Oulu Business School Annual Report 2021

Page 1

Annual Report 2021

Content 4



Dean’s words

Message from the Dean for Education





OBS milestones

Degree programmes’ reviews

Doctoral research: Finding better ways to integrate firms after M&As



AACSB Accreditation review

A distinguished master’s thesis

35 Ending project: SHERLOC



OBS Management

Business Analytics master’s programme



Key facts 2021

Student story: M.Sc. Perttu Pörhölä




Executive Education review

38 Irina Atkova joins the 6G research programme

EDITORS Managing Editor: Marja Alatalo Editors: Marja Alatalo, Irina Atkova, Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Kaisu Jansson, Janne Järvinen, Antti Kauppila, Tuija Lämsä, Tuija Mainela, Satu Nätti, Perttu Pörhölä, Veikko Seppänen, Jaakko Simonen, Sauli Sohlo, Ville Solinen, Hannu Torvinen, and Marjo Väisänen Translation and Language Revision: Lingsoft Language Services Oy Cover: Rami Hanafi / Rami Hanafi Photography Ltd. Photographs: Marja Alatalo / University of Oulu, Pond5, Rami Hanafi / Rami Hanafi Photography Ltd., Daria Shevtsova / Pexels.com, Studio PSV, Mikko Törmänen / Mikko Törmänen Photography

Our Vision As part of the University of Oulu, we aspire to be an international, multidisciplinary, research-based business school.

Our Mission We generate business competencies in cooperation with the scientific community, business partners and larger society. We strive to develop expertise, and foster the development of leadership qualities in our students. Through our actions and global mindset, we participate in the development of the economy, especially in Northern Finland.

Our Values In all our activities we follow the fundamental values of expertise, responsibility to ourselves and others, and a pioneering spirit.

Word from the Dean


anuary 2022 marked my very first month as the Dean of Oulu Business School. It is a great honour having been chosen to succeed professor Mikko Puhakka, under whose leadership our school has made remarkable progress. We can be especially proud of our success in the research assessment exercise (RAE), in which the quality of our research was given very good evaluations. In fact, one of our research units, Economics, Accounting and Finance (EAF), was evaluated at the highest, outstanding level. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will renew our commitment to being a high-class, research-intensive business school. The first months in any new position are all about learning and listening. As in the

academia, management can influence research output only to a limited extent. Before anything, we must strive to create an atmosphere where our faculty are given the opportunity to become renowned researchers and great teachers. In this, we are supported by the university's educational services' outstanding professional staff, who are equally committed to excellence. In education, times have been incredibly challenging. My heart goes out to our teaching faculty who have spared no efforts in developing and implementing blended and hybrid teaching methods in our courses. One of the key activities of OBS in the coming year is to sharpen and clarify our strategy. We are actively looking to see how our study programmes can fully

reflect the shifting face of demographics and skill sets demanded by the job market. I am confident that the next few years, with our upcoming bachelor’s programme in international business management and recently launched master’s programme in business analytics, we will significantly enhance and expand the volume of our international bachelor's as well as master-level teaching. This will also fuel our efforts of increased internationalisation at all levels. This way, our AACSB-accredited international programmes will continue to contribute to the economic and social success of Northern Finland. Janne Järvinen Dean

PHOTO: Mikko Törmänen

Oulu Business School’s Important Milestones

1958 University of Oulu founded 1959 Professorship in Economics

2008 Martti Ahtisaari Institute of Global Business and Economics established within the business school

1980 First Bachelor of Social Science degree in Economics

2007 Degree programme in International Business

1984 Associate professorship in Business Economics in the field of business development and management

2001 - 2002 Degree programmes in Logistigs and Management & Organisation launched

2014 - 2015 Launch of the renewed Bachelor Programme and International Master’s Programmes

1989 Executive MBA programme

2000 Faculty of Economics and Business Administration established

2017 Discipline-based departments merged into three research units

1992 Associate professorship in Marketing

2019 Extension of AACSB Accreditation

1991 Professorship in Corporate Economics and Business in the field of accounting

2010 Name changed to Oulu Business School 2012 Martti Ahtisaari International Doctoral Programme launched 2013 AACSB Accreditation earned

2021 Degree programme in Business Analytics

Renewed Standards, Renewed Context


good opportunity to further adjust as things Societal Impact), on the other hand, get settled on campus and in our university encourages us to rethink our community. understanding of the actions and outputs of our school as a whole, as well as each Some of the renewed standards offer us and every individual. This is also an an opportunity to take another look into excellent example of the interrelatedness adjusting and further improving our of the standards. For example, the Faculty actions. In the assurance of learning, new Qualifications requirements and food for thought is provided for us to expectations for intellectual contributions rethink the relations between direct and we set for our faculty, under standard 3 indirect evidence on our students' learning. (Faculty and Professional Staff resources), Although there are several practices in should be well aligned with what results we place, e.g., information provided annually In our own context, in Northern Finland, expect to achieve with regards to our by the Finnish Business School Graduates the exceptional times have treated us – School's overall Societal Impact. (Labour Union) on how our students and despite all of the reorganising and regraduates evaluate the skills and The renewed standards and the changing thinking our modes of teaching, research knowledge acquired during the course of context of operation provided for an and societal engagement – reasonably their degrees, the 2020 standards gave us intriguing setting for advancing towards the well. Thanks to our stable financial base final phases of our mission and strategy and resilient Finnish society, we have been impetus to take another look into the overall AoL processes at our school. renewal. In the February workshop with able to sustain our students, faculty and our deans and directors, the work staff as well as the means to support all The new standard 9 (Engagement and our operations. We hope this will give us a

he year 2021 will surely be remembered by the global AACSB community for two things. First, the renewed 2020 Accreditation Standards were being discussed, applied and further discussed within the schools, as well as in many online AACSB events throughout the year. Second, during 2021, there were many optimistic views of getting back to normal, or a new normal, regarding the context of operation for schools, globally.

continued. The same topics were also discussed during the Board of the University of Oulu's visit to our school. These discussions, as well as the numerous workshops held with our internal and external stakeholders, provided for a sound basis for initially synthesising the most important ingredients to keep, and what to strengthen in our Mission, Vision, Values and Strategy.

during our strategy renewal process. The new programme is one answer to the needs expressed by our important stakeholders, and due to changing business contexts, namely the fastchanging landscape of digital business. The increase in top-level research output, on the other hand, is a result of an internally born desire by our faculty to set higher aims to our research activities.

During 2021, while putting the bits and pieces together in our strategy work, we also managed to advance our strategy through an action-based emergent strategy approach.

Some signs of the times were also seen in an emerging and different learning culture. As an example, three of our master's students were in the campus lobby area together, participating in a financial economics course, actively discussing the content (“hey, did you get that – I didn't”) during a hybrid mode of teaching and learning, could be called distance learning in a small peer group. Another example is the Digital Retailing study module, consisting of courses jointly designed by altogether five Finnish Business Schools,

To show some examples, our new International Master's Programme in Business Analytics was launched, and major advancements in the top-level international publication forums, like FT50, were achieved. Both initiatives are also connected to much emphasised topics

Oulu being one of these. The online study module is available for both degree students and non-degree students via the open university, and can be taken, e.g., as a minor study module within a degree of any field. The year 2021 once again proved that, despite challenging times, we at Oulu Business School have built a sound and resilient foundation for doing our business of teaching, research and engagement, while keeping up the spirit of continuous improvement. Looking forward to a successful year 2022 at our School and within the global AACSB community, Sauli Sohlo Deputy Director of Martti Ahtisaari Institute Head of Accreditation, Oulu Business School at the University of Oulu

PHOTO: Mikko Törmänen

OBS Management in 2021

Professor Mikko Puhakka The Dean of Oulu Business School Professor Janne Järvinen The Vice Dean for Education

The following are chairs of their departments: Professor Juha-Pekka Kallunki Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance Professor Vesa Puhakka Department of Marketing, Management and International Business Professor Veikko Seppänen Martti Ahtisaari Institute

Key Facts 2021 FINANCIAL DATA (in Euros) 2020






Academy of Finland





Business Finland





European Union





Structural funds















Other public





Private companies





Business activities





Other income





Budgetary state funding External funding

Total funding



Operating costs Staff expenses





Other expenses













Depreciation Internal items Total operating costs






FACULTY AND STAFF Professors Teaching and reseach Other Total






19 68 10 114

18 65 11 97

16 59 14 94

17 60 13 89

21 78 13 112






EDUCATION ACTIVITIES Applications / accepted Bachelor’s and Master’s Programmes (B.Sc + M.Sc)

2,692/180 2,825/181 2,667/178 2,885/206 2,862/201 93/10










Bachelor of Science






Master of Science






Doctor of Science






Finnish Master’s Programmes (M.Sc) International Master’s Programmes (M.Sc)


210 into Finnish Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programmes


into International Master’s Degree Programmes













Professional publications





Academic and professional meeting presentations

67 102

75 99

32 133

52 113

Peer-reviewed scientific journal articles Other scientific publications (refereed)

Activities in scientific publications



Figures are based on the Oulu Business School Intellectual Contributions (OBSIC) database 1 2

Includes peer-reviewed academic/professional meeting proceedings, and editorial-reviewed journals and articles Includes referee and editor tasks

84 14 into Doctoral Degree Programmes



he University of Oulu and Oulu Business School offer many different study opportunities for foreign exchange students. Within Europe, Oulu Business School has around 50 partner universities in the Erasmus exchange programme and several partners outside Europe with bilateral exchange agreements. In addition, the University of Oulu offers business students many other options for study exchanges and internships all over the world, via university level exchange agreements. Different exchange programmes and agreements allow for exchange periods of varying duration. In 2021, the number of incoming and outgoing exchange students and interns remained low due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still we had 72 students willing to go abroad, and 101 students who were willing to do their exchange in Oulu. Hopefully in the coming years, the exchange rates return to the same level as they were before the pandemic. Our school will keep encouraging internationalisation among our students.







Outgoing students Incoming students

132 185

136 254

117 256

93 100

72 101

* Data includes all exchange and internship periods Data source: University of Oulu Report Portal



BACHELOR’S PROGRAMME • Economics and Business Administration MASTER’S PROGRAMMES • Accounting • Business Analytics • Economics • Finance • International Business Management • Marketing MBA & EXECUTIVE EDUCATION • Executive MBA • Client specific Executive Education Programmes DOCTORAL PROGRAMMES • Accounting • Economics • Finance • International Business • Management • Marketing OTHER • Entrepreneurship Minor • Business Law Minor • National Online Business Minor Studies Module LITO

PHOTO: Marja Alatalo

A Message from the Vice Dean for Education


he year 2021 was characterised by new openings in education. A new, very timely master programme in Business Analytics, planned and conducted together with the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, started and proved to be an attractive choice for many students. The planning of the new bachelor programme of international business management took place, and the programme was accepted to our programme portfolio by the University Board of Directors in February 2022. The first students will start the programme in fall 2023. This is a remarkable issue in our strategy to increase the amount of international students and to offer international learning experience to everyone entering our school in spite of the programme or nationality of a student.

PHOTO: Mikko Törmänen

In addition, a new minor subject, Digital Retailing, was kicked off in cooperation with four other universities and the Finnish Commerce Federation. Organising courses was challenging due to the constantly changing pandemic situation. However, if something good comes out of these hard times, the pandemic has remarkably developed capabilities to use digitalisation to support our student experience and learning. Online teaching, hybrid forms of teaching (combining lecture room teaching with online) and developing new forms of evaluating learning results became a big part of every teacher´s work. And we indeed succeeded well in these sudden changes! Our students' well-being has of course been one of our worries throughout the time of the pandemic. Although meeting other students in varied learning situations

has not been possible to the same extent as before, our student association, Finanssi, has worked especially hard to develop and maintain community spirit, of which we want to express our gratitude. Now the question is, what is the new normal in education after the pandemic? In line with our values, Oulu Business School wants to highlight the meaning of a scientific community as a baseline for learning and creation of new knowledge. Within a community, our students can learn so much more than just the discipline-based knowledge we offer, including varied skills needed in working life – and in life, in general. Digitalisation, online and remote learning can be used to support learning when convenient, but at the core, there is still the development of scientific community that does not happen without meeting each other on campus. This future

focus for community building is the strategic choice we want to highlight in all our education activities. Satu Nätti Dean for Education

Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration


s an AACSB accredited educational institute for economic sciences, we must fulfil the quality standards for the accreditation. This means our teaching is always based on high-quality research, and the learning objectives for our bachelor’s programme are defined in our organisation’s mission statement. The target of our bachelor’s programme is to produce experts with extensive competence in business and management, and who have an excellent grasp of the central mechanisms and processes of business operations. The programme also focuses on introducing students to different business environments and the challenges of business operations. Students are tasked with projects that involve putting their skills into practice and

resolving business-related issues. The goal is to turn our students into individuals who have mastered critical analysis and can use and apply their skills and knowledge already during their time at our university We also teach our students to self-assess their learning and competence. Our bachelor’s programme answers comprehensively to society’s needs. We have taken regional competence needs into account in the design of the programme as well as possible. After all, one of the central purposes of a university is to serve its region’s business sector with the education it provides to its students. In 2021, we took a new step in internationalisation as we started planning a new international bachelor’s degree programme. With this new bachelor’s programme in international

business management we are contributing to the Finnish Government target to triple the number of foreign degree students at higher education institutions by 2030. The new programme will be addressing the contemporary global business challenges from the Nordic perspective, by drawing upon the ideas of entrepreneurial leadership and responsible business. The programme will start in fall 2023 with an intake of 30 students.

PHOTO: Marja Alatalo

Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration


n 2021, our international and Finnish master’s programmes remained one of the most popular choices in the eyes of applicants in the University of Oulu. We received a total of 1,134 applications for all our master’s programmes. During 2021, Oulu Business School had 558 master’s level students in six programmes: economics, financial and management accounting, finance, marketing, international business management, and business analytics. This number includes both the students who transferred from our own bachelor’s programme to a master’s programme and the students who were admitted directly into master’s programmes. The international master’s programmes were applied from all over the world, and we received a total of 1,008 applications

for the six programmes. As in the years before, the programme for international business management was one of the most popular programmes in the entire University of Oulu. The new master’s programme in business analytics was launched in fall 2021. The programme is conducted in cooperation with the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, and is divided into three degree-spesific study paths. The programme raised interest among applicants, and received altogether 564 applications. 213 applicants applied for the business school’s study path. In total, 84 students were admitted to our international master’s programmes. In addition, 9 students were admitted to the financial and management accounting master’s programme taught in Finnish, and

182 students from our bachelor’s programme applied for the master’s programmes internally. In 2021, we had 204 students graduating with a master’s degree. In other words, we returned to a normal level after two record years. The pandemic did not seem to affect our students’ graduation plans. We use the AACSB standards to continuously develop the content of our master’s programmes and our teaching methods. We will continue to develop our programmes in cooperation with the other faculties of the University of Oulu, the businesses in the region and other stakeholders in the future as well.

Doctor of Science in Economics and Business Administration

In 2021, new doctoral research was finalized and published in various fields and on varied topics. The following doctoral theses were successfully defended at the Oulu Business School in 2021.

Accounting Beyer, Bianca: Executive compensation and corporate insiders’ personal traits Economics Teirilä, Juha: Studies on integrating solar and wind power into electricity markets Marketing Heikka, Eija-Liisa: Communicating value in knowledge-intensive business relationships Mubaraz, Syed: Aligning outsourcing relationships: a resource portfolio approach Sarome-Nykänen, Sari: Corporation transformation through network changing agents in the context of outsourcing and automation


Doctoral research is being continuously developed at the Oulu Business School. An assessment of learning indicates that the graduates demonstrate expertise in their own field, have competences in interdisciplinary thinking in the fields of business and economics, and have competences in scientific communication.

PHOTO: Marja Alatalo

Recognition for a distinguished master’s thesis


n May 2021, Jonathan Strömberg, a graduate of the Oulu Business School, received the annual award distributed by the Finnish Centre for Pensions for his master's thesis. In his master's thesis in economics, Strömberg examined the financial sustainability of the employee pension scheme by comparing the pension systems of Finland, the Netherlands and Denmark. The topic of Strömberg's thesis took shape after an evening with friends that involved a conversation about whether the Finnish pension scheme was good or bad. Strömberg decided to get some answers to this question. In his thesis, he compares the Finnish pension scheme with that of Netherlands and Denmark, which are considered to be among the leading countries for pension provision.

According to Strömberg's assessment, the Finnish pension scheme is quite good, but changes are also needed. Among the areas for improvement he listed a need to increase the employment rate and to reform the solvency regulations. In addition, an increase in pension contributions is most likely unavoidable given the demographic situation. Strömberg, on the other hand, does not believe in the virtue of defined contribution pension schemes. “I believe that we need to take care of each other. I do not favour a society where those that get by are those who can afford to pay. There are also others issues that need correcting,” says Strömberg in the Finnish Centre for Pensions' press release. In the areas for improvement, he would

favour learning from the Netherlands. There, pension investors have greater freedom to take investment risks, and the cost structure of the scheme is also lower, resulting in less pressure on pension contributions. The Finnish Centre for Pensions' award is given annually to a distinguished thesis on retirement provision – one which tackles a topic of interest for retirement provision and does so in an exemplary fashion. The value of the prize is EUR 2,000.


DEGREE TITLE Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration), or Master of Science (Technology), or Master of Science STUDY PLACES 20 + 15 + 15 DURATION OF STUDIES 2 years SCOPE 120 credits TEACHING METHOD On campus NEXT APPLICATION PERIOD 4-18 January 2023 Students have a choice of three degree-specific study paths: • • •

Business Analyst Data Engineer Information Analyst

More information available at the University of Oulu website.

PHOTO: Stock photo / Pond5

Competitive Advantage from data – the Business Analytics Master’s Programme


he Oulu Business School and the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at the University of Oulu launched a joint international Master's programme on Business Analytics in Autumn 2021. The main reason behind this is the fact that data and data-based decision making have become essential assets in business, economy and in more general terms, in modern society. Data does not decrease when used, and its reproduction and sharing do not become more expensive because of increased use – on the contrary. The Business Analytics Master's programme is one of the forerunners in its field in Finland. It is unique in the sense that its students can earn a master's degree in Business Administration,

Information Technology or Information Systems. There is most obviously no similar opportunity available anywhere else. Interest in the programme has been considerable. The programme has rapidly become one of the most popular in terms of applications among the international master's programmes of the University of Oulu. The first students, who have started the programme, have been highly motivated especially because of the basic setting that pulls together data gathering, analysis and deployment for business and other needs. Moreover, the programme's logic to combine theoretical and practical matters in analytics have been wellreceived.

of possibilities for the students graduating from the programme, not only as experts, but also as entrepreneurs and individuals involved in the development of analytics methods and means. Many of the students already have some experiences from business and work life, but they have joined the programme, especially to grasp new opportunities.

The growing needs and wide application areas of data-based analytics offer plenty

Business Analytics Programme leader at the Oulu Business School

Veikko Seppänen Director, Martti Ahtisaari Institute

Coronavirus accelerated graduation – flexible teaching methods enable continuous learning


started my studies at the University of Oulu in 1991 – thirty years ago. Even during my engineering studies, I became interested in economics when my brother started at the Business School in 1997. Before graduating as a Master of Science in Engineering, I completed a few economics courses, including Juha Huikari's legendary basic course in business accounting. After graduating from the Department of Construction Engineering in 1999, I moved to work for an international listed company in Rovaniemi, and my business studies did not progress as I had hoped. Over the years, however, I managed to accumulate enough studies to graduate in 2016 as a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration. I never thought I would find enough

time to complete the master's studies, but after returning from a foreign assignment, the pandemic and the transition to distance learning opened up the possibility of completing my studies. I thought: it's now or never! The staff of the Business School helped and guided me in ensuring that I carried out all the necessary administrative steps for completing the degree. The teaching made a very smooth transfer online, offering high-quality, well-prepared and illuminating teaching; and best of all, it was in English! For me, the distance learning was very welcome, as my family and I still live in Rovaniemi. I strongly believe that online teaching will retain a permanent place alongside contact teaching. Over the decades, the world of studies has changed in many ways. Information is

now easily accessible to students, whereas as recently as the 1990s they still had to go to the library to get it. Nowadays, it is easy to search for scientific articles using the library's data retrieval services. The coronavirus pandemic has brought many good things with it, as after 30 years of hard work I finally graduated with a Master's of Science in Economics and Business Administration. I did my Master's thesis on the corporate social responsibility reporting of listed companies and their stage of development. For me, the last year has gone into updating accounting data according to, for example, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Sadly, my date of graduation could not be celebrated on 30 April 2021 with a normal degree ceremony, which would have been a very memorable day for me. Thankfully though, the University of Oulu was still able to organise a virtual graduation party for all those who graduated during the coronavirus pandemic. Perttu Pörhölä Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration

PHOTO: Perttu Pörhölä

Returning to normal in Executive Education

As the pandemic restrictions gradually lift, contact teaching has gradually returned for the Executive MBA programme, as it has too for the other Bachelor's and Master's programmes at the Business School. The exceptional past months have led to lasting changes in the practices and processes of business management training, such that some of the studies are now defined as remote training. By the end of the calendar year, it was possible to provide most of the training as contact teaching. The return to the normal way of working was welcomed by our teachers and students. Once it was possible to return to contact teaching in the summer and for the start of the new academic year in September, contact teaching was truly being enjoyed to the full, so much so that

the teachers commented on how exceptionally lively the classroom discussions were! After a year's break, we also launched the safety management programme again, receiving a satisfying range of new students for this from all over Finland. Having learnt from the pandemic, we have developed our programmes to be more environmentally friendly and have a smaller carbon footprint, thus boosting the responsibility of our operations. Some of the training is now defined as being provided remotely, although the majority of seminars will continue to be carried out as contact teaching, provided that the pandemic and other possible exceptional situations so permit.

We have developed our programmes to be more environmentally friendly and have a smaller carbon footprint.

Antti Kauppila Programme Director Executive Education

PHOTO: Mikko Törmänen

Research Oulu Business School produces high-quality and topical research knowledge both for the needs of business life and society at large. Internationally recognised and esteemed research is considered a fundamental basis of the high-quality economics and business education offered by us. Research is conducted in three research units: • the Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance, • the Department of Marketing, Management and International Business, and • the Martti Ahtisaari Institute


The role of managerial traits in insider trading, tax noncompliance and other business outcomes

Business dynamics, ecosystems and models in developing contexts

The role of renewable energy in electricity markets

Data-intensive digital products and services, and responsible business

Business relationships, services and brands

International entrepreneurship and open innovation


• • • • • • •

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal Applied Economics Asian Business and Management Baltic Journal of Management British Food Journal California Management Review Contemporary Accounting Research Corporate Communications: An International Journal Corporate Reputation Review Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management Critical finance review Critical Perspectives on International Business Current Psychology Economics and Human Biology Electric Power Systems Research Energy and Buildings European Journal of Health

• • • • • • • • •

• •

• • •

Economics European Journal of Marketing European Management Journal Financial Analysts Journal Gender, Work and Organization Human Relations Human Resource Management (US) Industrial Marketing Management Information Systems and eBusiness Management, International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management International Journal of Innovation Management International journal of Management and Enterprise Development International Journal of Organizational Analysis International Marketing Review Journal of Banking & Finance

• • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • •

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing Journal of Business Ethics Journal of Business Models Journal of Business Research Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization Journal of Economic Studies Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies Journal of Health Organization and Management Journal of International Management Journal of Knowledge Management Journal of Management Control Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services Journal of Science Communication Journal of Time Series

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Econometrics Multinational Business Review Nordic Journal of Business Occupational and Environmental Medicine Records Management Journal Regional studies Scandinavian Journal of Management Scientific Reports Social Responsibility Journal Strategic Change Studies in Higher Education Sustainability Technological Forecasting and Social Change Technovation Telecom Policy Tourism Economics Utilities Policy Wireless Personal Communications

Finding better ways to integrate firms after mergers and acquisitions

Successful mergers and acquisitions (M&A) require organisations to implement effective management control systems across the organisation and its subsidiaries. In practice, organisations often resort to a top-down integration of these control systems due to the high pressure to standardise the systems across the global firm. These actions are likely to induce negative responses and fuel mistrust among the new organisational members in acquired subsidiaries. Our recent research suggests that before integration of technical systems, firms need to start the integration with people. Trust and interpersonal relationships between parties of the acquisition strongly affect the outcome of the integration. The results show that when the acquirer's managers put effort into trust-building in

the early phases of the integration process, it really pays off in getting the acquired workforce on board. Furthermore, taking the time to rationalise and giving support to the local subsidiaries help in gaining the new organisational members' commitment to the new headquarters. Organisational members' perception and commitment matter in order for the whole firm to aim for shared goals. This will help organisations become successful in the future, including after M&A. Learn more: Väisänen, M., Tessier, S. & Järvinen, J. (2021). Fostering Enabling Perceptions of Management Controls during Post-acquisition Integration.Contemporary Accounting Research, 38(2),13411367. doi:10.1111/19113846.12639

About the author Marjo Väisänen is a doctoral researcher at the Oulu Business School who defends her PhD Thesis on management accounting and control in the context of mergers and acquisitions on 10 June, 2022. With her co-authors, Sophie Tessier and Janne Järvinen, they published the article “Fostering Enabling Perceptions of Management Controls during Post-acquisition Integration” in one of the top scientific business journals (FT50), Contemporary Accounting Research, in the summer of 2021.

Our recent research suggests that before integration of technical systems, firms need to start the integration with people.

PHOTO: Mikko Törmänen

Success in grant application round for OBS researchers


n 2021, researchers at the Oulu Business School achieved success in the Foundation for Economic Education grant application round.

The Foundation for Economic Education awarded grants to a total value of EUR 4.4 million to 266 projects in the field of business research and education. The projects focused on the platform economy, sustainable value creation and responsibility. The majority of the grants were awarded for doctoral theses and post-doctoral research. In the three-year funding application process for research groups, a total of EUR 1.01 million was awarded to ten different research groups. Professor of marketing at the Oulu Business School Satu Nätti and her research group received a grant of EUR 70,000. The aim of the research group is to develop the meta skills for virtual team collaboration in multidisciplinary cooperation. Researchers at the Oulu Business School also received numerous grants for doctoral thesis research and postdoctoral research as well as research visits and other study trips.

PHOTO: Rami Hanafi

Systemic and Human Empowerment in the Revolution of Health Care (SHERLOC)


he SHERLOC project examined healthcare change processes from a systemic and humancentred perspective. The focus of the study was on hospitals and hospital innovation activities, as well as the working practices and operating models of health care professionals. The project, which was funded by the Eudaimonia Institute of the University of Oulu, came to an end in 2021. When the project started in 2018, the reform of social welfare and health care was a hot topic in Finnish society. A few years later, the change in the sector is once again being discussed because of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, proving that the SHERLOC project still has its finger on the pulse. The SHERLOC project examined internal change processes, decision-

making and barriers to innovation in public health care. In particular, the study highlighted the strong interconnections of health care organisations with other actors in society and the fact that people are always affected by change processes. The project leader, Professor Tuija Mainela, and the project researchers, Postdoctoral Researcher Hannu Torvinen and Doctoral Researcher Kaisu Jansson, were able to share the results of the project with a wider audience in Finnish in the Studia Generalia live broadcast on YouTube organised by the Eudaimonia Institute in late 2021. The researchs on the changes healthcare systems currently undergo in modern welfare societies continues in WATSON project (Work and AI in Transformation for Systemic Opportunities in Health Care Networks) until 2025.

WHAT DID WE LEARN? Internal change processes •

Professional boundaries in-action: Using reflective spaces for boundary work to incorporate a new health care role Lunkka, N., Jansson, N., Mainela, T., Suhonen, M., Meriläinen, M., Puhakka, V. & Wiik, H. (2021). Human Relations, Online First.

Despite a clear division of responsibilities, the boundaries between different health professions and professional roles are not set in stone. They are created, maintained, and modified through interaction between professionals. This interaction also helps in rationalising changes and creating common understanding. The creation of a common understanding becomes particularly important when a completely new professional role is introduced into a healthcare organisation. Without effective interaction, the work community may,

at worst, have several different views and expectations about the new role, which is likely to cause friction in the work community. Job development meetings, in which health professionals discuss in multidisciplinary teams about the new role, are an important tool in hospital management's efforts to support change in this kind of case.

New types of decision making •

Concealing paradoxes in decisionmaking during hospital hybridization – a systems theoretical analysis Jansson, K., Tuunainen, J. & Mainela, T. (2021). Journal of Health Organization and Management, 35:2.

Healthcare organisations are expected to take an increasingly large role in healthcare innovation. As a result, new types of innovation-promoting organisations have emerged in the healthcare field. One example is an innovation lab which was established within a university hospital connecting the hospital to healthcare and medical technology businesses, and

examined as part of the SHERLOC project.

• The establishment of completely new functions within a hospital require new kind of decision-making if the functions can not be directly justified by the hospital's existing action plans or strategies. For example, decision-making processes can emphasise the resolution of social and internal problems in the hospital, rely on the organization's or other actors' past experiences of similar functions, or highlight the organization's societal responsibilities. From the perspective of developing decisionmaking, it is important that decision-makers justify the new activity from a wide range of perspectives, link it to the official strategy and action plan of the organisation, and critically review the strategies used in decision-making and their functionality within their own organisation.

Barriers to innovation •

Public Health Care Innovation Lab Tackling the Barriers of Public Sector

Innovation Torvinen, H. & Jansson, K. (2022). Public Management Review, Online.

Digging in to the deficiencies and challenges of public sector as an innovator, the present study focused on how an innovation lab of a university hospital could tackle the barriers to innovation identified in earlier research literature. Especially effective the case lab proved in altering the public hospital's approach in terms of interaction and as such, overcoming the barriers related to public sector complexity like different organisational cultures and fragmented objectives. In addition to interaction mindset, the lab proved influential by enhancing the mutual learning both within and between the public and private actors and as such, tackling shortcoming related to organisational competences and resources. On the other hand, case lab's impact on barriers related risk avoidance via commercialisation mindset and bureaucracy via independence mindset were lesser.

PHOTO: Rami Hanafi

Irina Atkova joins the 6G research programme


ostdoctoral researcher Irina Atkova of the Martti Ahtisaari Institute was chosen to a postdoctoral researcher's position of the University of Oulu's research profiling theme “6G-Solutions and Responsible Innovations for Future Sustainable Society” (6G-FSS). The research theme is supported by the Academy of Finland's Profi6 research profiling funding (20212026). The research theme leverages the expertise of the university's 6G Flagship, Digital health, and Sustainable energy systems to carry out interdisciplinary research for a data-driven, hyperconnected future society with digitalized healthcare and energy-thrifty power systems. Atkova's journey towards the position began in the Digital Health (DigiHealth)

research programme. The programme is a part of the University of Oulu's national profiling actions (Profi5). In a joint research work between the Oulu Business School and the Faculty of Medicine, Atkova and her colleagues started exploring how the business model approach can be used to map, analyse, and enhance a patient's care path in an intensive care unit. Soon, they started also addressing the problems of decision-making driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and AI ethics. AIdriven decision-making can assist medical specialists in clinical judgement by using AI-generated synthetic data. It enhances the reliability of decisions, and it can improve situation-awareness by predicting the situation and forecasting the future status of diseases. It ultimately leads to improved outcomes and cost savings due to faster, more efficient, and effective treatment response.

However, the disruptive potential of AI technologies to change the humanity and society has raised extensive ethical discussions about potential risks and how to mitigate these. Despite the importance of the ethical use of AI, the extant research on tangible implementation of ethical goals and values is still scarce. Therefore, there is a need to develop a framework for identifying and analyzing the ethical tensions emerging in AI-driven and AIassisted decision-making. Now, in the Profi6 profiling theme, Atkova will expand her research towards the 6G solutions and responsible innovations for future sustainable society. She will leverage the results of the DigiHealth and focus on the citizencentred health data solutions. By deeply intertwining physical and digital domains, 6G will profoundly transform the world.

She is about to explore how and why and what kind of platform-based ecosystemic business models can emerge in the future healthcare context, and how to ensure the complementarity of various digital healthcare platforms, to promote citizen-centred proactive and predictive healthcare. “I am looking forward to continuing solving new research puzzles that our uncertain present and potential futures will bring about”, she says.

PHOTO: Daria Shevtsova / Pexels.com

University of Oulu, Oulu Business School P.O. Box 4600, 90014 Oulu, Finland Tel. +358 294 48 0000 oulubusinessschool@oulu.fi oulu.fi/oulubusinessschool

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