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  • 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.”
  • Khoreva, Violetta (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-09-13)
    A growing awareness of gender inequality as well as a conviction that it should be eliminated has produced a number of studies aiming at uncovering its reasons. Much less attention has been given to the subjective dimension of how individuals perceive gender inequality. One of the main elements of gender inequality, the gender pay gap, has also received considerable attention by scholars all around the world. However, several researchers documented that their respondents did not perceive the existence of the gender pay gap, even when the gap could be clearly demonstrated from statistical sources. Besides, previous studies on organizational justice have come to somewhat inconsistent conclusions regarding gender differences in the effect of equity and organizational justice on organizational commitment. Examining whether and to what extent people perceive gender inequality and the gender pay gap to exist can help answering the question of why gender inequality and the gender pay gap persist. Furthermore, studying why, even though female employees tend to earn less than their comparable male counterparts, they often continue to be committed to their organizations to the same or even greater extent than their male colleagues is indeed a question of interest. Against the background of the above discussion, this thesis aims to examine how individuals with different backgrounds and employees from different workplaces perceive gender inequality, the gender pay gap, and react to pay inequity. The findings indicate that far more employees perceive gender inequality in society in general rather than in their own workplaces, which means that while employees realize that there are problems in Finnish society concerning gender inequality as a whole, they tend not to perceive the existence of this very problem in their own workplaces. The finding that employees in lower hierarchical positions perceived workplace gender inequality to a greater extent than employees in higher hierarchical positions was the least expected. This finding suggests that those employees, who are in higher hierarchical positions, are least likely to see the problem of gender inequality. Finally, the findings show that female employees tend not to perceive an income differential in the first place. The thesis thus provides evidence that female employees react to a lesser extent to pay disparities by continuing to be highly committed towards their organizations. These differences are partly explained by factors related to social comparisons and gender socialization.
  • Wartiovaara, Markus (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-06-11)
    Over the last decades the amount of billionaires has grown significantly. This dissertation provides a pioneering study into this extreme form of entrepreneurship by studying the phenomena on three levels of analysis: a societal, individual and decision-based. It studies the effects of economic freedom, stakeholders and individual decisions on the wealth of billionaires. The quantitative panel data study includes 15 years of data from 50 different countries for the analysis of the effects of amongst others economic freedom and markets on billionaire wealth. The individual case study on Warren Buffett deepens our theoretical understanding of the drivers behind his historical donation to charity. The theoretical perspective is based on developing the stakeholder theory of the individual. The stakeholder theory of the individual complements the existing literature by providing a more holistic perspective of the individual including our professional, private and other relationships as essential and integrated parts of our forms of value creation. The dissertation argues for a stakeholder-interested rather than a narrow self-interested perspective on human motivation. The dissertation continues to develop a complementing individual- and value centred perspective on entrepreneurship as stakeholder transformation. Ultimately, the dissertation emphasizes the importance of individual freedom and responsibility in our roles as consumers, employees, citizens, family members and investors et.c. in order to enable more constructive forms of entrepreneurship and balanced societal development.
  • Franck, Henrika (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-05-24)
    Strategic management and ethics impose contradictory pressures on managerial sensemaking. Using concepts from Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical work as a theoretical lens, this thesis analyzes a longitudinal data set, produced within strategy meetings and interviews in a multinational corporation undergoing a radical change process. It induces a model of ethical sensemaking in strategic management, founded on the processes of irony, compromise and conflict. The thesis demonstrates how the ethical can become possible and tangible in practice. It is an ethics that prompts reactions with on-going practicalities and acknowledges the unpredictable nature of change.Whereas normative business ethics literature has focused on how strategy is fair, leads to good deeds or is made by virtuous people, this study suggests that ethics is not something separate from the day-to-day, or moment-to-moment activity. It cannot be controlled from a distance. The study shows that business and ethics are not separate – it is about how we live with one another outside of being merely means for one another to gain. Through two interconnected analyses the thesis reveals how strategy work is riddled with tensions and how individuals rely on a number of tactics to navigate in order to live up to the demands of ethics.
  • Laukkanen, Seppo (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-05-16)
    Exploration and exploitation complement one another in the organizational learning. Exploration fosters the ability to diversify, while exploitation increases specialization. Together, these two modes promote innovation and subsequent organizational renewal. While exploration facilitates the discovery of new knowledge, exploitation merges this knowledge with previously held knowledge and skills to expand and strengthen the firm. The current scientific literature falls short in explaining in practical terms how this fusion takes place, produces innovations, and renews the strategy of an organization. By leveraging an intimate relationship with the innovation activities of a large-scale multinational enterprise, Laukkanen created an Integrated Process Model of the interplay between ambidextrous innovation activities and the strategy and structure development of a company. The Integrated Process Model highlights the conversion between exploration and exploitation as the central mechanism for establishing a dialogue that fosters reciprocal adjustment between the innovation activity, strategy and structure of the firm. The study identified three conversion patterns that bring the discoveries from the exploration mode to the commercial realm. In the ‘linear’ pattern, the innovation activities execute the fine-grained strategy with the established structure of the company. The linear innovation activities produce incremental innovations that sustain the strategy of the firm. In the ‘transforming’ pattern, an iterative conversion process facilitates concurrent reciprocal adjustments in the innovation activity and strategy and structure of the firm. The adjustments of the strategy and structure are necessary for radical innovations. In the ‘experimenting’ conversion pattern, the activity is intermittently connected to the strategy and structure development of the company. The intermittent connection provides the experimenting activity with the latitude to craft new business entries outside the traditional domain of the company. The intermittent connection between the innovation activity and strategy and structure implies that the strategic learning takes place primarily in retrospect to the experiment. The research illuminated ambidexterity as an eclectic organizational learning phenomenon that cuts through the fabric of an organization. The study captured the ambidexterity phenomenon on three ‘presentation layers’. Ambidexterity was identified both in actions and in their concrete outcomes, i.e. innovations. Additionally, ambidexterity left observable traces on the realized strategy of the firm. Each presentation layer of ambidexterity needs to be managed on its own. However, the study argues that the most decisive factor in making ambidexterity productive is the purposefulness of the continuum across these presentation layers. The three identified innovation patterns represent alternative paths from ambidextrous activities to their eventual outcomes. The Integrated Process Model of ambidexterity provides a conceptualization for actualizing ambidexterity to the strategic benefit of a company. This study provides guidance for firms seeking to promote ambidextrous activities for innovations and organizational renewal.
  • Junni, Paulina (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-05-10)
    Acquisitions are among the most important growth and internationalization strategies for firms. Nevertheless, many acquisitions fail to create financial value for acquirers. An emerging body of literature that takes a knowledge-based view points to post-acquisition knowledge transfer as a key value creation mechanism in acquisitions. This stream of research has tended to view synergies as the result of either accessing new and unique knowledge from the partner firm, exploiting superior knowledge in the partner firm that makes it more effective, or by combining the knowledge of the acquisition partners in new ways. Whilst previous research has shed light on post-acquisition knowledge transfer, there are a number of gaps in our understanding of the factors that influence it. First, few studies have examined the relative impact of different knowledge transfer determinants. More specifically, socio-cultural and political factors have received less attention. Whilst case studies have included more variables, the small sample size of the studies limits their generalizability. Second, indirect relationships such as moderating variables and antecedents to independent variables have been explored less. Third, few larger-scale studies have examined knowledge transfer both from the acquiring firm to the target and from the target firm to the acquirer. The aim of this thesis is therefore to examine how socio-cultural factors, political factors and knowledge characteristics influence post-acquisition knowledge transfer in different directions: from the acquiring firm to the target and from the target firm to the acquirer. The thesis consists of four essays: one conceptual and three quantitative. These essays examine post-acquisition knowledge transfer from different theoretical perspectives. The empirical essays draw on unique datasets based on surveys that cover acquisitions by Finnish firms in Finland and abroad between 2001 and 2010. More specifically, Essay 1, which is a conceptual paper, develops an integrative model of post-acquisition knowledge transfer, emphasizing the dynamic aspects of the process. Essay 2 focuses on socio-political aspects of post-acquisition knowledge transfer, highlighting the negative effects of the ‘fear of exploitation’ on the part of the sender and the ‘fear of contamination’ on the part of the receiver on the process. Essay 3 connects the cultural and knowledge transfer discourses in acquisitions by examining how the causal ambiguity of the sender’s knowledge, cultural integration and partner attractiveness impact post-acquisition knowledge transfer both directly and indirectly. Finally, Essay 4 develops a multi-level model of post-acquisition knowledge transfer determinants and their antecedents. It examines the indirect effects of knowledge complementarity and complexity and of the target’s cultural acceptance and preservation on post-acquisition knowledge transfer through their influence on cultural learning and collective teaching initiatives on the part of the acquiring and target firms. This thesis offers three main contributions. First, by drawing on different management theories, this thesis shows the relative impact of socio-cultural and political factors and of knowledge characteristics on post-acquisition knowledge transfer. Second, the study highlights differences between how the factors mentioned above influence knowledge transfer, depending on the direction – from the acquirer to the target or vice versa. Third, by examining moderating relationships and antecedents to independent variables, the study sheds light on the more complex and indirect relationships between knowledge transfer determinants.
  • Rannikko, Heikki (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-02-27)
    This study participates in several discussions on new technology-based firms, both from a population-level viewpoint and a firm-level viewpoint. The overall objective of this study is to examine how new technology-based firms grow. For the population level research this study provides new knowledge by analysing growth, and high growth, in the context of new technology-based firms. As a firm level phenomenon the present study provides new knowledge, both for the behavioural orientation literature and the resource dependence literature, by examining the possible causes and implications of entrepreneurial orientation and external resource mobilisation. The results of the descriptive empirical analysis picture the group of technology-based firms as a distinct sector of the economy. The emphasis on technology is shown through the finding that new technology-based firms’ managers value the distinction of technology over other business goals. Concerning growth patterns it is found that only a minority of new firms experience high annual growth, that growth is erratic and that it may take a long time for a new technology-based firm to achieve growth. The testing of the theoretical model suggests that entrepreneurial orientation is positively associated with growth performance and that the experienced growth performance is positively associated with entrepreneurial orientation. In conclusion, it seems that positive experiences in the past reinforce entrepreneurial orientation, which further strengthens the development of a firm. Concerning moderating factors it is found that technological distinctiveness modifies the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and growth. The finding hints that entrepreneurship (risk-taking, boldness and pro-activeness) is more beneficial with strategies in which technological excellence and sophistication are not the top priority. In support of the resource dependence argument, it was found that financial resource mobilisation is positively associated with growth. The findings further give support for the view that embeddedness in a firm community of practice is associated with a higher level of resource mobilisation in a firm level. Concerning financial resource mobilisation, the results suggest that there is a positive association, both between identification with a community of practice and financial resource mobilization and between nature of co-operation in a community of practice and financial resource mobilisation. Towards operational resource mobilisation similar associations were not found. Overall, these results contribute to the innovation policy discussion by suggesting that hands-on innovation policy interventions may have firm-level effects, in addition to those of technological and business learning. The results suggest indirectly that supporting firms to create and maintain close ties with their exchange partners within a community of practice may lead to improved resource mobilisation e.g. through increased awareness of firm participants. This discovery contributes both to the research on innovation policy interventions and to the research on a more nuanced view of the resource dependence perspective.
  • Bhatti, Khalid M. (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-01-03)
    International strategic alliances (ISAs) have become increasingly important for the stability, growth, and long-term viability of modern business organizations. Alliance partnerships as inter-firm cooperative ventures represent an influential mechanism for asserting corporate strategic control among autonomous multinational enterprises. These different cooperative arrangements are made of equity investments or contractually-based partnerships. Different alliance forms represent different approaches that partner firms adopt to control their mutual dependence on the alliance and on other partners. Earlier research shows that the partner characteristics could provide an explanation for alliance strategic behavior and see alliances as alternative forms to markets or hierarchies for addressing specific strategic needs linked to partners’ characteristics and their subsequent strategic motives. These characteristics of the partners’ and subsequent strategic motives are analyzed as knowledge sharing factors and how these influence inter-firm control in alliances within the context of the focal-firm STMicroelectronics and its alliance partners Nokia, Ericsson and IBM. This study underline that as contracts are incomplete, they are therefore required to maintain mutual dependence based control mechanisms in addition to a contract. For example, mutual dependence based control mechanisms could be joint financial investments and the building of an ownership structure between the parties (e.g., JVs). However, the present study clarifies that subsequent inter-firm control is also exercised through inter-firm knowledge sharing. The present study contributes by presenting a dynamic interplay between competitive and cooperative rent seeking behavior. Such coopetition behavior describes the firm's strategic orientation to achieve a dynamic balance between competitive and cooperative strategies. This balance is seen in knowledge sharing based cooperation and competition behavior. Thus this study clarifies coopetition strategies by introducing the role of inter-firm cooperation and the competitive nature of knowledge sharing. Simultaneous cooperative and competitive behavior is also seen as synergetic rent-seeking behavior. Therefore, this study extends the perspective of previous studies on competitive and cooperative seeking behavior.
  • Niemistö, Charlotta (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2011-11-04)
    Work/family reconciliation is a crucial question for both personal well-being and on societal level for productivity and re-production throughout the Western world. This thesis examines work/family reconciliation on societal and organisational level in the Finnish context. The study is based on an initial framework, developing it further and analysing the results with help of it. The methodology of the study is plural, including varying epistemological emphasis and both quantitative and qualitative methods. Policy analysis from two different sectors is followed by a survey answered by 113 HR-managers, and then, based on quantitative analyses, interviews in four chosen case companies. The central findings of the thesis are that there indeed are written corporate level policies for reconciling work and family in companies operating in Finland, in spite of the strong state level involvement in creating a policy context in work/family reconciliation. Also, the existing policies vary in accessibility and use. The most frequently used work/family policies still are the statutory state level policies for family leave, taking place when a baby is born and during his or her first years. Still, there are new policies arising, such as a nurse for an employee’s child who has fallen ill, that are based on company activity only, which shows in both accessibility and use of the policy. Reasons for developing corporate level work/family policies vary among the so-called pro-active and re-active companies. In general, family law has a substantial effect for developing corporate level policies. Also headquarter gender equality strategies as well as employee demands are important. In regression analyses, it was found that corporate image and importance in recruitment are the foremost reasons for companies to develop policies, not for example the amount of female employees in the company. The reasons for policy development can be summarized into normative pressures, coercive pressures and mimetic pressures, in line with findings from institutional theory. This research, however, includes awareness of different stakeholder interests and recognizes that institutional theory needs to be complemented with notions of gender and family, which seem to play a part in perceived work/family conflict and need for further work/family policies both in managers’ personal lives and on the organisational level. A very central finding, demanding more attention, is the by HR managers perceived change in values towards work and commitment towards organisation at the youngest working generation, Generation Y. This combined with the need for key personnel has brought new challenges to companies especially in knowledge business and will presumably lead to further development of flexible practices in organisations. The accessibility to this flexibility seems to, however, be even more dependent on the specific knowledge and skills of the employee. How this generation will change the organisations remains to be seen in further research.
  • Melkumov, Dmitri (Hanken School of Economics, 2011-10-25)
    While previous research has helped to improve our understanding of corporate governance and boards of directors, less is known about the factors that affect boards’ tasks and roles and directors’ motivation and engagement. This requires knowledge of how board decisions are being made and the internal and external factors that affect the decision-making process. Large inferential leaps have been made from board demographics to firm performance with equivocal results. This thesis concentrates on how the institutional, behavioral and social identification factors impact the enactment of board roles and tasks. Data used in this thesis were collected in 2009 through a mailed survey to Finnish large and middle-sized corporations. The findings suggest that firstly, the national context of an organization is reflected in board roles and shapes how and for what reasons the board roles are carried out; secondly, the directors’ human and external social capital invariably impacts their engagement in board tasks and that conflicts among directors moderate those relationships; finally, directors’ identification with the organization, its shareholders and its customers affect the directors’ involvement in board tasks. By addressing the impact of organisational context, board-internal behaviour and social identification of board members on board roles and tasks, this thesis firstly complements the shareholder supremacy view as the only reason for the board’s involvement with specific tasks; secondly questions the existence of the board as separate from its institutional context; and thirdly questions the view that a board is a ‘black box’, subject to a selection of input demographic variables and producing quantifiable results. The thesis demonstrates that boards are complex organisational bodies, which involve much interaction among board members. Director behaviour and its influence on board decision making is an important determinant of board tasks and boards are likely subjected to inter-group tensions and are susceptible to the influence of internal and external social forces.