Doctoral theses

Recent Submissions

  • Mohamadi, Ashkan (Hanken School of Economics, 2019-11-06)
    The popularity of entrepreneurship as a practice is matched by scholars’ increasing attention to the phenomenon. In the management literature, entrepreneurship has become a field in its own right. Several scholars have argued that the right types of entrepreneurship, such as opportunity entrepreneurship, are an important driver of economic development and growth through employment, innovation, and structural transformation. Thus, it is unsurprising that finding ways to encourage entrepreneurship, especially the preferred types, is of interest to researchers and policymakers alike. In order to do so, they need to understand why the incidence of entrepreneurship is different from one country to another, and in that respect, country-level factors are determining the rate of entrepreneurship. These factors create the environment in which entrepreneurial opportunities and activities can be defined, generated, and also limited. Surprisingly, however, our understanding of the ways in which these national and institutional environments are fertile or fatal for entrepreneurship is limited, and study results on the benefits of various aspects of institutions to entrepreneurship continue to be debated. The overall objective of this thesis and the cases presented herein is to investigate how institutions and institutional factors affect opportunity exploitation at country level. We acknowledge that both institutional settings and the process of opportunity exploitation are complex phenomena. To address the research objective, this thesis builds on two co-authored research articles and one sole-authored. The methodological approach of the current work is nomothetic and quantitative. Moderation analysis at country level is the main approach applied in all the articles. As a result, we examined regression models that include interaction terms. In the articles, we perform fixed effect regression analyses. To be able to do the analyses, we utilize data from Adult Population Surveys of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). Previously a challenge in studying country-level entrepreneurship, institutions, and policymaking has been the lack of data. In recent years, the rise of GEM as harmonized and internationally comparable database on entrepreneurial activities has created the opportunity more effectively to conduct research in those areas. This thesis fills two specific gaps. First, our articles examined under-investigated institutional settings, in order to stimulate future research. This furthered our understanding, recognizing several theoretical concepts such as institutional incongruence. Additionally, we conclude that different aspects of institutions should not be considered and studied in isolation. Second, instead of studying direct impacts on startup rates, we examined how opportunities are discovered and exploited at country level. This is important because opportunity discovery is a major step in the entrepreneurship process, and we learned more about economic development through entrepreneurship, following the research stating that opportunity entrepreneurship is the preferred type of entrepreneurship for that purpose.
  • Ahlvik, Catarina (Hanken School of Economics, 2019-08-12)
    Today, the word mindfulness is so widely used that the profundity of this practice is sometimes overlooked. Furthermore, some articles, mostly in practitioner-oriented journals, have raised the concern of mindfulness practice having a pacifying effect on employees. This concern often stems from the notion of mindfulness having a non-judgmental component and the fear that this component may create complacency in the workplace. This is, however, a misreading of the practice, as non-judgement in this context refers to how to skillfully relate to one’s own experience. A non-judgmental attitude or attitudes such as acceptance and self-compassion are qualities that can facilitate contact with uncomfortable experiences and may thus diminish impulsive or defensive reactions. Thus, a non-judgmental attitude does not refer to complying with potentially disharmonious external conditions; rather, it enables turning towards and experiencing the present circumstances exactly as they are. In this thesis, I tackle this question in detail both theoretically and empirically, and show that mindfulness develops personal resources and may indeed be a powerful trigger for agency. Agency here refers to purposeful engagement with the social context, aiming to alter or maintain that context. Specifically, I argue that mindfulness may trigger what I refer to as institutional awareness, that is the ability to be aware of the emotional and cognitive impact of the institution in which you are embedded. Furthermore, I empirically show that mindfulness supports change-oriented behavior in organizations and that it does so through facilitating autonomous choice. Choices and actions are seen as autonomous when they are congruent with a person’s authentic interests and values. In line with previous research in clinical settings, I also show that mindfulness reduces, stress, burnout and increases the ability to detach from work after working hours. These findings are the result of a large-scale randomized field intervention, where 130 managers from four organizations in Finland participated in an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course.
  • Ritvanen, Hannu (Hanken School of Economics, 2019-08-07)
    This thesis has two aims: firstly to discuss and answer what are Intellectual Capital (IC)-related risks, and secondly to develop a framework for decision-makers for managing IC-related risks in an organisational context and practice. The main discipline and contributions of the thesis are in IC theory. Risk theory forms an important element to the contribution. The presumption is that risks occur in relationships, while results are shown in entities or in new tensions in relationships. Knowledge is seen as relational, between subject and object, between knower and known (or not known). The dominant classification, the ‘IC-Triad’ (human, structural and relational capitals), is an artefact from the time when IC was understood from an accounting perspective with financial and intangible assets. In this thesis an alternative is proposed. If classification is understood as a means to make sense of the complex world for managerial purpose, it is better to interpret the managerial task with concepts as close to the managerial reality as possible. I suggest re-conceptualising the original ‘IC-Triad’ to address arguably one of the most difficult, yet most common, managerial tasks: how to manage risk. Practitioners must in temporal flow of events ‘make do, with what is available’; I see them as ‘bricoleurs’. The ultimate aim of this thesis is to give decision-makers, through a practical framework for managing risk, more than they currently have available. Related IC and Intellectual Capital Management (ICM) discourses and the Risk Management (RM) literature have been reviewed. The conclusion from the IC literature review is that the dominant ‘IC-Triad’ needs to be re-conceptualised, including relationships, by developing a full ‘relational approach’ to Intellectual Capital Risk Management. This means that knowledge and knowing are understood as ‘existing’ in relationships between the subject (knower) and object (known). The object of enquiry can be entities or potential relationships between objects. The conclusion from literature review is that the conceptualisations underlying ISO 31000 are appropriate to the purpose of managing risks, risk defined as: the ‘effect of uncertainty on objectives’. The ICRM Framework is the main contribution to the IC, ICM and IC risk literatures by defining IC-related risks, identifying (with an emphasis on finding) IC-related risks in the practical organisational context and bridging the gap between management and operations by identifying the essential uncertainties in the organisational domain operationalised as epistemic holes in three temporal dimensions: ex-ante, present, and ex-post. The key is to avoid the ‘optimistic agenda’ by taking all essential uncertainties into account for decision-making and sharing the objectives of the organisation to all decision-makers. The risk identification process further ensures that the objectives are commonly known and that all events, whether positive or negative at the time of assessment, are also shared.
  • Sohn, Minchul (Hanken School of Economics, 2019-06-17)
    Natural hazards are events that take place as a result of naturally occurring processes. They have the potential to become disasters when they destroy the lives and/or livelihoods of a vulnerable population that cannot anticipate, cope with, resist, or recover from the impact of natural hazards using their own resources. For example, combined with the critical conditions of exposure and vulnerability, recurring small-scale seasonal climate risks (e.g., floods or droughts) become a disaster if a community’s functioning is undermined. In addition, there is substantial evidence that patterns of climate variability are changing, especially in terms of increased heavy rainfall events, prolonged dry spells, and shifts in seasonal rainfall patterns. Such seasonal climate risks are undoubtedly affecting many developing regions of the world and have significant implications for the vulnerable people living in these areas. To mitigate the negative impacts of recurring seasonal climate risks, there is a need to effectively manage humanitarian logistics and supply chains as well as develop strategies to cope with these risks and their associated uncertainty in terms of variability, even if their consequences do not always have catastrophic impacts. Thus, it is important to build and implement a preparedness approach that can fully exploit the risk mitigation strategies available to manage climate-related hazards as a means of improving the ability of humanitarian supply chains to deal with the potential impacts of seasonal climate risks and unpredictable variability. The overarching objective of the thesis is to investigate how humanitarian logistics preparedness can contribute to efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of a particular set of recurring natural hazards. It aims to examine conceptually how mitigating disaster risk could be incorporated into the management of humanitarian logistics and supply chains. This aim is addressed by developing the argumentation in support of the concept of developmental relief. Empirically, this thesis aims to explore the utilisation of seasonal climate information as part of humanitarian logistics preparedness activities to mitigate the negative impacts of seasonal climate risks. Seasonal climate information is rarely used in humanitarian logistics preparedness, even though there is a wealth of available information on seasonal climates and the whole area is well-recognised as foundational for effective disaster risk management. In this thesis, seasonal climate information and its utilisation by responding organisations constitute an important medium to explore the primary aim set out above, which addresses the inter-relationships between humanitarian logistics preparedness, mitigation of disaster risks, and seasonal climate risks. In addition, and as a result of the author’s experiences when conducting the fieldwork research underpinning this study, this thesis also examines the benefits and challenges associated with the process of performing fieldwork-based research that can drive solid insights into the phenomenon of interest.
  • Reunanen, Mika (Hanken School of Economics, 2019-05-08)
    The purpose of the research is to give understanding what is the company law background concerning the use of mezzanine financing, how mezzanine instruments are handled from accounting and taxation perspective and how they are used in the market today. On top of that is reviewed the size of mezzanine market in relevant countries. The main focus is in Finland and comparison is done to Sweden, Estonia, USA, UK and Germany. The differences of legal frameworks and markets in relation to the discussed financing form are analysed. The research objective has been to conclude what are some of the main differences of company regulation, accounting and taxation rules and local market conditions related to the topic in question. Additionally, is reviewed how mezzanine could be used in bank lending going forward in order to support functioning capital markets. In the review of legal background, the focus has been on company law solely. Reference to other legislation is made only if it is necessary to understand better the specific company law regulation in question. The analysis of applicable accounting rules has concentrated on the local GAAP and IFRS regulation. In the review of taxation rules is focused on thin capitalisation rules and deductibility of interest from the borrower´s view. When reviewing the local market conditions, the attention has been given to the size of the market in terms of amount of venture capital actors, volumes of venture capital investments, number of banks and volumes of bank loans. The research is based on academic and professional literature in company law and finance. The outcome of the research is that there are significant differences in the company law, accounting rules and taxation regulation between the observed countries. There are also significant differences in mezzanine markets between the observed countries due to variation of actors and their capacity to provide financing. This influences on the availability of the mezzanine financing in general. Additionally, it can be concluded that mezzanine is a potential bank lending form. Mezzanine financing could be used especially in situations where customer does not have collateral to offer and bank would be prepared to grant financing even with traditional debt instruments. Mezzanine instruments give also additional possibilities for a bank to price the lending to reflect better the risk of the financing transactions. However, mezzanine cannot be a tool which would allow banks to step to transactions or projects which would be riskier than those transactions or projects which are financed by banks today with traditional senior debt loan instruments. It is rather a tool which would provide to banks additional alternatives to price more accurately the risks they would take anyhow.
  • Huang, Kun (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2019-02-08)
    Since the stock market crash of October 1987, extensive research has been carried out on modelling implied volatility for option pricing. The three essays of this thesis investigate how to generate arbitrage-free and smile-consistent implied volatility using various option pricing models. The first essay studies the efficiency of the Vanna-Volga method in equity options markets. The Vanna-Volga method is commonly used in the FX options market to manage implied volatility surface and hedge against the movement of underlying asset prices. However, this method has not attracted much attention in other derivative markets. Apart from the Vanna-Volga method, the accuracy of two approximations of Vanna-Volga implied volatility are also examined. The compelling numerical results provide evidence to support the efficiency of the Vanna-Volga method and two approximations for building a smile-consistent implied volatility of the equity index option. The second essay studies the Heston (1993) model, which is the most successful stochastic volatility model, in a local volatility context. The hybrid model combines the advantages of the local volatility and stochastic volatility models, and minimizes their downsides by incorporating a leverage function which reflects the weights of local and stochastic volatility. The challenge for implementing the hybrid model is the computation of the leverage function. The study results convince us of the better performance of the hybrid model than the pure Heston model. In recent years, the negative interest rate has become a feature of financial markets. The negative interest rate spawns serious problems for financial modelling, particularly for option pricing and hedging in interest rate derivative markets. The benchmark model for pricing and hedging interest rate derivatives was Hagan's asymptotic expansion of implied volatility which is built under the SABR process. However, the weakness of Hagan's asymptotic expansion came to light in the case of negative interest rates. The third essay explores a different asymptotic formula of implied volatility under the SABR process, and the model was proposed in De Marco, Hillairet and Jacquire (2013). The numerical results show the accuracy of the model, particularly for large maturities and small strikes when the CEV component is close to zero and when the volatility of volatility is high.
  • Sabari Ragavendran Prasanna Venkatesan (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2018-12-07)
    In recent times, there is an increase in the need for longterm aid. Since no actor can handle long-term aid alone, there is an increased need for collaboration between the actors. The actors in the long-term aid possess a variety of organisational cultures. Commercial supply chain literature informs that differences in organisational cultures between the partners in a supply chain lead to a strain in the collaborative relationship. In some instances, the differences result in ceasure of collaboration between partners. This thesis investigates the relationship between organisational culture and humanitarian supply chain collaboration in long-term aid. The aim of the thesis is to examine the influence of organisational culture on buyer-supplier collaboration in long-term aid. The thesis is both timely and relevant for a number of reasons. First, the increasing occurrence of natural and manmade disasters has led to a corresponding increase in long-term aid programmes. Second, longterm aid requires collaboration among multiple actors from differing organisational cultures. Finally, unlike commercial supply chain collaboration, this process has not yet been perfected in HSC contexts. The thesis investigates how differences of organisational culture influence collaboration in long-term HSC aid provision. This thesis takes a qualitative research approach. The findings included a framework that explains how organisational cultural attributes influence supply chain collaboration. The organisational leadership, or antecedent, influences organisational learning and organisational flexibility (organisational cultural elements). These elements influence information sharing (collaborative behaviour) through organisational routines. It can be further argued that there are four mechanisms through which organisational culture develops: organisational routines, organisational practices, organisational flexibility, and organisational learning. These mechanisms influence the mechanisms of supply chain collaboration: information sharing, trust, mutuality, and commitment. The thesis also finds the existence of humanitarian institutional logic as an overarching mechanism that mitigates the influence of organisational cultural differences on collaboration between actors.
  • Schimanski, Caroline (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2018-11-23)
    This doctoral thesis addresses in four articles two broad challenges in the field of development economics. The first two articles aim at providing causal evidence for the existence of systematic profit-shifting by multinational companies (MNCs) with a special focus on shifting out of developing countries as these are claimed to particularly suffer in terms of forgone tax revenue from profit-shifting. The first article re-estimates the results of Dharmapala and Riedel (2013), an influential paper in the literature, using more recent data, expanding its geographic scope and comparing between statutory and effective tax rate incentivized profit-shifting from parent firms to subsidiaries. The second article expands on this by looking into more complex potentially multi-directional profit-shifting flows between any affiliate of the group and other incentivizing factors, apart from lower statutory or effective corporate income tax rates, such as development status, credit rating, corruption and tax haven status of the country. The remaining chapters three and four address labour market challenges in developing countries, whereby the third article still links to the former through the topic of taxation. More specifically, the third article estimates the elasticity of formal work in sub-Saharan Africa, as the transition into formal employment, in economies largely characterized by informal labour markets, is the precondition for domestic resource mobilization from personal income taxes. The fourth article estimates the extent and evolution of race-based labour market segregation and wage inequality in Trinidad and Tobago, in the light of its colonial history characterized by racial segregation.
  • Ström, Eva (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2018-11-24)
    To help companies achieve strategic success, new management tools have been invented and introduced over time. One of the most well-established and popular management tools is the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). The BSC was first introduced in the 1990s by Kaplan and Norton as a performance measurement tool that supplemented financial measures with non-financial measures, chosen with regard to strategy. It has then evolved into a strategic management system. This thesis examines how the BSC is related to performance. It suggests that the BSC is associated with performance, because it is used as a strategic management system. Furthermore the research investigates how certain chosen contextual variables enable the BSC to be used as a strategic management system. The BSC contextual variables are the chosen strategy, management’s motives for introducing the BSC and management involvement in the implementation phase. The empirical evidence from Finland and Sweden provide evidence that a BSC that is used as a strategic management system is positively related to performance. Furthermore the empirical evidence shows that a certain focus of strategy and management’s role in supporting the strategy - by introducing management accounting techniques and by actively being involved in the process- has a positive association with the extent to which the BSC is used as a strategic management system. This, in turn, associated with performance. Overall the research highlights the importance of the interplay between the use of an accounting technique- such as the BSC- and the contextual factors that support that use (supporting the use with strategy and management’s active role).
  • Ekman, Mats (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2018-10-19)
    In this dissertation, four essays examine various ways in which people make decisions based upon others’ characteristics or actions. Individuals certainly can choose without regard to others and many decisions essentially lack social influences, such as the colour of one’s tie or scarf or car, but oftentimes peers may react to a choice in a way which decision-makers prefer not to disregard. Thus, some smoke or vote for the Greens because others do, or wear a certain haircut because it is the style at the time. Sometimes decisions may be private within some bound, such as choosing any uni-coloured car, but not a hippie-style multi-coloured one. This dissertation seeks to demonstrate the influence of such social elements on choices pertaining to four distinct areas: (1) whether to seek public assistance (the dole); (2) whether to vote or abstain; (3) what to eat when others may observe one’s choice; and (4) whom to marry to avoid some causes of marital disharmony. The treatment is always applied and mainly empirical; only the fourth essay makes use of an exclusively theoretical argument. This essay also differs in reducing the scope of social influences to characteristics of only one’s spouse(s). The article suggests an empirical pattern in which husbands tend to out-earn their wives in order to be able to withhold income from them to reduce the probability of non-paternity, with differences between the sexes declining as total incomes rise. The other three articles proceed in the opposite way, finding empirical patterns and suggesting explanations for them. The first essay finds that welfare offices in buildings with features that enhance the visibility of entry (such as a set of steps before the entrance), tend to approve a greater share of applications than do other welfare offices. The suggested explanation is that only the neediest individuals will accept the risk of being seen to be ‘welfare cases’, eliminating comparatively haphazard applications to raise the approval rate. The second essay looks at data from countries practising multiple concurrent national referenda, finding a pattern in which more concurrent referenda are associated with lower turnout, akin to quantity discounts being associated with fewer sales. This puzzling relationship, too, may be accounted for by peer effects. If groups are affected by referenda outcomes but individuals do not really wish to vote, group pressure may be less effective when several groups care about different referenda, because each group wants to avoid pressuring the non-voter. The article analysing dietary decisions finds that customers at a restaurant in Western Finland consume lighter meals when their body types are bigger than those of their peers. This finding points to a mechanism whereby thinness is prized and people wish to signal conformity to thinness-inducing habits by foregoing a larger meal in exchange for social recognition.
  • Hassan, Lobna (Hanken School of Economics, 2018-10-17)
    For a long time, information systems have been designed to provide organizational utility, efficiency, and cost reduction. As technological advancement took place, information systems grew to further facilitate personal productivity and entertainment. Out of modern systems, games have an extraordinary reach in modern society. That reach eventually became too significant to ignore without systematic study. While many individuals recognize the value of and need for hard work in life, many—perhaps all—do not wish to live in a universe of pure work or passive engagement with their life’s activities. In that light, scholars began investigating game design as a means to attain enjoyment and motivation in mundane life activities, giving birth to the gamification movement as we know it today. As a design and research stream, gamification refers to the design of systems, services, and processes to provide “gameful” experiences—psychological experiences, similar to those provided by games—to positively influence engagement with mundane life activities. While the user benefits reported from implementing gamification showcase its potentially positive impact, the understanding of how to design gamification is still in its infancy. Some gamification designs may be suitable to some users or in certain contexts, but the same designs may not have the same results for different users or in different contexts. Furthermore, current methods to design gamification have been developed in isolation, each reinventing the wheel, and hence struggle to provide comprehensive guidance for the gamification design process. This dissertation employs the goal-setting theory, showcasing how gamification design can suit the preferences of different users. The dissertation additionally investigates contextualized gamification design by employing the deliberation theory and researching design for collective, group engagement such as is seen in the context of civic engagement. Finally, the dissertation contributes a holistic gamification design method that incorporates the design knowledge currently gathered in the gamification fields, as well as lessons learned from the failure of gamification projects. The contributions complement each other and provide a multi-dimensional gamification design knowledge on how gamification should be designed. While this dissertation has theoretically and practically contributed to the knowledge on gamification design, there is more to be researched before gamification design can come close to being perfect. The journey to gamify is merely commencing. Not only is this pursuit of how to gamify essential to understand a phenomenon and the human behavior around it, but it is also essential to create a gameful reality, one not of pure work but of enjoyment, motivation, persistence and flow.
  • Lindeman, Sara (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2018-01-19)
    This thesis studies early-phase market organizing. Contrary to dominant views of markets as neutral backgrounds to economic activity, in this work markets are understood as socio-material systems that are shaped by the actors involved in the organizing process. In affluent settings, such as Europe, market organizing processes have been going on for centuries. To ethnographically study the very early phases of market organizing, the empirical work is performed in subsistence settings, i.e. resource-constrained areas currently served by the informal economy. The empirical data were collected in informal urban settlements and remote rural areas in Tanzania, Brazil, Ethiopia and India. The purpose of this thesis is to study early-phase market organizing in subsistence settings and its implications on capabilities for achieving well-being. Based on the capability approach, the thesis takes a holistic and multi-level approach to well-being. An improved understanding of early-phase market organizing processes, studied in settings not strictly conditioned by the path taken in affluent economies, can open up possibilities to see and encourage alternative and more sustainable ways of market organizing. The research shows that market organizing begins when an augmented discussion starts around trade exchanges. This discussion includes creating rules and norms to discipline exchanges as well as ways of representing the exchanges. Values guide this discussion, and participating in it requires that actors engage in new practices and often also that they form new organizational entities. In addition, early phase market organizing is characterized by a mobilization of various resources that improve market actors’ abilities to act in and shape markets. In the empirical cases, intermediary organizations, such as local NGO’s, were instrumental in empowering subsistence communities so that they could actively take part in the market organizing process. The dominant debate suggests that individuals will benefit from markets by getting employment and access to improved products and services. However, this thesis shows that when local communities organize themselves and are empowered to actively participate in the market organizing process, this results in market arrangements that better deliver capabilities for achieving well-being.
  • Tabaklar, Tunca (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-12-16)
    As disasters are affecting millions of people around the world, humanitarian supply chains are changing to identify needs and to respond to those affected. To achieve successful humanitarian operations, humanitarian supply chains need certain capabilities to anticipate the effects of a disaster, quickly mobilise the necessary resources and provide better services through these capabilities to the people in crisis. In other words, they must be resilient while scaling up quickly to meet unpredictable demands. Thus, the primary aim of this thesis is to explore the concept of scalability and understand how scalability contributes to various outcomes, such as resilience in HSCM, through three essays. The first essay is based on a systematic literature review to deepen the understanding of theoretical approaches and concepts borrowed from other research fields in humanitarian supply chain management. It is entitled ‘Borrowing Theories in Humanitarian Supply Chain Management’. The second essay is ‘Investigating Scalability for Building Supply Chain Resilience’, and the third essay is ‘Supply Chain Scalability: The Role of Supply Chain Integration’. Both the second and the third essays are based on a single case study in a humanitarian setting. A framework of scalability is developed through the dynamic capabilities view, as humanitarian organisations are operating in one of the most turbulent environments. Furthermore, this thesis contributes not only to humanitarian organisations but also organisations that face regular turbulence because the business environment is becoming increasingly turbulent.
  • John, Sofia (Hanken School of Economics, 2017-11-21)
    People are generally considered to be an organization’s most valuable asset, and therefore how organizations influence and manage them is an important issue. Nevertheless, influencing and managing people is not a straightforward matter, not least because individuals respond differently to the same stimulus. Yet the issue of idiosyncrasy in individual’s responses to the organization is often ignored. In order to develop our understanding of why employees respond differently, this thesis takes the employee perspective and delves into two kinds of employees’ cognitive responses to the organization, namely, their perceptions and identification. The thesis builds on the microfoundations literature, which makes explicit that organizational research typically involves multiple levels of analysis. The microfoundations model illustrates that the measures organizations take to enhance performance only do so through the micro level elements (the people) that comprise the macro level phenomenon (the organization). Using multilevel data collected in Nordic multinational corporations, this study analyzes what organizational and individual level factors influence employees’ perceptions and identification. The findings indicate that employees’ perceptions and identification are driven by a complex interplay of factors between different levels of analysis. The primary drivers are the signals employees pick up and their social interaction with other members of the organization. However, these must be considered in the light of the multiple contexts in which the individual is embedded. The individual’s position and responsibilities, as well as the way work is structured and enacted, have important consequences for the individual’s patterns of social interaction and the signals he or she is exposed to. The main contribution of this study is the extension of previous conceptualizations of the microfoundations model. Whilst organizations attempt to influence employees through various means, such as high-commitment HRM practices, the impact these have on employees depends on the context in which this all takes place. Where the individual is positioned within the organization, along with the people he or she interacts with, determine how the individual perceives and relates to the organization.
  • Jalonen, Kari (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-10-25)
    The concept ‘strategy’ has become a ubiquitous part of the Western worldview; it has taken over spheres of life far from its original homes in war and business, and is used to manage a variety of collectives, including churches, the Red Cross, and the Boy Scouts. The rational and apparently simple language of strategic plans as a ‘common direction’ or a ‘shared understanding’ seeks to cut through the complexity of organizational life and the different, often competing perspectives people take as they go about their business. However, such sharedness remains elusive: many or most organizations operate in environments defined by multiple objectives and diffuse power, and the formulations of the management are reinterpreted, challenged and appropriated by a polyphony of other voices. Even in such environments where the maintenance of a shared understanding of goals and direction appears impossible, people find ways of acting as if they were in agreement; they manage to coordinate their actions and understanding of strategic priorities. Building on a strategy-as-practice approach, this study investigates how people achieve such coordination despite unavoidable differences in views and ambiguity of meaning. I draw on a 19-year study of strategy work in a Finnish city organization to study how participants introduced broader institutional perspectives to the strategy work as related but different perspectives on the city and its future and used them as institutional voices in dialogue. This study focuses on the ways in which these institutional voices were used in tandem to craft a collective strategy and how this resultant strategy was interpreted and reinterpreted according to situational needs. My findings describe how participants in the strategy work in Bay City related the pluralist institutions with each other and used them in context, and how participants weaved these institutions into partially shared, flexible practices and meanings, ultimately creating a strategy text which was used to coordinate organizational action in a variety of ways, without complete agreement of its meanings. I describe this meeting of perspectives as an ideational dialogue between locally relevant institutional voices, which enabled the creation of a collective strategy. This account makes three contributions to our understanding of the practice of strategy. First, it elucidates the institutional nature of strategy work by describing the role of local enactments of societal and field-level institutions in strategy work. Second, it introduces the notion of institutional dialogue and institutional voices to advance the conversation on institutional complexity, demonstrating the constructive aspects of institutional complexity for strategy work. Third, it provides a polyphonic account of how a collective strategy is formulated in an ongoing process balancing diverging interests.
  • Vuoristo, Lotta (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-10-17)
    This thesis focuses on customer relationships, a topical issue in contemporary marketing. Contrary to many earlier studies, this study approaches customer relationships from the consumer’s subjective point of view. This perspective is often overlooked in marketing. Yet in order to advance knowledge of customer relationships, an understanding of the subjectivity of motivations is essential. The discoveries are based on an in-depth study of consumers and their customer relationships. A novel combination of the grounded theory method and ethnomethodology was developed in order to conduct the analyses. The theoretical contribution of the thesis is presented in three steps. First, building on self-based theories, a map of multiple selves is constructed. Second, drawing on self-congruity theory, the self-relationship (S-R) congruence concept is introduced. This concept serves to explicate the complex ways in which customer relationships are connected to consumers’ lives and to clarify how subjective meanings and motivation emerge. Third, the thesis develops a process view of how consumers make sense of the many customer relationships they have. The research reveals that it is possible to be a customer, and to have a customer relationship, without being in a customer relationship. In other words, a customer relationship can be meaningful to a consumer without reciprocity. A customer relationship can even remain relevant to the consumer after the company no longer exists. These discoveries are inconsistent with what current customer relationship theories prescribe. Overall, the thesis illuminates several aspects of customer relationships that existing theories have thus far neglected. The conclusions not only contribute to theory development in the customer relationship field, but also have implications for companies that wish to improve relationships with their customers.
  • Larson, Kelli (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-09-15)
    The last fifteen years has witnessed major and dramatic changes in the world of patent law and patent litigation. The impetus for these changes has not only come from the usual sources - the judiciary, legislators, and administrative agencies, and from advances in technology and innovation, but also from actors operating within the patent landscape. One particular type of patent actor operating in the intellectual property (IP) realm that seemingly everyone is talking about are “Non-practicing Entities” (NPEs), or their more pejorative alternate “patent trolls”. NPEs are generally described as entities that create business models focused solely on the exploitation and enforcement of patents to generate revenues. Labelled as the “most significant problem facing the patent system today”, the NPE phenomenon has become a highly polarized debate in academia and on the political stage. Vilified by companies, academics, congresspersons, the U.S. Supreme Court, and even former U.S. President Barack Obama, NPEs are at the center of a contentious patent law and policy debate focused on vexatious patent exploitation and enforcement related to alleged abusive behaviours of patent owners demanding “excessive” patent licensing fees, creating an “explosion” of unwarranted patent litigation, imposing undue burdens on industry, and thereby stifling innovation. However, there is very little empirical evidence to substantiate such claims made about NPE patent enforcement. Even more unfortunate is the fact that it is headline catching terms like “patent troll” that appear to have captured much of the public’s imagination and policymakers’ attention of such pure patent licensing entities. The “patent troll” rhetoric has arguably itself contributed to much of the misunderstanding and disapproving perceptions of such entities operating in the patent marketplace, and to a greater extent, negative perceptions being formed of the patent system overall. This dissertation discusses these issues and provides new insights into the NPE phenomenon by empirically exploring and examining the exploitation and enforcement of patents by NPEs in three major patent jurisdictions, namely the U.S.A., Europe, and China. The dissertation adds to patent literature by providing a more balanced academic discussion on the highly polarized NPE debate, and contributes to the scarce knowledge on the NPE phenomenon through the presentation of its substantial introduction covering four chapters, followed by a compilation of three published research papers. At the core of the dissertation is the proposition that argues despite some of their drawbacks, NPEs effectively contribute to the patent ecosystem and play an integral role in the enforcement of patents, which is a key element in any well-functioning patent system.
  • Gylfe, Philip (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-09-08)
    Orchestra conductors are concerned with the collective emotions of their organization. Conductors influence emotions in a visual, embodied and open way in order to create a common understanding of goals. Zooming out to other organizations we face the question: are there specific techniques through which organizational members, like conductors, manage emotions? More specifically, what is the role of the human body in the emotions experienced during strategy work? If organizational strategies are embodied in managers who have risen to the top while pursuing a particular set of strategic initiatives, then in what way are strategies embodied in these managers? The strategy work of middle managers forms the core empirical context of this thesis. I engaged in intense video shadowing of middle managers at a national public service broadcasting organization. The middle managers faced the challenging situation of acting as ‘linking pins’ between the organizations strategy and the day-to-day workings of the creative media professionals. Through video analysis I study the multimodal (verbal and embodied) practices through which middle managers channel the top-down and bottom-up flows in the strategy process. The findings of this thesis are threefold. First, I highlight that we need to pay increased attention to the affective reactions occurring during strategy work. Second, I argue for an embodied perspective on the creative idea generation process, and propose that we need a multimodal lens to appreciate how groups are energized into committing to novel strategic ideas. Finally, I suggest a methodological tool-kit for analyzing video data and extracting theoretically meaningful patterns.
  • Solja, Eeva (Svenska Handelshögskolan, 2017-09-15)
    Stories are characteristic of humans. They have been embedded in our social and cultural environments in various forms throughout civilizations. Stories come naturally to us because we think in terms of stories and use them to communicate everyday events. Stories reflect the structure in which we make sense of, comprehend, and organize our experiences. Compelling stories persuade, entertain, and engage their audiences. It is therefore not surprising that marketers have become keen to capitalize on the persuasive effects of stories. Indeed, marketers frequently tell brand stories in multiple contexts with the aim to involve and persuade consumers. However, many questions on the effect of stories on consumers in commercial contexts remain. Research shows that companies can purposefully relate stories to brands to elicit positive brand responses. Stories help individuals interpret the meanings of brands and create a bond between a brand and a consumer. Brand stories are told, for instance, on packaging, in promotions, on web sites, in social media, and on price tags. While the influential nature of stories as such has been widely acknowledged and verified in advertising research, many theoretically and managerially relevant issues remain unexplored. Previous studies have looked at stories in print and TV ads, while packaging and price promotions have been overlooked. Packaging and price promotions are key marketing tactics, which differ from ads in several respects, such as the framing and length of the message. This dissertation examines consumer responses to different types of brand stories on packaging, in advertising, and in price promotion messages. Brand stories are examined in terms of short, emotional and mental simulation brand stories. The dissertation reports on six experiments in three separate studies. It offers significant contributions to storytelling, packaging, and pricing literature, as well as to business practice. The findings demonstrate that brand stories on packaging and in price promotions can influence several significant consumer responses positively. The dissertation also shows that the storytelling context acts as a boundary condition to the effectiveness of different types of brand stories. Hence, brand stories should be tailored according to context to reach maximal effectiveness. (The original essays are included only in the printed version.)
  • Lundgren-Henriksson, Eva-Lena (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-05-26)
    Organizations frequently partner with actors in their environment in order to increase competitive advantage, at times, even with competitors. During recent decades, researchers have therefore become interested in simultaneous cooperation and competition between organizations, which they refer to as coopetition. Despite the increasing trend of treating strategy as activities performed by individuals, there is limited knowledge concerning how coopetition emerges and becomes shaped by individuals. The articles in this thesis address coopetition from a strategy-as-practice point of view, particularly taking an interest in how actors at different organizational levels make and give sense of emerging coopetition, i.e. coopetition agency creation. A longitudinal case study follows a strategic change process of implementing ongoing cooperation against a background of competition, from formulation to implementation. The case study findings show that coopetition requires modification in established cognitive frames, and that coopetition strategizing becomes complex stemming from the pluralism of views and attitudes across and within actor levels. The findings not only extend the notion of influential strategic actors external and internal to the organization engaged in coopetition, but also problematize the coopetition strategists. It is suggested in the thesis that it is pivotal to understand what enables and hinders individuals’ participation in realizing coopetition strategies, before strategy development and outcomes can fully be understood. Moreover, rather than treating coopetition as a deliberate strategy resulting from pure intentional and rational processes, the findings prove that unintentional influences from multiple levels must also be taken into account. Individual level differences in modifying past practice patterns to fit emerging coopetition are argued to be grounded in who strategists really are; in their backgrounds, histories, and motivations. Looking into the past is vital as the findings show; coopetition strategists across organizational levels hold multiple social identities that influence how sense of the present and future is made and given, and how different action patterns emerge, explaining why certain strategy outcomes are produced. The findings from the articles together emphasize how crucial talk and social interaction in different forms are to how far coopetition is accepted or resisted in organizations. However, different sensemaking patterns and different degrees of modifications in sustained structures and practices tell that accomplishing shared views on coopetition across inter- and intra-organizational levels becomes a challenge, and open future research paths to explore how coopetition frames are enacted over time.

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