Kansainvälisen liiketoiminnan tutkimus

Research in International Business

Research in international business focuses on the challenges the global, constantly changing environment poses to companies, organizations and individuals.

Research in international business is phenomenon centric. The foci of research are often themes requiring multidisciplinary approaches and close cooperation with the subject – for example companies.

We are interested for example in international growth, international entrepreneurship and the influence of digitalization on international business. We have also wanted to develop the research methods used in international business and members of our research faculty have published many articles regarding research methods.

Research output

From phenomena to problem-solving
In international business research we tackle wicked problems and search for solutions through multidisciplinary lenses


Fostering sustainable service systems through family member service inclusion

One of the societal turbulences in the near future arises from the inevitable challenge of finding adequate caregiving resources and employable workforce. Simultaneously, sustainable service systems are a current service research priority. Service inclusion can enhance the sustainability of these systems by generating transformative well-being outcomes on an individual and collective level. However, the plurality and tensions in the service context (e.g. differing needs in a customer entity, such as family) may generate unintended consequences and make the inclusion goals complex and challenging. This research project aims to analyse how service systems foster sustainability and generate transformative well-being outcomes through multi-actor service inclusion. Multidisciplinary research approach and international research collaboration will be used to provide understanding of this phenomenon and to generate insights. The research project is funded by the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS). For more information, contact Henna Leino (henna.leino@utu.fi).

Sustainable market shaping

This project initiates a new research stream on sustainable market shaping that specifically explores how market shaping strategies can be employed for a wider benefits for the environment and well-being. The research question is: How can companies and other market actors shape markets toward sustainability? The research project has three sub-themes: 1) development of conceptual understanding supporting sustainable market shaping, 2) development of research methods supporting sustainable market shaping, and 3) providing empirical evidence on sustainable market shaping. The project is funded by the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies. Collegium Researcher Valtteri Kaartemo acts as the Principal Investigator.

MeHeFo - Me, my health, my food

Personalized advice and solutions have shown to be more effective than general dietary guidelines in promoting healthy eating habits. By exploring, studying, integrating, and analyzing consumer-related personalized factors and data, the project aims to support consumers in choosing personalized products and services for their wellbeing. In Me, My Health & My Food (MeHeFo) project, VTT and University of Turku (Faculty of Medicine, Turku School of Economics) together with Finnish companies will develop personalized and targeted food and eating solutions to international markets.

The project focuses on building a novel proof-of-concept data platform, that will process and integrate data for personalized recommendations. VTT is leading and coordinating the MeHeFo project, the ecosystem of which is composed of research partners and companies from versatile business areas such as food and retail industries (Valio, Raisio, Verman, Seulo Palvelut), health technology and wearables (Polar Electro), data management and communication (UPC Konsultointi, Kumppania).

The research project is funded by Business Finland.

For more information on the project, please contact Peter Zettinig.

ASTRA – Scaling business on international markets

The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in international markets has been growing, and simultaneously the process of internationalisation has been accelerating. Politicians, governmental bodies and academics regard SMEs as significant sources of wealth and employment on national and global level, and encourage them to expand their operations overseas. However, statistics show that not all Finnish SMEs are internationally oriented. International orientation is particularly rare among nascent ventures in Finland, especially when compared with firms in other European countries. Why is that? What is preventing Finnish companies from growing internationally?

In this research project, we investigate what are the mechanisms of scaling SMEs apply when operating on international markets. We explore the phenomenon with a longitudinal research design and collect qualitative data both retrospectively and in real-time from Finnish SMEs representing different industries. The TSE team is accompanied with an international network of partners and our partners in Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the UK are committed to comparative data collection from their home countries, if needed.

The research project is funded by the Foundation by Economic Education (Liikesivistysrahasto).

For more information on the project, please contact Niina Nummela or Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki.

Cosmopolitan life, identity and future of work (COSMO)

Global mobility is here to stay and the World Values Survey points out that many individuals nowadays consider themselves cosmopolitans, citizens of the world. These individuals do not identify with a certain geographical location, like a nation state, but with values such as openness, human rights or sustainability. We assume that their sense of place differs: a place may not be a physical location, but a virtual forum or a shared culture. Similarly, cosmopolitans may view time from a novel perspective. Rather than commit to a steady vocation in one organization, they often expatriate or work as freelancers, staying in one location only as long as it makes personal sense for them. Some even become nomads, touring the world and working whenever and wherever necessary. Nevertheless, these individuals often carry with  them skills important for modern employers. Being able to attract such workforce could help nations and organizations to tackle “brain drain” and increase both effectiveness and innovativeness.

Finland as a society needs more skilled and educated individuals. Our future-oriented research helps us to understand what sustainable, inclusive and meaningful life and work means for globally mobile individuals, and provides advice on how Finland as a country could develop into a cosmoscape, i.e. a society, which makes cosmopolitan engagement possible and enables the development of cosmopolitan self.

This research is conducted by a research team consisting of scholars from the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The responsible leaders of the research project are Niina Nummela (UTU) and Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen (ÅA). The project is funded by the Academy of Finland and Nordic Research Council in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). More information of the project, please see the project website.


The objective of FINPACT is to understand the impact of export and internationalization credit and financial guarantee instruments administered by Finnvera on selected companies and industries. The project operates on two angles, first, the impact of such financial instruments on the internationalization of Finnish firms and their local and global value network, and the impact of funded projects on the Finnish economy and society. The project has been conducted in collaboration with Prof. Elizabeth Rose (Otago University, New Zealand), Stephane Lhuillery (BETA Université de Lorraine, France) and Prof. Syoum Negassi (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France). More information can be provided by Peter Zettinig, Majid Aleem, Johanna Raitis and Marion Bitsch.

Global virtual teams (GVT)

This research group has been active at TSE since 2014 when Peter Zettinig decided to develop an experimental set up to observe how work groups transform through iterative tasks into multinational teams which solve strategic challenges in international business settings. The research is embedded in a wider collaboration with colleagues from Kingston University in the UK, Uppsala University in Sweden and Monash University in Australia. Two doctoral dissertations have already been completed based on this data set and two dissertation projects are ongoing related to individuals’ learning and how it becomes institutionalized on team level (Danijela Majdenic) and which competencies are needed in virtual team settings for effective work (Sirja Sulakatko). The results of this ongoing research project aim to provide managers with better insights showing how such organizations can be run efficiently and effectively.

Lifestyle changes by generation and life cycle

The multidisciplinary research focuses on emotional and cognitive factors that either inhibit or advance consumers’ propensity to engage in physical activity and active transport on a habitual basis, that is, as a healthy lifestyle. By analyzing individuals’ emotions, fundamental motives and mindsets the research contributes to the field of transformative consumer research.

The research is part (WP) of the Healthy Lifestyles to Boost Sustainable Growth (STYLE) SRC-project funded by the Academy of Finland (2019-2023). The research (WP) is led by D.Sc. Birgitta Sandberg. The research team includes D.Sc. Leila Hurmerinta, D.Sc. Samuel Piha and Doctoral student Henna Leino. Professors Rami Olkkonen and John Thøgersen (Aarhus University) act as experts.


Recent publications