Page 1













All articles have been published in TSE and UTU stakeholder magazines and websites. Publisher Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku | Cover image @turkuschoolofeconomics | Translations University Communications, Lingsoft Contact |

WE WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL AND SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY TURKU SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS is a business school that offers a wide range of studies in the field of business and economics. Our work is based on high-quality, international level research in these fields. We train entrepreneurial-minded, innovative, and responsible future decision-makers and experts in an international environment. CROSS-DISCIPLINARITY is part of our everyday work, and it is apparent in the operations of our world-class research groups and in the range of studies we offer, which is in many respects unique. Innovation, foresight, and responsibility are overarching themes in all our operations. SHARED VALUES and co-operation between the faculty and the students form the basis for our work. Our core values are an ethical and critical approach, creativity, openness, and communality.





niversity students are the future leaders and decisionmakers of our society. Therefore, we need to carefully consider what and how we teach them. The financial crisis that started in 2008 put business schools into the spotlight in this respect, first especially in the US. Around that time the question was raised: to what extent students are taught to become responsible and future-oriented decision-makers instead of becoming short-sighted profit maximizers? After those discussions, business schools have globally taken the issue seriously and incorporated responsibility more or less into their curricula, not least because international accreditation bodies are also driving this development.

Like the whole university sector nowadays, the business school sector is a highly competitive environment. We at Turku School of Economics (TSE) have constantly developed our operations towards world-class quality. We have implemented several new systems and practices to evaluate and develop faculty qualifications, learning, and impact. More generally, the role of business schools could be presented along the following lines (adapted from the agenda of AACSB): • Co-creators of knowledge: high quality research (also) through partnering in knowledge formation at the intersections of academia, industry, and the public sector • Catalysts for Innovation: networking to foster new solutions • Leaders on leadership: advancing research into understanding leadership and creating environments that train responsible leaders • Enablers of global prosperity: helping to address societal goals, including creating ethical and sustainable organizations • Hubs of lifelong learning: offering education from Bachelor level to executive training. What I personally would like to emphasize here is enabling our students and new graduates to think differently and innovatively, to make a difference in the world. This is why we at TSE put special effort in renewing our curricula as we strive for responsible management and a sustainable society. Futures Studies offer a good basis to develop, together with other disciplines, our understanding of the operating environments and requirements of the future. In general, our aim is to embed foresight and responsibility into the mindsets of our students and other stakeholders. That is why our slogans

are: “For the Future!” and “A Great Place to Think Ahead!” It has been inspiring to notice how these initiatives bear fruit already. A great example is the Choose Your Future award winning course work and the start-up company established upon that. Also the ideas of networking to foster new solutions and co-creation of knowledge label our strategy today. The award winning StartUp! course and the Innovation Camp concept, where students are creating new business models and developing existing ones through real-life problem solving, are great examples of such activity from the learning perspective. Such initiatives directly link to strong entrepreneurship research and education, and to the Entrepreneurship University initiative. All the above is yet based on international high quality research. Business studies and economics are fields of social science where quality requirements are similar to any other field of science. This is something many business practitioners do not seem to recognize (I have though seen similar signs among some academics, too), which may create wrong assumptions towards business disciplines and the applicability of research results directly to contribute to the success of corporations. We do high quality research in a competitive environment, both theoretical and applied, and that is something to be acknowledged by the stakeholders: we also need time for concentrating on – increasingly inter-disciplinary – research on important business, management, economics, and other societal issues. This means prioritizing longterm knowledge accumulation over short-term benefits. MARKUS GRANLUND Dean, Professor of Management Accounting


FUTURE CAREER WITH US! University of Turku offers 13 international Master’s Degree Programmes. The two-year programmes are based on the University’s research strengths. Nhan Nguyen Thanh is a student in the Master’s Degree Programme in Global Innovation Management (GIM) in Turku School of Economics. Read what he has to say about studying with us!

“ Practicality, good facilities, openness, and fun summarise my experiences here“ Nhan Nguyen Thanh

Photo Hanna Oksanen


– I had many reasons for choosing UTU: its international brand, what I had heard from my friends and the facts I learned by looking things up. At the University of Turku, the teaching and learning environments are world-class and based on research. The student services and student union are also outstanding. ON LEARNING EXPERIENCE

– My expectations have simply been exceeded. Practicality, good facilities, openness, and fun summarise my experiences here. Why? First of all, the case studies and business contexts are real. Secondly, there are many libraries (book heavens to me) which offer numerous 24-hour rooms equipped with internet-

Nhan Nguyen Thanh is one of the UTU bloggers who share their experiences on studying at UTU and on the student life in Turku, Finland.

accessed computers for the students’ use. Thirdly, we get to design our own study plans and select the courses that suit our future careers best. The teachers listen to us and encourage us to come up with new ideas—which makes studying fun and exciting. ON FUTURE PLANS

– GIM builds on my prior knowledge by developing innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset. In addition, the teaching methods used on the courses enable us to put theories, concepts, and models into practice, leading to further development and knowledge acquisition by ourselves later on. In the future, I would love to be a teacher and a lecturer—and apply this method to my teaching! •

Read the blog at



In the morning, Anna packs her backpack and goes to her favourite café. There, she begins her workday: Anna has found an assignment on a website and is now searching for addresses and contact information. In the afternoon, she plans on working on her own company’s marketing campaign in a local co-working space. In the evening, Anna needs to finalise the newest product for her online store, as demand for her alpaca wool socks has been steadily increasing as of late.


nna could be living in Turku, Copenhagen or Sydney. Digitalisation is changing the contents of work, the ways we work and how work is organised around the world. This is the platform economy, where information and communication technologies enable new methods for providing, seeking and doing work. ‒ The most prevalent form of doing work is gathering in a specific building at a specific time and doing specific jobs. The building acts as a platform of sorts. Digitalisation is basically altering the units of work, when you don’t have to work in a specific place, describes Senior Researcher, Docent Seppo Poutanen. Poutanen is a philosopher and sociologist as well as one of the researchers of the SWiPE – Smart Work in Platform Economy consortium, which is funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland and is led by the University of Turku. The example that Poutanen describes, the change in the units of work, is one sign of the fact that the digital platform economy is already here. The boundaries between different businesses are losing their meaning and the logics of production are changing. Work is changing for the individual, while for companies the logic behind value-creation and business models are changing. Everything is becoming more complex and globally interdependent. The platform economy decouples workers and employers from one another, both temporally and geographically. One of the most well-known examples

of the platform economy is Uber, the transportation network company that was founded in 2009 to connect individual drivers with those who need their services via a service platform. Other examples include platforms that connect those who sell their services, i.e. workers, with those who buy their services, i.e. employers. The Internet is full of small information work tasks that are often not compensated very well. For example, on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk website, companies and developers provide simple tasks that cannot be done with an AI: e.g. tasks where the human eye is needed to quickly interpret photos so that companies can build their catalogue to be recognisable by online algorithms. The third example is microcompanies that use platforms to reach the global marketplace in a way that was not previously possible. ‒ Any kind of skill, for example writing or programming, is easier to sell than ever before. People can, for example, sell their handicrafts worldwide and profit from their hobby, Poutanen says.

THE DANGER BEHIND DYSTOPIAN VISIONS AND HYPE According to Seppo Poutanen, we have already passed the era when it was still relevant to ponder whether digitalisation would eliminate so-called traditional jobs. ‒ Even now, most industrial work is done by robots and machines. Humans supervise these machines and processes to make sure that everything is going

smoothly. Of course digitalisation is eliminating certain jobs, but it’s also creating new kinds of jobs. We’re talking about the redistribution of work ‒ but it’s certainly not the case that there’s only one big pile of work that is being whittled away. We still need nurses, hairdressers, close interaction with other people. The digital economy won’t change that. From a researcher’s perspective, both dystopian visions and hype are dangerous. It is not true that we will have no need for people ‒ but it also is untrue that the platform economy will benefit everyone. According to one perspective, these platforms will not create any new jobs as such, but they will move them away from organisations. For example, in a platform economy, the number of solo entrepreneurs will grow, which has been a clear trend both internationally and in Finland during the 2000s. Work is becoming more uncertain. ‒ The rapid increase in the number of temporary workers is a threat. If a person needs to be on standby for 24 hours a day just to get a meagre income with skills that aren’t well-paid, that is, of course, a negative vision. However, since the work does not depend on the time, place or resources, these platforms can provide a frictionless entry point to work that can pay very well. For example, industrial companies are ready to pay for scientific solutions that involve technological applications. ‒ Good ideas and talent can help attain a good income. The younger generations that grew up with various apps have a better chance of understanding work within the

developing platform economy and thus achieving success. Older generations have to learn new skills, even some that they couldn’t have imagined that they would need. Poutanen notes that while digitalisation will not eliminate all work, it will change work on every level ‒ even work that is not done on digital platforms. For example, routine tasks that are part of service work will be greatly altered. A car mechanic might update the car’s computer while they change its oil or tires. In care work, customer visits will be registered into the individual’s health and care database. The forms of work that are enabled by digitalisation and the platform economy will also be a part of the public sector, affecting both processes and the organisation of work. ‒ For example, some jobs in the healthcare sector can be outsourced. The work of those who record medical reports into text has become so digital that it can be done outside the physical confines of a hospital. If we can build functional models for digital activities on a national level, these could then be scaled into international success stories.

STICKING TO THE OLD WAYS WILL THROTTLE THE ECONOMY Finland does not yet contain much business that is centred around platforms: we do not have a large group of people who receive most of their income via platform work. Currently, most discussions focus on extra work and income. This group is growing, however, and when compared to other

countries, Finland is under pressure to enact faster changes for the development of its economy and efficiency. When the usual model for work is full-time employment that is done on a permanent basis, the platform economy challenges the expectations that people have about both work and the position and meaning of employees within society, from education to private and public service production and job market legislation. ‒ Any country-specific legislation is severely challenged by the platform economy, as it operates on a global level. In a way, any legislative attempts by individual countries have become meaningless, and it’s difficult to regulate things even on the European Union level, Poutanen says. Poutanen emphasises that digitalisation itself does not make the economy more fair or unfair, but in the platform economy, employment matters or market competition for example can be affected by politics and with international regulations. ‒ It’s about people’s livelihoods, employment contracts and being at work ‒ and our political forces are stuck to old structures. By sticking to the old, you’re inevitably throttling the economy, since the platform economy is getting stronger and stronger internationally. We now need research data on what this development means and how Finland can create new possibilities from it. A country that only tries to prevent the changes caused by the platform economy will be left worse off overall, Poutanen says.

FOCUSING ON SMART WORK IN THE ERA OF THE PLATFORM ECONOMY The SWiPE – Smart Work in Platform Economy consortium that is funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland is conducting extensive research on the connections between the platform economy and changes in work from a variety of perspectives. The consortium is led by the University of Turku and its other partners include Etla and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The project’s funding lasts between 2016 and 2019. With its various research projects, the multidisciplinary consortium wants to assess for example the connections between paid work and entrepreneurship, educational needs, university-led and science-based entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activities, changes in the contents of work caused by technology, as well as the paths towards working life for migrants. ‒ The change in working life in the era of the platform economy is a significant, permanent and multifaceted phenomenon that, from the perspective of the economy and society, goes far beyond multinational corporations that operate with technological platforms. As skill requirements change, it will be necessary to renew different areas, like education. However, very little is known about the

changes to and organisation of work in the era of the platform economy. The goal of the consortium is to produce relevant information to support decision-making, says the consortium’s leader, Professor of Entrepreneurship Anne Kovalainen from the University of Turku. The consortium collaborates with several stakeholders. Its partners include

SITRA, Kone, the Finnish Family Firms Association, the Finnish Federation for Settlement Houses, the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) as well as the Enterprise and Diversity Research Cluster at the University of Birmingham. •




he Startup! course at Turku School of Economics was nominated the winner of the first Intoa! Entrepreneurial Act of the Year competition of the University of Turku. The course develops new tools for teaching and learning about entrepreneurship for the entire university. It is also a concrete way to participate in building a local and national ecosystem for entrepreneurship. The Startup! course, which has been running for ten years already, is targeted at students in all faculties of the University of Turku as well as the students of the two other higher education institutions in the city. The students on the course set up multidisciplinary teams which create business ideas and develop them for half a year as if they were real startups. – Brainstorming, testing, insights and sharing all of this with others are the most important aspects of the course. If new startups emerge as a by-product, it’s great, but entrepreneurial thinking is useful for everyone as the concepts of work and working change, says the teacher-in-charge, Pekka Stenholm. The business ideas used on the course can be anything, for example a bicycle-powered mobile café or a new way of using pop-up containers in marketing. The course plays an important role in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the students know where to look for support when starting a real company. For example, the startup community of higher education students in the city, Boost Turku, offers the course participants training in such areas as pitching, or selling your idea. Annually, almost one hundred students participate in the course and around 20 new startup teams are set up. One in three teams continues their project as a real enterprise. – 100 per cent of the participants on the course realise how to adapt their own skills. The participants gain valuable insights into public speaking, team work and project management, explains the other teacher-in-charge, Tommi Pukkinen. •

The Startup! course at Turku School of Economics was nominated the winner of the first Intoa! Entrepreneurial Act of the Year competition of the University of Turku. The teachers of the Startup! course, Project Researcher Tommi Pukkinen and Senior Researcher Pekka Stenholm from the Entrepreneurship Unit, have been teaching the course for several years.




t is easy for Paananen to smile in the conferment ceremony. Paananen, who was born in Piikkiö, honestly admits that the honour touches him emotionally. This is a magnificent feeling, an extremely notable honour. This indeed makes one humble, comments Paananen. The media characterises Paananen with many other terms: successful,

innovative, international, responsible, the only director who does not complain about taxes, wages or bureaucracy. Possibly the most striking feature is Paananen’s habit of seeing the future as bright. – There is talk of recession and apathy in the society, but my everyday life is marked by a different mood. I get to meet the Slush-generation; unbelievably

talented young people who have set their goals high. We have enormous possibilities in Finland, and the startup field is doing better than ever, Paananen says. One of the reasons for being so positive might be Paananen’s way of finding entrepreneurship so rewarding. It is not about operating as an entrepreneur but the attitude with which one grasps challenges. – Maybe one of the reasons why I enjoy the game industry so much, is that developing a new game is like building a new enterprise. You start to create something from nothing. You dive into extreme uncertainty thinking of what you could create into the nothingness. Do I dare step forward knowing how unlikely it is to succeed? Paananen explains. According to Paananen, work is most rewarding when the collaboration of professionals of different fields takes the task forward. – When you reach the goal with a team, the feeling is awesome. For me, this is the most interesting line of work to exist. Life is too short not to do what you’re passionate about, if it’s possible, Paananen states. Paananen also rejoices of other people’s success and he is ready to support it. He coaches at the Startup Sauna and he is one of the founding members of the Startup-säätiö Foundation. Together with his business associate, Mikko Kodisoja, Paananen founded the WE Foundation which aims at reducing social inequality and exclusion. – I feel attached to startups. I have received so much and that’s why I want to

help others follow the paths of possibilities, Paananen explains. Paananen’s own path wound through Piikkiö’s primary and secondary schools to the Luostarivuoren lukio upper secondary school in Turku and from there to Aalto University. In 2010, Paananen founded Supercell together with, Mikko Kodisoja, Niko Derome, Lassi Leppinen, Visa Forsten and Petri Styrman. The group sold Supercell’s share majority to the Japanese companies SoftBank and GungHo, but the administration of Supercell still remains in Paananen and the founders’ hands. Now Paananen is the youngest honorary doctor of Turku School of Economics. His personal bond to Turku School of Economics is still rather shallow. – I spoke of entrepreneurship on an entrepreneurship course in Turku School of Economics around ten years ago, at the time of my former company. If Turku School of Economics invites me to speak another time and the timetables match, I will gladly come discuss with students, says Paananen.

Ilkka Paananen received his Turku School of Economics Honorary Doctorate in the joint conferment ceremony for doctors and masters in May 2016 as recognition of creating and growing successful and innovative business on international market and his remarkable effort in the development of Finnish game industry as a responsible and future-oriented entrepreneur.





n 2015, Europe faced a challenge comparable to migration of peoples: hundreds of thousands of people had to leave their homes in Assyria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and seek asylum in European countries. Finland—a country with a small population of mere 5,5 million citizens and little experience with mass immigration— received over 30 000 asylum applicants. As a response to the challenge, students at Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland, developed a campaign,

Choose Your Future. The Choose Your Future project came about in the autumn of 2015 as team work of 49 students on the Strategic Brand Management course. The team developed a mobile application called About Turku that provides asylum seekers with useful information about their new home city in their native languages. In addition, the students founded a Facebook community in which locals and asylum seekers can discuss and learn new things about each other’s cultures. Choose

Choose Your Future has also created a mobile guide to new university students. Matti Sahi, Katerina Panina and Susanna Lahtinen say that, besides the business aspect, they have a vision of a better world where everyone can find their own community.

Your Future also organised various events: a friendly football match between asylum seekers and Finns, a clothes appeal for reception centres and a food-related event as part of the international restaurant day. In the early 2016, Choose Your Future participated in the international Facebook Global Digital Challenge which was organised in collaboration by Facebook and the U.S. Department of State. This competition, which was targeted at universities around the world, sought to discover new means for making extremist organisations less attractive, particularly by utilising social media. Choose Your Future won the Facebook Global Digital Challenge and the students were invited to Washington to present their project to the United States Government. Later, the group was also invited to the UN’s General Assembly to give a presentation at the peace and security session. The project gained further international acclaim as the American Association to

Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which accredits business schools, put Choose Your Future on its list of most inspirational innovations in 2017. Through the Innovations That Inspire initiative, AACSB aims to identify ways in which business schools provide more value to the society as they spearhead innovative practices in today’s ever-changing globalised world. In particular, the initiative highlights good practices through which educational institutions have managed to bring about change and create an environment for a new kind of thinking with the objective of spreading good practises among the participating institutions. – Choose Your Future is a magnificent example of how the innovativeness and effectiveness of university education can be improved; it reflects a more expansive mentality and openness while seeking to find solutions to major social issues, says Turku School of Economics Dean Markus Granlund. •



Research Redefines Maritime Industry MARITIME INDUSTRY IS FACING A GLOBAL TURNING POINT AS DIGITALISATION ENABLES THE DEVELOPMENT OF AUTONOMOUS AND REMOTE CONTROLLED VESSELS. A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Turku is part of the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) project studying and developing solutions for autonomous shipping. In the AAWA project, researchers from the University of Turku study the prerequisites for remote and autonomous shipping when it comes to, for example, sensor technology, maritime liability and insurance, and changes in business environment. Research is conducted in close collaboration with companies and other universities and research institutes participating in the consortium. Turku School of Economics leads the University of Turku sub-project, which involves researchers from Turku School of Economics, the Faculty of Law and

the Department of Future Technologies. Research is carried out in close collaboration with companies and research institutes that are part of the consortium. The main project partner is Rolls-Royce. Researchers estimate that the commercialisation of autonomous processes will increase during the next 2–3 years. – The development of autonomous shipping does not mean that we can start using fully autonomous ships straight away. More likely, it means that the amount of different autonomous shipping processes will gradually increase. Autonomous shipping will become commonplace when all technological, commercial and social circumstances make it possible. This will most likely happen in the 2020s, says Antti Saurama, Director of the University of Turku sub-project. •

BATTLING POVERTY with FUTURES RESEARCH The University of Turku has been granted a professorship by UNESCO with the aim of making use of tools of futures research to eradicate poverty and increase well-being in the developing countries. Professor of Futures Studies Markku Wilenius has been appointed to the position. TEXT TARU SUHONEN PHOTO HANNA OKSANEN


he professorship is granted by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation UNESCO. The aim of the professorship is to support futures work in the developing countries. The University of Turku begins the creation of a method for introducing futures work to developing countries in co-operation with UNESCO and the other agreement partners involved. Eight universities from, for example, Namibia, Peru, China, the United States and Germany, have already signed up as partners in co-operation. The aims of the four-year professorship also include preparation for the new UniTwin university network project for UNESCO.

THE PAST DOES NOT DETERMINE THE FUTURE – My own research shows that our world is moving into the next era, the Sixth Wave. The new wave will take a great deal away with it but it will also bring new possibilities as the effective forces of movement are different from before. It is possible for the developing countries to find new ways to be part of the world economy – ways, in which they can for example increase the value added of raw materials and leave their subordinate position as the resource base for the global economy. The tools of futures research help picture these

possibilities by anticipating what needs will arise and what will disappear. That is what we do here every day, says Wilenius. Wilenius, who has for more than 20 years worked in the field of futures research in Finland and abroad, talks about futures education. – Our aim is to help people across the world to understand how important it is to anticipate the future and draw conclusions. The empowering starting point is that what has happened in the past does not necessarily determine what will happen in the future.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FOR FUTURES RESEARCH The theme of the UNESCO professorship is Learning Society and Futures of Education. – We observe UNESCO’s principles in our work as messengers of the societal role and significance of education. Spreading education and culture widely and investing

– These themes will return to the University of Turku in the coming years with the question how the knowledge pool of the whole of the University of Turku can in future be made use of in these projects. It is worth noting that this also opens up possibilities for education exports. The project partners are Future Studies Center (Universidade de Brasília),

Spreading education and culture widely and investing in that work has been a truly revolutionary force in the developing societies.“ in that work has been a truly revolutionary force in the developing societies. In the project, we also carry out research on the current educational situation and the development needs related to education, says Wilenius. According to Rector Kalervo Väänänen, this professorship is an important acknowledgement for the work that has long been done in the field of futures research and sustainable development at the University of Turku and its Finland Futures Research Centre.

Department of Educational Futures Research (Freie Universität Berlin), Centre for Research in Futures and Innovation (University of South Wales), Nordic Centre at Fudan University, Future Impacts Consulting, University of Namibia, PIPSTCER Cereal Technology Research Programme (Universidad Nacional Agraria de Molina Peru) and School of Information Management (Huazhong Normal University). •

THE RATE OF CHANGE REQUIRES RENEWAL We are living in the middle of a constantly accelerating change which is about to revolutionise our entire way of life. We talk a lot about digitalisation, but we often forget the most essential thing in digital transformation — how technology changes the way people behave and think. The next technological disruption may await us behind any corner, and it may revolutionise our way of consuming, working or moving in one go.


he business I represent is currently shaken up by a transformation which is the largest ever in terms of its scale and rate. The changing customer behaviour together with the accelerating advance of technology undermines the existing business logic, and therefore new business models have to be created instead. Simultaneously, the boundaries of industries are blurring and merging, and new competitors are seizing parts of the market. The mental starting point of OP Financial Group at the verge of this change is clear: we strive to lead the renewal in our field. The exact direction and rate of fundamental change is difficult to predict. However, we have

learned from previous transformations that those who manage to renew themselves first are the ones to succeed best. I am worried about Finland’s ability to renew itself and continue its hundred-year-long success story. Finland cannot remain in a state of stagnation. When the ability to change and renew oneself becomes one of the most important qualities of people, companies and nations, it challenges the education system and its content in a new way. How can we ensure high-quality, up-to-date education in a world that is defined by uncertainty and change? Learning by heart and giving simple answers to complicated questions will not be enough — if it ever was. Each level of our education system has to support the skills of learning new things, solving problems and communicating. As the boundaries of industries are collapsing, multidisciplinarity is already becoming a part of everyday working life, which is why universities should focus on developing it further. Extensive sophistication and thorough knowledge have been the key strengths of the Finnish society for the entire duration of our independence, and so will they be

in the future, as well. That is why securing the prerequisites of our education system, renewing its contents and cherishing highquality research can be counted among the fundamental questions of our country’s future. OP Financial Group wants to ensure that Finland maintains its competitiveness and potential to succeed for a long time to come. Therefore, OP has donated altogether 6.3 million euros to Finnish universities in a situation where there is notable pressure to cut funding on education. Investing in education and new knowhow is one of the most important means of ensuring our country’s ability to renew itself from the inside. The culture of renewal feeds new investments, and new investments enhance competitiveness. This creates a positive circle which requires the best possible universities. Reijo Karhinen Executive Chairman and President of OP Financial Group The writer is an honorary doctor and alumni of Turku School of Economics and an honorary doctor of the University of Eastern Finland.

OP Financial Group is Finland’s largest financial services group currently consisting of three business segments: Banking, Non-Life Insurance, and Wealth Management. In summer 2016, OP confirmed its updated long-term strategy: OP Financial Group aims to change gradually from a plain financial services provider to a diversified services company of the digital era. At the first stage, business diversification involves expanding the health and wellbeing business, for example. The strategy highlights improving customer experience by digitising services and processes.

No corporation is purely good or evil. The responsibility of corporations can be promoted by strengthening the power of individual consumers, says Postdoctoral Research Fellow Frederick Ahen, who is researching corporate social responsibility.

Researchers Must Intervene in



r. Ahen researches global health governance and strategic corporate responsibility at Turku School of Economics. Ahen is currently a visiting fellow at the University of Tampere. For his distinguished research, Ahen received the Turku Finnish University Society’s dissertation award for the 2014‒2015 academic year. He believes that, as a researcher, he has a duty to participate in the debate on social injustice. – How could I talk about responsibility without beginning with myself? Society has given me the chance to attain an academic degree, and now, as a researcher, it’s my duty to give something back. It’s important to find relevant topics that can be researched to solve social problems. Ahen is now working on several articles which build on his doctoral project. Ahen thinks that a researcher must actively participate in socially relevant discussions. – I don’t want to produce publications that will just gather dust on a shelf. Through my work, I want to be able to affect decision-making and build a better society. Ahen thinks that the aspect of responsibility is needed more in economic research. – Economic research has a tendency to assume that companies are doing the right thing. This is why international business research too often ignores the political aspects.

POWER MUST BE RETURNED TO THE GRASSROOTS LEVEL In his dissertation in 2015, Ahen assessed the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies and other major global health actors. In the field research, he studied consumer protection from counterfeit drugs in West Africa. According to Ahen, there are reasons for both the supply and demand for the blooming market of counterfeit medicines. There is a great demand for medicine, and the supply is created by globalisation and new technologies that make the production and commercialisation of counterfeit medicines easy. Ahen states that the problem cannot be solved as long as corporations focus on maximizing their profits, as well as due to the structural inefficiency of corporations and governments and their attempt to maintain their own status quo rather than wanting to produce any real value to consumers. In the global economy, the corporate responsibility is a complex question. Ahen emphasises that corporate responsibility depends on the institutional environment where the companies operate. For example, counterfeit drugs have been found in Finnish hospitals as well, but Ahen thinks the problem is marginal when compared to emerging economies. – The Nordic countries have strong institutions and mechanisms for upholding the law. Officials can’t be bought out, the

I don’t want to produce publications that will just gather dust on a shelf. Through my work, I want to be able to affect decision-making and build a better society.”

law is respected, and consumers have a choice ‒ to a large extent, Ahen notes. – In the West, there are checks and balances such as regulations and strong consumer and stakeholder organisations which constrain corporations to behave responsibly, for the most part. In other institutional contexts however, the same corporations can operate in a completely different way, Ahen explains. He emphasises that no corporation is purely good or evil. – Corporations aren’t irrational actors that are separate from people, but a group of people serving other people. I believe that most people and employees in any corporation are aiming to do good. According to Ahen, corporate responsibility could be promoted by strengthening the institutions of those

countries where corporations operate. For example, Ahen mentions counterfeit malaria drugs that are a widely spread problem in many African countries. Weak healthcare institutions, high disease burden, and lack of affordable generic medicines as well as expensive prices of branded medicines create the vacuum in the market that is then filled by counterfeiters. Ahen admits that institutional change is difficult and slow. As an alternative, he recommends value-based corporate leadership and empowering individual consumers. – The prevention of both infectious and chronic illnesses are the easiest ways to empower consumers. If people don’t get sick, they aren’t dependent on the pharmaceutical industry. For example, there are simple ways for preventing malaria that can significantly help the low-income households to reduce their risk of getting sick. Educating the public on the significance of how they manage their environment is a very important and inexpensive way to prevent illnesses. For everyone everywhere, prioritizing exercise and what they put into their bodies, having a sound mind and cultivating healthy relationships as a lifestyle is the way to not give your power away, Ahen says.

FINNISH EDUCATION IS HIGHLY VALUED Ahen was born and raised in Ghana, but has now lived over half of his life in different parts of Europe. Ahen completed his Bachelor’s degree in Italy, after which he continued his studies in Germany and Great Britain. Becoming a researcher was a clear goal for Ahen ever since he began his studies. Finally, he ended up in Finland, which was already a familiar country back from his Erasmus exchange days. – This is a good place to live in, and Turku School of Economics has provided an excellent working environment. The education is of high-quality and also highly valued abroad. I’m thankful for all that I’ve received here, Ahen says with a smile. The Finnish winters do not slow his pace, either. He cycles to work all year round, usually wearing a suit. Ahen loves to ski and hopes for white winters, as he likes the cold climate. – But I didn’t come here to watch the snow. I want to do work that has real meaning. My plans are clear. Here comes a future professor. •


Open science, which has become an international mega trend, benefits both researchers and third parties. The University of Turku strives to make open science part of all of the University’s activities.

– In short, open science means increasing the openness of each phase of the entire research process. Openness means either that the data is freely accessible to everyone, or that it can be accessed by asking for permission, sums up Mari Riipinen, Head of Unit at the Research Development of the University of Turku An increasing number of research investors demand openness, and openness has become an international mega trend in science. – Finland has advanced quickly in this area, partially due to the strong ambition of the Ministry. The University of Turku project OpenUTU has been developing open science since 2015, tells Riipinen.

Developing open science has been recorded in the University’s strategy. The objective is to create an operational culture in which the principles of open science are relevant to all of the University’s activities.

OPENNESS INCREASES COLLABORATION Integrating open science in the research process provides the University with significant advantages. A substantial increase in the number of references to articles uploaded to the open portal has been noted. In addition, openness enables the use of science to back up decisionmaking, which benefits the whole society. – The idea that data itself could be regarded as a merit is also new. Data can be referenced in a similar way as a publication, explains Riipinen. She also notes that it is easier for other researchers, the economy and companies to find those who openly share their research, enabling new kinds of collaboration and innovations. – This is why openness has become such a mega trend and researchers have grasped it with enthusiasm, states Riipinen.

PUBLICATION POLICY SUPPORTS RESEARCHERS The objective of the OpenUTU project is to support researchers by enabling the use of open science. The University’s data and publication policy have already been published within the framework of the project.

The data policy recommends opening research data to the public. The publication policy, on the other hand, guides authors to provide open access to their scientific publications. Open access to data and publications both increases the reliability and visibility of research and contributes to the emergence of new information. The University Library has also published extensive ResearchGuides on publication and research data. The guides include practical advice on the processes of open science, for example copyrights and a data management plan. •

Good leadership Good leadership gets things moving gets things moving




TheTheExecutive at developing developingvisionary visionaryleaders leaders ExecutiveMBA MBATurku Turku aims aims at with a desire forforrenewal to deliver deliverreal realbenefits benefits their with a desire renewaland and the the will will to to to their organisations. organisations. structure ourhighly highlyregarded regarded programme TheThe structure ofofour programmehas hasitsits foundations fourareas areasof offocus: focus: foundations ininfour

• • • •

• visio nary leadership; visio nary leadership; • global business excellence; global business excellence; • innovation, and new business creation; and innovation, and new business creation; and • personal growth. personal growth. Come and join us!

Come and join us!

Turun kauppakorkeakoulu • Turku School of Economics

Turun kauppakorkeakoulu • Turku School of Economics


Magazine of Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku. The articles of this magazine introduce TSE's community and expertise. For...


Magazine of Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku. The articles of this magazine introduce TSE's community and expertise. For...