming, the exploitation of fossil fuels continues unabated... [more]
© The Author(s) 2018. Despite scientific consensus on the need to rapidly decarbonize economic systems to limit global warming, the exploitation of fossil fuels continues unabated. This begs the question, why do we continue down this path? We argue that one reason is the way in which fossil fuel expansion is temporally framed. In this article, we examine the disputed development of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas (¿fracking¿) in the United Kingdom. Through analysis of a series of public inquiries conducted by the UK Government we show how industry, government and NGOs have engaged in a framing contest in debating the future of fracking. The findings show how the framing of fossil fuel development was solidified over time through processes of certainty, simplicity and familiarity. We contribute by: (a) showing how actors mobilize temporality in constructing persuasive and actionable frames; (b) developing a theory of how frames gain temporal portability ¿ a chronology between a dominant past and a recognized future; and (c) providing an alternative theory of short-termism in explaining the path leading us to a dangerous climate changed future.
Murray J, Nyberg D, 'Industry vs. Government: Leveraging Media Coverage in Corporate Political Activity', Organization Studies, (2020)
© The Author(s) 2020. This article investigates how an industry leveraged media coverage to publicly oppose governmental policy. Based on a frame analysis of the political contest... [more]
© The Author(s) 2020. This article investigates how an industry leveraged media coverage to publicly oppose governmental policy. Based on a frame analysis of the political contest between the mining industry and the Australian government over a proposed tax on resource corporations, we show how the industry aligned its position with mass media to (a) make the policy contest salient, (b) frame their position in the contest as legitimate and (c) construct negative representations of the policy as dominant. The analysis reveals how the industry¿s corporate political activities leveraged media coverage to align disparate frames into a consistent message against the policy in the public sphere. This contributes to the literature on corporate political activity by explaining the process of alignment with mass media frames to legitimize corporate positions on salient issues. Second, we contribute to the framing literature by demonstrating the process of frame alignment between non-collaborative actors. Finally, we contribute to the broader discussion on corporations¿ role in society by showing how corporate campaigns can leverage the media to facilitate the favourable settlement of contentious issues. These contributions highlight the pitfalls of corporate political influence without necessary democratic standards.
Bowden V, Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Planning for the past: Local temporality and the construction of denial in climate change adaptation', Global Environmental Change, 57 1-9 (2019) [C1]
Nyberg D, De Cock C, 'Processes of domination in the contemporary workplace: Managing disputes in the Swedish healthcare sector', SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, 67 689-705 (2019) [C1]
De Cock C, Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Disrupting climate change futures: Conceptual tools for lost histories', ORGANIZATION, (2019)
Wright C, Nyberg D, Rickards L, Freund J, 'Organizing in the Anthropocene', Organization, 25 455-471 (2018) [C1]
© The Author(s) 2018. The functioning of the biosphere and the Earth as a whole is being radically disrupted due to human activities, evident in climate change, toxic pollution an... [more]
© The Author(s) 2018. The functioning of the biosphere and the Earth as a whole is being radically disrupted due to human activities, evident in climate change, toxic pollution and mass species extinction. Financialization and exponential growth in production, consumption and population now threaten our planet¿s life-support systems. These profound changes have led Earth System scientists to argue we have now entered a new geological epoch ¿ the Anthropocene. In this introductory article to the Special Issue, we first set out the origins of the Anthropocene and some of the key debates around this concept within the physical and social sciences. We then explore five key organizing narratives that inform current economic, technological, political and cultural understandings of the Anthropocene and link these to the contributions in this Special Issue. We argue that the Anthropocene is the crucial issue for organizational scholars to engage with in order to not only understand on-going anthropogenic problems but also help create alternative forms of organizing based on realistic Earth¿human relations.
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Dash for Gas: Climate Change, Hegemony and the Scalar Politics of Fracking in the UK', British Journal of Management, 29 235-251 (2018) [C1]
© 2018 British Academy of Management This paper investigates the political contestation over hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, or ¿fracking¿, in the UK. Based on an analysis of f... [more]
© 2018 British Academy of Management This paper investigates the political contestation over hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, or ¿fracking¿, in the UK. Based on an analysis of four public inquiries, it shows how both proponents and opponents of fracking employed scaling to mobilize interests by connecting (or disconnecting) fracking to spatial and temporal scales. The analysis explains how a fossil fuel hegemony was reproduced by linking local and specific benefits to nationally or globally recognized interests such as employment, energy security and emission reductions. The paper contributes to recent debates on environmental political contestation by showing how scaling enables the linkage of competing interests by alternating between spatial (e.g. local vs. global) and temporal (e.g. short term vs. long term) horizons. The authors argue that scaling allows dominant actors to uphold contradictory positions on climate change, which contributes to explaining the current disastrous political climate impasse.
Wright C, Nyberg D, 'An Inconvenient Truth: How Organizations Translate Climate Change into Business As Usual', Academy of Management Journal, 60 1633-1661 (2017) [C1]
Gond J-P, Nyberg D, 'Materializing Power to Recover Corporate Social Responsibility', ORGANIZATION STUDIES, 38 1127-1148 (2017) [C1]
De Cock C, Nyberg, 'The possibility of critique under a financialized capitalism: The case of private equity in the United Kingdom', Organization, 23 465-484 (2016) [C1]
Murray J, Nyberg D, Rogers J, 'Corporate political activity through constituency stitching: Intertextually aligning a phantom community', Organization, 23 908-931 (2016) [C1]
Nyberg, Wright C, 'Performative and political: Corporate constructions of climate change risk', Organization, 23 617-638 (2016) [C1]
|Show 28 more journal articles|
Review (1 outputs)
Nyberg D, 'The Cultures of Markets: The Political Economy of Climate Governance', ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY (2017)
Conference (3 outputs)
Wright C, Nyberg D, 'Coral not coal: Enlisting the worlds of fame and celebrity in climate change politics', 78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2018 (2018)
© 2018 Academy of Management. All rights reserved. As the physical manifestations of anthropogenic climate disruption have become increasingly evident, so political contestation h... [more]
© 2018 Academy of Management. All rights reserved. As the physical manifestations of anthropogenic climate disruption have become increasingly evident, so political contestation has increased over how best to respond. These contestations become particularly pronounced where extreme climate-related weather events provide a specific focus for political debate. In this paper we focus on the case of a specificlimate hotspot; Australia's Great Barrier Reef and recent, extreme coral bleaching events. Using the conceptual framework of Boltanski and Thevenot's (2006) economies of worth, we explore how appeals to fame and celebrity have proved central to the political dispute over how to respond to this climate disruption. Our paper contributes not only to debates over the celebritization of climate politics, but also to our understanding of the role of fame and celebrity as a source of political critique and justification.
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Fracking the future: Temporality, framing and the politics of unconventional fossil fuels', 2017 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2017 (2017)
Nyberg D, 'Corporations, politics and democracy: Corporate political activities as processes of corruption', 2017 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2017 (2017)
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||4|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20181 grants / $193,472
Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)
|Funding body||ARC (Australian Research Council)|
|Project Team||Professor Daniel Nyberg, Christopher Wright, Wright, Christopher|
|Type Of Funding||Aust Competitive - Commonwealth|
20171 grants / $246,386
Hunter Water Research Secondment$246,386
Funding body: Hunter Water Corporation
|Funding body||Hunter Water Corporation|
|Project Team||Professor Daniel Nyberg, Darren Cleary|
|Type Of Funding||C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose|
20141 grants / $145,000
Climate change and risk: Exploring the corporate construction of climate change as risk in different industry settings$145,000
Funding body: European Commission, European Union
|Funding body||European Commission, European Union|
|Scheme||Marie Curie Career Integration Grant|
|Type Of Funding||External|
20111 grants / $190,000
Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)
|Funding body||ARC (Australian Research Council)|
|Type Of Funding||Aust Competitive - Commonwealth|
Number of supervisions
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2019||PhD||Corporate Motivation & Justification Towards Transition to Renewable Energy: A Qualitative Analysis of Australian Corporations||PhD (Management), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
|2015||PhD||Interactions of Managers and Employees when Facing various Bribery and Corruption Threats: An Empirical Analysis from the Oil and Gas Industry in Africa and the Middle East||PhD (Accounting & Finance), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
|Year||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2019||PhD||The Influences of CSR Practices on Employees' Perceptions of the Organisation||PhD (Management), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2017||PhD||Self discipline and identity work in theatre||Management & Commerce, Nottingham University||Principal Supervisor|
April 29, 2020
June 5, 2015
Professor Daniel Nyberg
Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law
Management and Organisational Studies
|Fax||(02) 4921 6911|