Management and Organisation

 

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stroe, Ioana Silvia (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2017-05-26)
    This work is motivated by the desire to gain a deep understanding of affective experiences of entrepreneurs and their outcomes, in theory and practice. Specifically, the aim of this dissertation is to reframe the conceptualization of passion in entrepreneurship. It does so by uncovering the functioning mechanism through which passion exerts its influence in entrepreneurship as well as by considering the dualistic nature of the passion experience in entrepreneurship. As a whole, this work is guided by a general research question: does passion play a role in the new venture emergence process and if so, how does passion influence the new venture emergence process? The thesis addresses this question through a systematic literature review and three empirical studies. The systematic literature review (Paper I) updates the current state of passion research in entrepreneurship, uncovering thereby yet unanswered questions and research gaps, and thereby informing the following papers of this dissertation. The following three papers look at determinants that influence passion (Paper II) and at passion’s cognitive and motivational outcomes (Paper III and Paper IV). Methodologically, this work combines quantitative research (a longitudinal study and a quasi-experimental cross-sectional study) with mixed methods research designs such as qualitative comparative analysis (based on a cross-sectional study). As a whole, the four papers offer a better understanding of passion in nascent entrepreneurship. First, this dissertation demonstrates that passion can influence, but also be influenced by cognition, and clarifies the important two-way interactions between passion and cognition. Moreover, it furthers our understanding of the dynamic relations between affective and cognitive processes involved in new venture emergence. Second, in theoretically and empirically examining two new functions that passion fulfills in the entrepreneurial process—the emotion regulatory function and the decision-making logic coordination function—this dissertation offers additional and complementary explanations for the importance of passion for entrepreneurship. The current work goes over and above previous studies that looked at passion’s outcomes only considering its valence and offers more fine-grained explanations of the mechanisms through which passion exerts its influence on various critical entrepreneurial outcomes. Third, this dissertation extends the scholarly focus from only harmonious passion to both harmonious and obsessive passion, distinguishes the characteristics of these two forms of passion in entrepreneurship, investigates their development and demonstrates that they can have very different effects on the entrepreneurs’ affective, cognitive and motivational functioning. Therefore, it proves that considering passion in only one of its qualities will lead to an incomplete understanding of passion and its outcomes.
  • Dahl, Johanna (Hanken School of Economics, 2017-04-07)
    This thesis focuses on the simultaneous existence of cooperation and competition between firms, and falls under the research area of coopetition. In recent years, coopetition, inherently complex and paradoxical in nature, has attracted increasing attention in both business practice and research. As a result, coopetition is confirmed as a phenomenon of contemporary importance to companies varying in size and industry. Moreover, from a research standpoint, coopetition has been established as a distinct theoretical approach to explain inter-firm relationships and, in particular, cooperation between directly competing firms. Yet, to advance extant knowledge on coopetition, calls have been made for research scrutinizing the interaction process and focusing on the handling of simultaneous cooperation and competition, at multiple levels of analysis starting from the individual. To this end, the overall aim of this article-based thesis is to develop a theoretical understanding of how coopetition is maintained as a process and as a strategy, alongside an empirical understanding of the interplay between cooperation and competition. The thesis answers three interrelated research questions, addressing the dynamics of coopetitive interaction, the deliberate and emergent features of coopetition, and the balancing of cooperation and competition. Article 1 contributes by conceptualizing change in coopetitive interactions through three mechanisms. The outlined mechanisms are inter-organizational learning manifested in cooperation between competitors, intra-organizational learning based on exchanges of contrasting experiences between individuals within the organization, and the development of the external business environment. The article further contributes by developing the notion that the nature of the change process underlying coopetition, in terms of the generative change mechanism and predefined or discontinuous character, depends on the balance and strength of the cooperative and competitive interactions. In Article 2, the theoretical contribution comprises a framework explaining coopetition as a deliberate and/or emergent strategy. By integrating research on strategy-as- practice and, thus, focusing on the social nature of coopetition, the framework delivers four scenarios on how coopetition strategy manifests in an organization. The framework implies that coopetition strategy ought to be explained as an activity occurring across multiple levels in an organization, and at an institutional and inter-organizational level. Furthermore, the framework broadens extant views on individuals who influence strategy and activities that may be consequential for the strategy. Article 3 contributes to discussions on the influence of different levels of strength of the cooperative and competitive interactions on relational outcomes. The contextual contribution lies in the study’s examination of coopetition in relation to the internationalization process and among a group of SMEs operating in a traditional manufacturing industry. Empirical results imply that the continuity, scope, and strategic impact of opportunities gained through coopetition vary with the balance and strength of the cooperative and competitive interactions.
  • Cleland Silva, Tricia (Hanken School of Economics, 2016-11-14)
    This monograph is a study on how, from 2007 to 2010, five groups of nurses from the Philippines were recruited and transnationally managed and organised to live and work in Finland for both private elderly care facilities and surgical wards in Finnish municipal hospitals. The thesis is critical of international human resource management (IHRM) as a discipline and practice, and discursively analyses structural and societal issues of control and compliance of the historically gendered and racialised occupation of nursing. Furthermore, the transnational processes and movement of human capital from the Philippines to Finland is discussed in terms of (re)producing managerial practices of nurse work which create barriers to equality in the workplace. The study identifies and maps the interaction of various private and public representatives through the transnational practices of recruitment and placement of Filipino nurses into Finnish nursing institutions. Through the identification of the Finnish representatives and the subsequent construction of their associated social worlds based on work practices and commitments, the maps illustrate the organising of human resources transnationally. Subsequently, structural mechanisms, particularly in terms of institutional, national, and international policy and law regulations, are addressed by highlighting transnational human resource management (THRM) practices and discursive positions dominated by public and private representatives in the packaging of the nurses. As a whole, the study strives to broaden the theoretical and empirical examination of migrating nurses to encompass the transnational management of private and public representatives involved in the recruitment and placement practices at institutionalised, meso-levels of organising.
  • Koskinen Sandberg, Paula (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2016-09-27)
    The gender pay gap is a persistent challenge across different national contexts. Within these contexts, however, the underlying mechanisms that have resulted in the gender pay gap can take different shape. In Finland, the gender pay gap has been resistant to policy measures implemented in order to reduce it. This thesis aims to shed light on some of the central features of Finnish society, its institutional context, central actors, and stakeholders, and how these are linked to the apparent failures of Finnish equal pay policy. This study offers a broad-ranging sociological understanding of Finnish society, its historical development, and the kind of citizenship it has offered to its female citizens. The thesis also discusses the role of central labour market organisations in institutionalising wage relativities between the different industries in the Finnish labour market and protecting their vested interests in policy-making. The empirical part of the thesis consists of three articles, each of which addresses an issue that is critical to Finnish and international equal pay policy: the role of collective agreements in institutionalising gendered valuations in wage setting in the Finnish local government sector, evaluation-based pay systems and the assumption that they inherently promote gender pay equity, and non-decision making in tripartite policy process and the way it affected the drafting of the new Finnish gender equality legislation. The first data set was gathered in a participatory action research project in which 18 Finnish organisations took part. The aim of the project was to promote equal pay through developing pay systems The second data set consists of the official minutes of the meetings of the tripartite working group that drafted the law about equal pay comparisons that are mandatory for organisations to conduct. The thesis mainly uses qualitative research methods, along with quantitative and documentary analysis. Based on the research findings, the following arguments are made. The Finnish welfare state has played an active role in creating a secondary labour market for Finnish women in the reproductive work of the public sector. The central labour market organisations have further strengthened the gendered division of labour and hierarchy between male-dominated and female-dominated sectors and industries by institutionalising the wage relativities between these industries in collective agreements. As central actors and powerful players in Finnish policy-making, the central labour market organisations protect their vested interests and resist changes to equal pay policy and legislation. Instead of directly addressing the most important structural and institutional features of the Finnish labour market, current Finnish equal pay policy focuses on less controversial issues, such as organisational practices. Failure to address the most relevant issues on gender pay equity results in modest advances in policy outcomes.
  • Roos, Annikki (Hanken School of Economics, 2016-05-10)
    Information practices are human activities that are related to seeking, managing, giving, using, and producing information in context. This thesis concentrates on the information practices of the researchers in the scientific domain of biomedicine. The object of this study has been to understand the special nature of the information related work and practices as a part of the biomedical research work. It is argued that to be able to build efficient tools and advantageous information services for researchers in the biomedical domain, these efforts should be based on the understanding of knowledge creation processes and work practices in this domain. The domain analytical approach forms an alternative view to those models, which try to identify similarities in patterns of seeking and use of information across the research domains. In this study, this approach has been used as an alternative to the generalizing model. The findings of the thesis support the arguments, which oppose the general view of information needs and uses. In information science, the study of information practices is quite a new research orientation. There are no previous studies, where the domain of biomedicine would have been in focus. Another important contribution of this study is the use of the activity theory as a theoretical research frame in the study of information practices. The activity theory appeared to be very helpful in setting information practices in the context. When implementing the activity theoretical research framework, information practices are comprehended as one mediating tool in the activity system of the research work. It aids the researcher to achieve the objectives of the research work.
  • Zhang, Ling Eleanor (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2015-08-11)
    “I wanted to be Chinese, once…I wanted China to be the place where I made a career and lived my life. I won’t be rushing back either. I have fallen out of love, woken from my China Dream.” “China has been a familiar destination for multinational corporations over the last few decades, but surprisingly it still remains one of the most challenging destinations for expatriates”, says Ling Eleanor Zhang, who will defend her doctoral thesis on the subject. Yet, according to Zhang, underneath the seemingly high expatriation failure rate exists an ever more routine reality of contemporary working life. A growing number of sojourners, from expatriates sent by headquarters, to self-initiated expatriates, to expatriate entrepreneurs, are now, for various reasons, becoming caught up in China. They experience a dizzying array of processes collectively labelled cross-cultural adjustment, acculturation or biculturalism. Based on comprehensive fieldwork, Zhang seeks to uncover the working and living realities of expatriates in China from a language and culture perspective. In her doctoral thesis, Zhang also presents the multifaceted linguistic challenges faced by expatriates from both their own perspective, as well as that of the host country employees. She further provides a contextual account of expatriate host country language proficiency on cross-cultural adjustment, and inductively builds an analytical framework for analysing why and how host country language matters. “Nordic expatriates, who are currently working and living in China, have different types of cultural identity, i.e. marginal bicultural identity, cosmopolitan identity, transitional identity, and monocultural identity”, says Zhang. “Factors such as organisational context, expatriates’ attitudes towards the host country language, as well as their network orientations, have influenced expatriates’ identification with home, host and a third culture”, she continues. The findings also reveal a number of strategies expatriates adopt in order to cope with the uncertainty and ambiguity, such as holding on to physical proof of groundedness, believing in individuality, realistically evaluating and accepting the marginality, and allowing for a certain degree of fluidity regarding one’s cultural identity.
  • Bor, Sanne (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-11-25)
    Organisations collaborate with one another. And they appear to do so more and more frequently in the recent decades. At the same time many of these efforts fail to deliver what the collaboration was set up for. This combination creates the basis for the fascinating and stimulating research field of inter-organisational relations – a field which is still very much in development. In this thesis the focus is on meta-organisations, associations in which organisations are members. The steering of such inter-organisational structures appears to need a novel approach, a collective, multi-level engagement which I set out to examine. The thesis is structured to foreground the process of the research and the development of my thinking. The study is conducted on R&D consortia funded as Networks of Excellence by the European Commission under Framework Programme 6. The study is based primarily on five case studies, by way of documentation and interviews. In addition, the study draws on data collected on 101 consortia and consortium agreements from 50 consortia. The thesis develops the theoretical understanding of meta-organisations and their organisational conditions and implications. Meta-organisation theory, thus far, has focused mainly on the implications following from having organisations as members. This thesis suggests adding to this theory the implications created by constitutional membership, that is, members that constitute the organisation. Constitutional membership makes a difference in three ways: it creates a clear boundary of the meta-organisation; it assumes collective ownership of the meta-organisation; and it makes possible the utilising of indirect resources – the resources of the member organisations, and most importantly their personnel – by the meta-organisation. In addition, the thesis develops a conceptual framework of steering processes, combining governance, management and administration. This framework shows how both decisions and mutual adjustment in top-down, bottom-up, and horizontal directions steer meta-organisations. The framework may, however, be fruitfully used to study other organisations as well. The findings from the analysis of the steering processes show that the utilisation of indirect resources decentralises the governance, management and administration of activities to the participants of member organisations who are undertaking these activities. The results also demonstrate that the governance, management and administration of undivided tasks centralises to those with formal management responsibility. In addition, the analysis shows how control and granting are avoided, externalised or formalised to deal with lack of hierarchical authority. These and other findings of the study seek to refine and extend the hypothesised conditions of meta-organisation theory.
  • Tuori, Annamari (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-11-20)
    Social categories, such as ethnicity and gender, have been shown to be important for people’s identities in organisations. Different categories of people can experience very different realities in terms of who they are or can be at work, often influenced by inequalities in relation to and indeed between the categories. However, the inequalities often tend to be silenced. At the same time, silence in individual people’s identity work in organisations has remained relatively unexamined in the research literature. Accordingly, this thesis examines identity work in organisations at the interface of social categories, inequalities, and silence(s). The thesis examines people’s identity work in organisations through a notion of ‘intersectional job-related identity work’, meaning the construction of a job-related identity at the intersections of different social categories. It focuses in particular on, first, how in identity work people relate to inequalities, and, second, how they are silent about social categories as a part of their identity work. The empirical context for the study is three small to medium-sized ICT companies in Finland. The thesis is based on 33 semi-structured interviews. The main findings of the study concern two aspects related to intersectional job-related identity work. First, the study identifies two different types of ‘intersectional strategies', namely, the combining and separating strategies that people engage in in their job-related identity work. These refer to different ways of combining and separating social categories with and from one’s job-related identity, respectively. Intersectional job-related identity work is not only about different ways of combining a job-related identity with social categories, but also about how social categories are kept separate from one’s identity at work. Moreover, in line with previous studies, this study suggests that inequalities, in terms of different positions and experiences of privilege and/or disadvantage are often central for how identity work is done. Second, the thesis identifies different ways in which people are (and are not) silent on social categories at work. It identifies organisational, interpersonal and individual level silences, identifying inequalities as the issue that the interviewees seem to be mostly silent on. Thus, while inequalities related to social categories seemed to be important for how intersectional job-related identity work is done, they are also simultaneously that which the interviewees seemed to be most silent on. The thesis contributes particularly to the research literature on identities, identity work and intersectionality in organisations, by providing new knowledge on both silence in and around (intersectional) identity work in organisations, and how social categories may be kept separate from job-related identity.
  • Forss, Maria (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-10-01)
    Den här avhandlingen handlar om hur fortbildning arrangeras för sjukskötare i en finländsk sjukvårdsorganisation. Fortbildning är viktig för organisationer och anses vara ett strategiskt verktyg för att möta, bemästra och skapa förändringar. Forskning kring fortbildning kretsar ofta kring pedagogiska lösningar eller lärande där fortbildning uppfattas som något neutralt. Min avhandling tillför forskning om fortbildning ett maktperspektiv och ett retoriskt perspektiv och jag behandlar inte fortbildning som något enbart positivt eftersom fortbildning även är handlingar med potential för normativ kontroll. Jag utgår ifrån att fortbildning är partisk och värdeladdad. Min titel för avhandlingen syftar på den mångbottnade förståelse som kan skönjas i begreppet fortbildning. Det finns begränsad forskning vilken ser fortbildning som uttryck för sammanhang och helheter. Inte heller finns forskning som ser arrangemangen kring fortbildning som handlingar vilka skapar/fråntar anställda makt eller forskning som ser fortbildning som uttryck för självreglerande handlingar. Det är till denna mindre uppmärksammade sida som jag riktar mitt vetenskapliga bidrag. Jag har tematiskt intervjuat sjukskötare och ledare samt utbildningsplanerare. Dessutom har jag analyserat organisationens texter om och för fortbildning samt observerat två olika fortbildningar. Avhandlingen är en omfattande fallstudie som bygger på 31 intervjuer av 23 informanter och på två olika icke-deltagande observationer. Jag har koncentrerat, kategoriserat och tematiserat mitt material och byggt broar mellan det som kan förefalla motsägelsefullt med hjälp av kritisk hermeneutik för att presentera det som resultat. Sedan har resultatet tolkats med hjälp av en konstruerad analysmodell som bygger på två olika analyslinser. Den ena är den kommunikativt handlande linsen och den andra linsen är governmentality. Resultaten nås således genom att analysera fortbildningsaktiviteter med hjälp av två olika teorier, kommunikativt handlande och governmentality. Från de tre viktigaste aktörernas perspektiv försöker jag skapa en helhetsbild av fortbildning som fenomen. Fortbildning granskas från tre aktörers perspektiv samtidigt och på detaljnivå med syftet att fånga en helhet. Som vetenskapligt bidrag är detta en kritisk organisationsstudie av HR verksamhet med fokus på fortbildning. Jag demonstrerar hur ledningens förväntningar och anställdas förväntningar kring fortbildning omöjligt kan mötas om det inte finns vilja, initiativ och plats för dem. Makt och positioner kan inte separeras från retoriska handlingar, något jag visar i avhandlingen.
  • Koveshnikov, Alexei (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-08-05)
    Multinational corporations (MNC) are often presented as powerful but ‘faceless’ institutional actors that shape the world we live in. However, we have lately seen increasing interest in actual ‘faces,’ that is the key actors, behind the MNC’s functioning in relation to the cases of fraud and bankruptcy that, together with other factors, led to the severe financial crisis at the end of 2000s. The cases of Enron and Lehman Brothers easily come to mind. It raised concerns that power abuses and tricky political games developing and proliferating within MNCs can have tremendous corporate as well as societal impacts and consequences. Yet, as of now, the micro-level power and political relations between actors in MNCs and their implications, i.e. what I call in this thesis ‘micro-politics,’ are seldom examined. Moreover, neither is the role that the institutional, cultural and sociopolitical contexts play in these micro-political relations among actors within MNCs sufficiently understood. Against this background, in this thesis I attempt to give ‘a face’ to the MNC. That is, I apply a number of ideas from comparative institutional theory, social cognition and translation studies to examine micro-political aspects of the interactions between organizational actors in MNCs that determine how these corporations function both on day to day basis and in a longer run. By so doing, I strive to offer a more nuanced, contextualized, and actor-focused sociological understanding of power and political interactions among organizational actors within the MNC. It is important to study and comprehend these processes in order to better explain them and to some extent control them.
  • Tallberg, Linda (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-06-02)
    This book is about life at an Australian animal shelter, called ANIMA. The shelter is tasked with organizing the dark side of humanity of cruelty, neglect, and ignorance. It is about the humans and animals who live and die in the organization - often silenced and hidden in society. Employees join the organization to save animals, yet due to organizational constraints, are the ones who are tasked with the killing. In ANIMA, the emotional and moral conflict is both constant and intense for animal shelter employees. They are promotivated and have strong ideological alignment to the organizational goals. This creates a lifestyle that revolves around saving and caring for the neglected, unwanted and mistreated animals of society. However, management and the animal shelter employees are at odds on how to best handle the social problem of pet overpopulation. The organization rests upon a traditional hierarchical power distribution where those who perform the stigmatized job task of euthanasia are also those without any real decision-making power. Reducing the animal shelter workers to assembly-line workers in a processing-plant is a key way to ensure the business model of the animal welfare organization flows smoothly. I was employed for a year as an animal attendant in the animal shelter. My ethnographic material includes diary entries, interviews, participant-observations and are represented in my thesis through Crystallization. It is through this unusual form of communication that I use poetry, pictures and narratives to try to engage the reader to understand the unique, emotive context of the organization. In this book, I specifically focus on the paradoxical work role that includes euthanasia of healthy animals; how the hidden voices of the animals give knowledge of the organization; and how power relationships are revealed during emergency evacuation during a natural disaster. The study argues that there are immense problems, both at an organizational as well as broader societal level, of how unwanted animals are dealt with. The focus of powerlessness felt by employees and animals leads to four coping mechanisms throughout the study which I call: Hero, Victim, Professional and Tourist. I make contributions to literatures on Emotion in Organizations, Dirty Work and Positive Organizational Scholarship.
  • Vesa, Mikko (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2013-11-21)
    To search for dragons is not an act of foolishness. Rather, it bespeaks a curious mind open for the discovery of new canvases of organizing and human action. Beyond our boardrooms and office spaces, bureaus and plenary rooms new organizational forms are springing into life. Fuelled by the explosive growth of human capacity in digital technologies, these new organizational forms inhabit virtual worlds created through computer code. In this thesis I open the door on my 39-month ethnographic journey through one such virtual world. Azeroth is the setting for the massive-multiplayer-online (mmo) game World of Warcraft. It is a world abuzz with activity, organizing, strategizing... and dragons. It is also the location of my field work, and a site that management and organization scholars hitherto have been largely unaware of. Hence, this thesis reports on findings in two distinct senses. Firstly, through the ethnographic sense of the joy at discovery of something new and secondly through the interpretive efforts I undertake in the thesis to contribute to management and organization theory through the insights hidden in my empirical material. Underneath every ethnographic endeavour there is a journey of discovery. It is not always visible behind the sophisticated argumentation that exemplifies academic discourse. For conducting journeys of discovery I introduce in this thesis two distinct insights. I introduce the subgenre of virtual ethnography and report what it means in practice to conduct such research in Azeroth. Secondly, I elaborate on the typically overlooked question of how to adapt ethnographic practice in order to contribute to a specific field of research. I do so by examining how ethnographic practice can answer questions posed by the field of strategic management studies. Success in such efforts entails a distinct take on the researcher’s field role and the type of indigenous knowledge pursued. Theoretically, this thesis analyses the strategic practices and processes involved in managing a virtual organization. Drawing on the strategy as practice tradition I identify the core practices required to organize and maintain an organization in virtual space. I use these insights as building blocks to explain how through the utilization of an extreme case, such as organizing in World of Warcraft, we can better identify the internal causes of organizational failure and the importance of fellowship-based core groups in organizing. To follow the constantly unfolding canvas of organizing is one of the primary challenges of management and organization studies in order to retain topicality, and virtual worlds is one of unfolding canvases.
  • Louvrier, Jonna (Hanken School of Economics, 2013-08-27)
    In many countries diversity management has become an increasingly common way of treating differences between people in the world of work. Companies may sign diversity charters to show their engagement in promoting diversity, design and implement diversity management programmes, and communicate about their diversity initiatives to internal and external stakeholders. But what does diversity in the workplace mean? Who is defined as being different? And what do those defined as being different think about diversity and difference in work? By addressing these questions this book sheds light on the complex meanings of diversity management. The meanings of diversity management have long been developed and discussed in relation to equality and anti-discrimination policy and practice. A key question has been whether diversity management is a better way to enhance equality between organisational members or, on the contrary, is it diluting the results of equality approaches. The scope of this study is broader and shows that meanings of diversity management are constructed by drawing on not only knowledge about equality and anti-discrimination, but also understandings of society, the organisation, the individual, and the nature of differences. The study is informed by poststructuralist theory and based on interview data produced with 23 diversity managers and 52 ethnic minority employees in diversity promoting organisations in Finland and France. The findings contribute to the field of diversity management in several ways. First of all, the results show that there is no unitary meaning of diversity, difference and diversity management, but a number of discourses together forming the complexity and variety of what diversity management can come to mean in a given context and at a given point of time. Secondly, the findings challenge the idea that diversity management initiatives would be based solely on essentialist views of difference. However, the findings also show that even when differences are seen to be socially constructed, the organisation is not seen as participating in the construction of differences and in the production of related inequalities. Thirdly, the findings show that ethnic minority employees rarely draw on their differences as positive resources in work, and that they often are left alone to manage challenging situations related to difference, even in organisations promoting diversity. Lastly, the study highlights the importance of being attentive to national societal context, as discursively constructed, throughout the research process.
  • Olin, Tommy (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2013-08-27)
    Socialt kapital, ett begrepp utsprunget ur sociologin, har under 1900-talets senare årtionden inkluderats i många andra vetenskapliga discipliner. Det har använts för att försöka förstå varierande samhällsskeenden. Även inom ekonomi har socialt kapital, jämsides med fysiskt kapital och humankapital, fått ökad betydelse för att förklara ekonomisk utveckling och tillväxt. Socialt kapital kan uppspjälkas strukturellt i form av nätverk samt kognitivt eller kulturellt i form av t.ex. tillit. Det ansågs ursprungligen vara en tillgång som existerade på individuell nivå, senare tillfördes kollektiva nivåer. Socialt kapital har överlag beskrivits som en positiv företeelse, nödvändig och gynnsam för ekonomisk utveckling och med en särskild förmåga att generera allmän nytta. På lokalnivå anses det sociala kapitalet utgöra en viktig beståndsdel i det s.k. företagsklimatet. Men begreppet har även en negativ sida, som diskuterats i betydligt mindre omfattning i litteraturen. Det sociala kapitalet kan ibland verka nedbrytande eller hämmande för utvecklingen inom ett visst område eller en viss befolkningsgrupp. De existerande nätverken antar då en exkluderande karaktär, där vissa grupper utestängs och tilliten begränsas till att omfatta endast utvalda individer. Med utgångspunkt i det sociala kapitalets negativa yttringar är syftet med denna studie att beskriva hur detta kan erodera ett samhälles entreprenöriella förutsättningar. Empiriskt behandlar studien lokalsamhället Purmo, som under perioden 1945-76 uppvisade en noterbart minskande företagsamhet, samtidigt som företagare utgångna från kommunen blev framgångsrika på andra orter. Trots att den stagnerande företagsamheten i Purmo kan ha sin grund i flera olika samverkande faktorer, påvisas det att den mest avgörande omständigheten utgörs av det gentemot företagsamheten negativa kulturella klimatet, främst i form av det sociala kapitalet, och att detta bidrog till den utveckling som historiskt skedde. De förutsättningar som borde ha funnits för en växande företagsamhet saknades och många av de individer som försökte sig på företagande gav upp. Den historiska utvecklingen i Purmo kan också beskrivas som spårberoende i det att lokalsamhällets utveckling i Purmo var i händerna på nätverk som inte gjorde avsteg från den utstakade linjen. Den lokalekonomi som uppstod kring sekelskiftet 1900 och som kännbart bidrog till områdets dåtida gynnsamma ekonomiska utveckling, skapade också det sociala kapital som omöjliggjorde en kursändring. På basen av den empiriska studien prestenteras i skriften en modell för en nedåtgående samhällsutveckling.
  • Galkina, Tamara (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2013-05-23)
    Despite the wide application of the network approach in Entrepreneurship and International Entrepreneurship, previous research lacks understanding of entrepreneurial networking as a process. Also, existing research views entrepreneurial networks as relatively stable and structured entities that are created in response to the defined resource needs and goals of a new venture. However, non-goal-oriented side of entrepreneurial networking has been neglected. Thus, the ultimate goal of this thesis is to study the intended and unintended aspects of the process of entrepreneurial networking. In this research, unintended entrepreneurial networking is understood through the lens of effectuation theory, which represents a logic of reasoning opposite to causation or a goal driven action based on predictive rationality. The findings from the five essays included into this thesis demonstrate that the process of purposeful creation of entrepreneurial network has three phases – activation of existing contacts, purposeful creation of new contacts, and evolution of entrepreneurial network. Also, entrepreneurial infrastructure influences this process, namely the involvement of formal and informal relations into the network. In addition, the results show that causation and effectuation are constantly intertwined in the process of entrepreneurial networking. The way the entrepreneurs networked, causally or effectually, depends upon the content of establishing a relation, the value of either the quality or quantity of a relation, and entrepreneur’s personality. In the context of internationalization and forming networks in foreign markets, entrepreneurial firms are likely to network effectually due to the conditions of high uncertainty. They are likely to enter foreign markets following their networks instead of these markets determining where and what partners to select. These findings lead to the implications that networking plans do not always work and entrepreneurs need to remain open to unexpected connections. Moreover, in highly uncertain situations they can leverage contingences in order to increase available opportunities. Also, the thesis suggests several implications derived from the comparison of entrepreneurial networking of Russian and Finnish founding teams. For example, it recommends Finnish entrepreneurs expanding their businesses to Russia to use networking services of various organizations, to find a network expert who has local knowledge and connections, and to rely on informal business relations.
  • Sorsa, Virpi (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-10-31)
    “Strategizing has become one of the most important managerial practices. It is becoming harder and harder to find an organization, which wouldn't engage in yearly strategic planning and implementation cycles. Although the theorizing of "planning" is becoming less popular in strategy research and the theorization of "process" and "practice" is gaining more and more ground, the practice itself - the managerial elite's strategy workshops, the writing of official strategy documents and the employees' and interest groups' various innovative ways of interpreting and using those documents - has become accustomed, legitimate and even expected in contemporary organizations. This thesis examines the social practice of strategizing in municipal and congregational strategy work through various discursive perspectives and explains how strategy enters into and figures in the daily lives of people organizations. The contributions of this thesis are presented in six essays, which examine the actual strategy conversations and texts. This approach gives the reader a unique opportunity to access information and learn about issues which are typically kept out of sight to outside eyes. The results of this thesis emphasize the constitutive role of discourse and communication at different sites of social life within the context of strategizing. With its distinctive approach to studying the transcripts and videorecordings of strategy work, this thesis sensitizes scholars to pay careful attention to language and its role in social practice of strategy and will be invaluable to scholars, researchers, and graduate students in strategy communication.”

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