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Project Log: Research Journal of ongoing Activities

Producing videos related to exam and grades issues

November Over several days in November Pernille produced video material to address the topic of insecurity and pressure that students can experience from exams and grades. Based on her research, she had conversations with two different students, Gry a first year student at Cand.soc. Human Resource Management and Anders, a second year HA.(almen) student, who shared their experiences and views on exams and grades, including difficulties and lessons learned. To include a teacher's reflections and advice, Pernille interviwed post.doc at MPP Jannick. Lastly, to go deeper into the research findings Pernille made a video based on an impactful LinkedIn post she had seen, and a video where Anne Sofie, who is a part of the research team of the project, ask Pernille more into results from surveys, interviews, and the research thus far. 

Talks with Betty Nansen theater on potential collaboration

November In early November Pernille met with Elisa Kragerup og Eva Præstiin from Betty Nansen theater to talk about potential collaboration on research dissemination and method development related to a shared interest in safe work spaces, transformative methods, and working with a relational approach to communities and specific learning/work environments; in other words, the potential within the collective.

Pernille publishes new book

October On 4th October Pernille's second book, based on her research on the relation between stress and shame, was published. Titled "stress og skam i arbejdslivet - en guide til fælles forebyggelse", which in English translates into "stress and shame in work life - a guide to collective prevention", she shares her recent research results and practical suggestions for preventative measures that organization can implement. A central point in her work is that tackling stress necessitates a collective effort within a given relational culture.

Workshop on Student Life Transitions and Well-being initiative

September On 21 September Pernille participated in a workshop on student life transition and a well-being initiative run by the study administration at CBS, to discuss these themes in greater details and ways forward to work with them practically in different settings.

In panel debate on learnings from Covid lock-down

September Pernille participated in a CBS conference "Learning for the future - seminar on experiences from three semesters of lock-down." Participating in a panel debate, entitled "What does the future look like?", Pernille shared perspectives on student experiences during lock-down and how there is a need to put extra focus on stress prevention and well-being among students in the future. One of Pernille's points was that it is also necessary to involve the teachers in this task and look at concrete activities to help the students to dare to put their feelings into words.

Well-being workshop for students on Cand.soc.

August On the 26 august Pernille was invited to present her take on stress and well-being in connection to the study start for 200 new Cand.soc. students. As her research has shown that insecurities, also related to starting at new study programs, are common and a source of pressure, Pernille has developed a workshop format specifically for new students to address some of these topic upfront and early on. The material has been shaped based on feedback from students, and tested with different groups, which has led to a workshop concept where compassion, in different ways, is a focal point.  

Steering group meeting for Student Well-being project

August At the steering group meeting, I presented the status of the research project, and we discussed various topics related to student well-being, including that it is important to consider teachers as a central part of work with well-being among students.

Presentation for Student Affairs

August Pernille made a presentation at the Student Affairs professional meeting, where she presented the first research results. This includes three major and common problems associated with stress among students at CBS, that Pedersen has narrowed down: The pressure from insecurity, the pressure related to group work, and the pressure from thoughts about grades - and all of which is tied into what she calls "a myth about the idea CBS student."

First podcast on stress among students produced

August Recording of a podcast (in Danish) with three students, Anders from HA.(alm.), Amalie from Cand.merc.(jur.) and Ida from Cand.merc.(kom.) in dialogue with Pernille about insecurity and different kind of experiences in their study life. Titled "Hvorfor faen snakker vi ikke om det?", in English "Why the hell are we not talking about it?", the podcast addresses and debunks some myth around the ideal CBS student and is a first step to start talking about it and breaking some taboos. It is the first podcast in a trilogy that from different perspectives will address insecurities and pressures students might experience.

Meeting about research collaboration & compassion

August Meeting with Verner Worm and Michael Jakobsen, Associate Professors at Department of International Economics and Business, and Sven Horak, Associate Professor at St. John’s University on future collaboration opportunities with a focus on the concept: Compassion.

Making podcast with a company leader

July After the summer break, Pernille sat down with Morten Gustavsen, managing director of the Swedish company Roxtec, to record a podcast with a corporation's view on stress among students, insecurity, new graduates and the importance of human skills. They address which competencies Morten emphasizes when hiring employees, and he elaborates how social skills and the ability to articulate uncertainty are relevant to the future of the labor market. In the podcast they address some of the myths around what companies expect and are looking for in new employees.

Collaboration with new programs on well-being

June 2021 Meeting with Pascale Florentsen, Senior Advisor at Study Administration, Academic Affairs, who acts as program manager for BSc in International Business, International Shipping and Trade, Globe & Global SCLM, discussing options for collaboration. Some outcomes of the meeting was that Pernille will develop material, for example podcast, that can be used for new students in these programs, and that Pascale will participate in sharing knowledge deriving from the research results. We also discussed the option to test some "reboarding"-activities among students who are back at campus this fall. 

Invitation to present for CBS administrative staff on well-being

June 2021 Pernille had a meeting with Tine Büchler Poulsen from the office of Education and Quality concerning giving a presentation on well-being for CBS employees at meeting the Dean holds with administrative staff from the study administration, shared administration, the departments etc on the 22. June. The theme for the meeting is “well-being” for employees. On the basis of Pernille's video seminar at CBS from 16. March on coping with stress and working from home in the pandemic time, as well as fostering well-being in an organization and among colleagues, she has been invited to speak about this and give perspectives to CBS employees on returning to the office, including things to be aware off as individuals, colleagues, leaders, and as an organization.

Developing workshop on stress and well-being for Cand.soc. intro-weeks

May 2021 Pernille held a meeting with Anne Lise Bendiksen and Trine Bille of the Cand.soc. (MSc in Social Science) study programs. The study board and program coordinators on the Cand.soc. programs want to put extra focus this year on well-being during the intro-week, so the meeting addressed the possibility of Pernille leading a 2 hour workshop for new Cand.soc. students on well-being and stress - including also the topic of group work, given the recent findings of the project that challenges in group work potentially are significant triggers for stress among students.

Meeting on addressing group work challenges in practical and constructive ways

May 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen and Associate Professor Dorte Madsen from Department of Management, Society and Communication have an ongoing dialogue about developing new measures and methods for optimizing student well-being and learning. In her capacity as Program Director for HA. Kom. (Bachelor in Business and Communication), Dorte is focused on strengthening the study environment as well as the learning possibilities and general well-being among students. The first findings from the "stress prevention and well-being" research suggest that group work is significant trigger for stress among students, far more than initially expected. In a meeting on 19th May, Dorte and Pernille met to discuss options for addressing these challenges within group work and the ideas to develop and test some initiatives within the HA. Kom study program. The talk centered around how to provide students with practical experience and concrete hands-on knowledge to handle potential conflicts or difficulties within group work; how to foster a culture where this can be practiced and not only read in method books, and where students can feel safe and comfortable to take these conversations and finds way for constructive group work relations. 

Collaboration with researcher behind large CBS survey on teaching and learning experiences during Covid 

May 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen had a meeting with Sine Zambach, postdoc at Department of Digitalization, on the 18 of May discussing collaboration on well-being among students and educators at CBS. Sine is involved with a large CBS survey that is set out to monitor how students and educators have experienced their study- and work-life since the Covid-19 breakout and the periods of lock-down. In the project description they explain: “Although the COVID-19 lock down has been a challenging and hopefully unique case, it is a relevant opportunity for learning about online teaching and learning and CBS should make sure to evaluate the activities from spring in the light of future strategies for blended learning. Accordingly, the Dean of Education decided to distribute two surveys to teachers and students respectively to collect experiences from online teaching in the spring 2020 - good as well as bad – in order to learn as much as possible from this real time experiment.” Sine has been driving the part of the survey among the teachers at CBS and is responsible for how to develop the last stage of the survey among students. In the meeting the following ideas for collaboration was discussed: Pernille can assist in constructing the survey as well as in analyzing and exploring deeper some of the answers deriving from the large data collection. Sine can support Pernille’s project with her expertise in quantitative methods related to developing surveys and constructing them using Educational Data Mining techniques. A part of Pernille's project is to conduct a large survey among CBS student to examine details about stress and well-being, and to develop a scale and system to measure and work with shame.   

Student Affairs shares about the project on social media

May 2021
Pernille Steen Pedersen and Anne Sofie Fischer had a meeting with Beannie Susanne Kauling Sloth, Communication Advisor at Student Affairs, about inviting students to participate in the interviews on stress and well-being. On the basis of the meeting Beannie made a Facebook announcement about the project, which lead to over 30 inquiries from interested students.

Support from CBS secretariat for executive support and communication

May 2021
Meeting with LiseLotte Skovsgaard and Sanni Brandt regarding project communication. On the meeting we discussed how the secretariat for Executive Support and Communication can be supportive to the project on an ongoing basis.

Steering group meeting on the initiative "Student Life Transitions and Well-being"

May 2021
Pernille Steen Pedersen participated in a steering group meeting for the CBS initiative "Student Life Transitions and Well-being", which is a collaboration between Study Affairs and the student organization CBS Students around issues of student well-being. The project aims to create activities to enhance student well-being, lately with extra focus on the challenges induced by Corona restrictions, and also to collect knowledge and experience on how best to work with student well-being as the project moves along. Pernille's research will provide input to this work and there will be an ongoing dialogue on this shared interest between the people involved. Participants in the meeting included: Bitta Nielsen (Director of Study Administration), Mads Taudal Nyeng (CBS Students), Alex Klinge (Associate professor, Equal Opportunities Officer & Program Director, MSC), Anne Mette Hou (Head of Student Affairs), Pernille Steen Pedersen, Christina Tvanø (Program Director), Sarah Diemar (CBS Students), and Silke K. B. Jensen (Student Councillor, Student Affairs, Project Manager).

Conducting first round of qualitative interview

April 2021 In mid April Pernille Steen Pedersen began conducting qualitative interviews with 10 students, who are involved with the project. The interviews follow an explorative approach while also examining some theoretical concepts and aspects of shame based on Pedersen earlier research. With the initial interviews Pedersen aims to uncover how students experience stress, in which kinds of situations and what specifically characterizes the stress experienced in relation to higher education. Insights from the interviews shall help distinguish between different situations leading to stress and perhaps different types of conflicting requirements students can experience in their daily studies, but also help suggest what reduces and reinforces such experiences of stress and pressure. On basis of this exploratory collection of empirical material that details the characteristics of stress among students as well as the stress-triggering situations and circumstances, Pedersen will develop vignettes and questions for a large scale survey, that will be conducted later in the research process.  

Exploring opportunities for collaboration with research project on developing transformational capabilities

April 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen and Anne Sofie Fischer, Research Assistant to the project, is in an ongoing dialogue with Christoph Viebig, Ph.D. fellow at MPP and Christina Lubinski, Professor at MPP, in relation to their work on developing better conditions for student learning and teaching of entrepreneurship. They are two of the researchers behind a new strategic initiative at CBS called “Developing Transformational Capabilities: Reflection, Abstraction and Analogy”. With the aim to develop transformational capabilities in CBS student, their project explores how to advance teaching and learning possibilities through three specific capabilities: the ability to reflect, abstract and think by analogy. Their ambition is to develop new methods of teaching (and learning) that can enhance these skills, which are particularly relevant to fast changing environments and long-term societal challenges – and to enable life-long learning. As they will examine conditions that can support these ways of learning, stress among students is likely to be a hindrance. In a meeting in mid April Christoph, Pernille and Anne Sofie discussed the overlapping interests of the two projects and possibilities for collaboration. There is a shared interest firstly, to understand more about how stress impedes learning and secondly, to experiment with ways to address the triggers of stress directly in the teaching methods. The dialogue continues.  

Meeting with Ad de Jong from Department of Marketing

April 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen held a second meeting with Ad de Jong from the Department of Marketing to discuss options for collaboration on the project. A part of the dialogue concerns how to develop survey-questions which in the future can inform developing a scale to measure stress and aspects of shame that trigger stress; which is a key objective of the research project. If well-being entails the absence of stress and stress-triggering situations, Pedersen argues that it is paramount to be able to measure different aspects of shame across multiple and diverse parameters and situations. This can also be seen as way to measure "proximity to well-being"; in order words, to assess the extent to which an environment is causative to well-being or not. The scale then, shall help clarify the nuances of stress-related issues and what kinds of interventions that are needed in the study environment to address stress as a relational phenomenon induced by the presence of shame - without reducing stress to a “personal” or “individual” problem.

Presentation for the new CBS Well-being Ambassadors

March 2021 On the 16. March Pernille Steen Pedersen held a presentation for the newly established Well-being Ambassadors (trivelsambasadører) at CBS. The group consists of around 100 bachelor students across different programs, who are volunteering to assist and support other students to manage through these difficult times, where many experience an increase in the feeling of loneliness and lack of motivation. Their focus is to enhance well-being among student at CBS (read more here). In the presentation Pedersen shared her view on the connection between stress and well-being, introduced the research project that shares the same agenda for well-being among students, and invited for further collaboration. Her vision is that some of the research findings could benefit the work of the Well-being Ambassadors or that she could develop initiatives directly for their use; for example in the form of dialogue cards to address some of the underlying issues behind the experience of stress. The aspiration is that many different groups at CBS can come together, share and co-develop around the agenda of student well-being.

Principal of CBS Nikolaj Malchow-Møller and Pernille Steen Pedersen in podcast about stress

March 2021 "Does your inner judge accompany you to work?" This was the title, and discussion topic, of a podcast where Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, the Principal of CBS, talks to Pernille Steen Pedersen about her research topic of expertise: work-related stress. They address the challenges with stress for students and staff at CBS and Pedersen shares how the experience of stress might be triggered by shame - and what can be done about. Read more here.

Presenting the project for the Study Board of PKL

March 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen have presented the project for the study board of Cand. Soc. PKL (Politisk Kommunikation og Ledelse/ Political Communication and Management) and a collaboration has been formed.

First survey on stress among students launched through bachelor project research

March 2021 Josephine Kugelberg Pedersen and Karoline Keller Rolsted are conducting research for their bachelor thesis titled ""Shame, stress and students", which is supervised by Pernille Steen Pedersen. They have put together a survey, which was sent out in March broadly amongst students at CBS. The results of their data collection will not only serve to their own thesis, but also contribute to Pedersen's project on stress and well-being for students.

CBS webinar on stress, shame and the importance of acknowledgement

March 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen was invited to produce a video for students and staff at CBS alike concerning the findings she has made on the correlation between stress and shame, for example the fear of being “found out” or exposed. This kind of fear, she explains in the video, relates to a feeling of shame coming from thoughts about "what others think of me". A central point in the video is this: "Shame can cast a shadow over our togetherness, because it is closely intertwined with acknowledgement and loneliness. Shame can therefore become harmful and harmful shame makes it hard to ask for help and support. And it makes it hard to receive help and support. But shame is a human condition, which reminds us that we need acknowledgement and to belong somewhere at work or in school. Acknowledging communities can protect us from stress and dissatisfaction." In the time of the pandemic with work and studies done from home, this message could not be more timely. See the full video here

Meetings on research collaboration

March 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen have held several meetings with different researchers across diverse areas of expertise, discussing the project and the issue of stress among students seen from their perspectives. With the purpose of building collaboration to explore stress and well-being, the project will draw on knowledge and experience from researchers at CBS as well as externally, for example statistics (Sine), psychometric (Ad) or stress (Maria):  

Meetings related to the work of the Study Boards

March 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen have held a few meetings with researchers, who through their work in study boards have close collaboration with students. The purpose of the meetings has been to get insight into the experience in the study boards in relation to student well-being and stress prevention, as well as to form a collaboration. The idea is that the project also can contribute with relevant knowledge and material of use to the work of the study boards at CBS. We have had meetings with:
  • Trine Bille, Professor, Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Program Director at the MSc in Social Science programs.
  • Dorte Madsen, Associate Professor, Department of Management, Society and Communication, Program Director at HA Kom.

Discussing lifelong learning with the people behind CBS K

February 2021
Pernille Steen Pedersen had a meeting with Rasmus Johnsen, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning, and Stephanie Clemente, Research Assistant of Learning & Development who are behind a new CBS initiative to further lifelong learning called CBS Kontinuum – or CBS K in short. In a project brief on CBS K they write that the aim is to offer “a way to embed the individualized learner trajectory in value- and agenda-driven learning communities” and that: “It works strategically with nurturing a life-long commitment to learning for CBS students and CBS alumni by offering a platform for explicit engagement with grand societal challenges.” On the meeting ideas for collaboration and shared events were discussed, a dialogue that will continue.  

Pernille Steen Pedersen interviewed by CBS Wire

February 2021 In early February 2021 journalist Anne M. Lykkegaard from CBS Wire sat down with Assistant Professor Pernille Steen Pedersen for an interview, as the project “Stress Prevention and Well-being among students at CBS” was being launched. In the interview Pedersen explains her previous work on stress, her motivations for this new initiative, and how it aligns perfectly with the new CBS strategy: “(..) my project goes hand in a glove with the new strategy, as it will also prepare the students for challenges they will meet when they graduate, and that it would also answer some of society’s challenges, including stress,” Pedersen says to the Wire. To Pedersen, stress is a common cause. In the interview she emphasizes the importance of working with stress as a relational phenomenon: “If we really want to make improvements, we must make an effort on multiple levels. It’s not only about developing tools, but making sure that we get the change of culture that we so desperately need. We cannot keep looking at individualized solutions and asking students to deal with the stress themselves.” Read the full article here.

Djøfbladet writes about Pedersen's new research project

February 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen was interviewed by journalist Laura Brix for an article in Djøfbladet. It addresses the alarming tendency of increasing stress among students and the motivations and visions behind Pedersen's new research project.

Asking 3 central questions in an initial survey among students

February 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen conducted a short survey of 3 essential questions via CBS Canvas within the group of student involved with the project. The purpose was to receive some initial broad inputs on the extent to which the students consider stress an issue among students, whether the students have experienced stress themselves and in which types of situations, and lastly, which kind of topics they find important to explore further in this research project.

Meetings with the Study Administration

February 2021 Pernille Steen Pedersen have had meetings with selected people from the study administration at CBS, who are an important partner in this project. The staff in the study administration have valuable experience and knowledge through their engagement with the students that can help shed light on the issues of stress and well-being. For example, in their conversations with students they have a deep understanding about issues around choice of study, the study environment, exams, and study start, including the first period in a new study program. The staff in the study administration are used to listening to students share their experiences and challenges, also in relation to stress and well-being.  The aim of the initial meetings has been to draw on their knowledge and get input from the staff based on their role and engagement with students, and also to lay out which on-going stress-preventative activities at CBS, that might be relevant for this project to connect into. There have been meetings with:
  • Beannie Susanne Kauling Sloth, Communications Advisor, CBS Student Affairs
  • Chillie Barnkob, Social Consultant & Senior Advisor, CBS Student Administration
  • Mette Gøtterup-Tang, Special Consultant & Student Coach, CBS Student Administration/Student Guidance
  • Thomas Gylling, Guidance Specialist, CBS Student Administration /Student Guidance

Initial research stage

February 2021  The focus in the initial stage of the research has been:
  1. To establish collaboration agreements with partners, who might have an interest in contributing to the research and follow the process. This is done through meetings and presentations.
  2. Create awareness about the project through meetings, presentations, articles, podcasts and other communication activities.
  3. Begin developing the detailed research plan and make arrangement data collections


Last updated by: Anne Sofie Fischer 10/12/2021