Research at Management and Organisation

Research areas

Working life studies

Working life studies is interdisciplinary research area which explores both human and organizational elements of work and changes in working life. Almost all of our research areas are connected to working life, depending on the focus the researcher place emphasis on. Studies on leadership and HRM are natural frames for discussing work related topics as well as organizational practices facilitating change, team work, employment relations or in discussing embodied agency in organizations. Our current research on work concerns meaning making of digital work and supervisory relationships in academic practices, among others.

We participate in SWiPE -project and co-ordinate a project on collaborative colleagueship (Work2). We have contributed to activities of Turku Centre for Labor Studies and in organizing the WORK-conferences in Turku 2013 and 2015. These interesting phenomena of working life and leadership are present also in our teaching.

Contact: Satu Teerikangas, Maija Vähämäki, Anni Paalumäki, Maarit Laiho  


Change management

Our multidisciplinary research team studies change from a variety of perspectives. On the one hand we study forms of change, whilst on the other hand we model change and reflect on the notion of time in times of change. A central research area at the department relates to the evolution of industries and organizations. As regards change management, this is a topic we study from the perspective of radical organizational change as well as from the perspective of continuously changing organizations. At the level of the individual, we study the formation of organizational identity as well as the capability to change at the level of individuals, whether managers or contemporary professsionals. In the field of leadership, some of our scholars also focus on transformative leadership.

Contacts: Satu Teerikangas, Juha Laurila, Markku Jokisaari, Anni Paalumäki, Maija Vähämäki


Research on organizations takes place at two analytical levels. First, at the level of the individual organization the focus is on the various processes of change.  The questions of organizational innovation, identity and power relations are topics currently examined by the members of the faculty.  While longitudinal case study research designs with qualitative data are most often used, there are also opportunities for comparative studies between several organizations.

Second, organizations are also studied at the level of organizational groups, industries and fields. The main idea with these studies is, that the activities of individual organizations can be fully understood only in the context of their closest competitors, and the field in which they are operating. Organizations are always dependent on the environmental conditions around them. These conditions consist of both the material resources available and the institutional norms and rules that define what is suitable for organizations in the field in question. These issues are studied, for example, in research designs that compare the development of individual organizations within a specific sector with that in other sectors.

Contacts: Juha Laurila, Anni Paalumäki

Human resource and competence management

In the contemporary competence society organizations’ competitive advantage is increasingly built on employees’ abilities and motivation. Human resource management (HRM) provides practices to develop abilities and maintain motivation. Further, HRM provides opportunities and organizational environments, which enable abilities and motivation to flourish. Our HRM research concentrates on the tacit linkage between HRM and organizational performance. We stress the importance of employee perceptions of HRM process and organizational climate based on the perceptions as significantly explaining the link from HRM to performance. We aim to explore how investments in HRM process could improve the employees’ abilities, motivation and opportunities to participate, and further lead to enhanced organizational performance.  These questions are examined in the small company context as well.

Global context, where organizations increasingly operate, has brought new challenges to the HRM filed. Of them we study the questions of ethical and responsible HRM.

Contacts: Maarit Laiho, Markku Jokisaari, Maija Vähämäki

Merging organisations

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have shaped the societal and corporate landscape at an increasing pace throughout the 20th century. All the while, the returns on acquiring firms from a performance perspective remain lamented. Our research focus relates to the management of merger and acquisition processes and the sociocultural dynamics involved. Our work is strongly tied to the international scholarly network of Merger and Acquisition scholars as well as the Nordic organizational and consulting landscape.

Research collaboration partners include e.g. EDHEC Business School, University of Toulouse I, BI Norwegian Business School, HEC Montreal, University of Laval Quebec, and University of Essex.

Contacts: Satu Teerikangas, Laura Toivo, Johanna Marin


Earlier research has shown in many ways the importance of leadership in organizations such as leadership is related to important employee, group and unit level outcomes in the organizations. Recent research has also focused on what antecedents enhance leadership development among leaders and followers. We examine both antecedents and consequences of leadership in the organizations. Furthermore, leadership can be seen as dynamic and social process and we ask questions such as how leadership changes and evolves between leaders and followers over time?

Identity and embodiment

In recent management and organization studies, it is raised a question whether individuals should be viewed ever more from humane (ethical and moral) perspective. While approaches on individuals often highlight a question of how they make impact on their surrounding organizational environment, research efforts are put more and more on how individuals lie open to external influence and pressures, as well. In research concerning how individuals construct their identities and how they take part in decision-making processes in different organizational environments, in their various circumstances, interests are not directed only at conscious, considered and visible modes of knowing. Instead, research takes into a consideration how human beings construct their identity in and through emotions, sensations and embodiment alike.

Contacts: Arto Ryömä, Suvi Satama, Lauri-Matti Palmunen

Agency in sustainability transitions

Despite the fact that a number of grand challenges mire the future of mankind, the field of management and organization has only relatively recently shifted its interest in this direction. At the department of management and organization, our interest is in agency in sustainability transitions. We consider that for the world to become more sustainable, top-down institutional action does not suffice. The role of individuals, be it as citizens, consumers or professionals, is required, on a daily basis. From a research perspective, we are keen to appreciate how can individuals make a difference to sustainability transitions.

Research collaboration partners include e.g. University College London, Copenhagen Business School, Danish Technical University, University of Jyväskylä, and Lappeenranta University of Technology.

Contacts: Satu Teerikangas, Tiina Onkila, Larissa Niemi

Social networks and interactions

Social network approach focuses on the relations between actors (individuals, groups, organizations). The central tenet is that social networks and relations enable access to resources, such as knowledge, ideas, and credentials that enhance goal attainment. Earlier research has also shown that the characteristics of social networks are related to many important outcomes in the organizations, such as job attitudes, knowledge sharing, innovation and performance. In addition, social networks often characterize both formal and informal interactions in the organization. We aim to examine social networks and interaction in the context of leadership, career development and organizational behavior, among others.

Funded research projects

Collaborative colleagueship – WORK2

Collaborative colleagueship – WORK2

The Finnish Work Environment Fund granted funding for Collaborative colleagueship – WORK2 -research project. The two-year project studies work communities from the perspective of active colleagueship. The project is conducted by the subject of management and organization at the Turku School of Economics.

Collaborative colleagueship – WORK2 project moves away from an approach of traditional top-down leadership towards the meaningfulness of every agent – colleague – at work. Everyday joint efforts are crucial both in terms of improving wellbeing and in constructing purposeful leadership at work. By taking a role of an active colleague each and every employee contributes to the joint results of their mundane work.

The research project studies the forms of colleagueship as well as its’ effects on the everyday actions at the workplace. The project develops a concept of active colleagueship by combining grounded theory approach to action research design. The empirical material of the project consists of interviews, observations and action research interventions conducted in five complementary case organizations.

The project increases understanding about the role of the ‘local’ agents (colleagues) working in different roles at different organizational levels, thus contributing to the success of the work community through active agency and workplace interaction. Moreover, the project brings fresh openings on how to recognize and develop active colleagueship at work.

The research project is led by professor Satu Teerikangas. Other members of the team are project manager Arto Ryömä and post doc researchers Suvi Satama and Maarit Laiho.

The role of new leaders’ self-regulation in leader identity development

The role of new leaders’ self-regulation in leader identity development

Self-regulation and related motivation play an important role how people direct their work behavior, engage in work activities, and channel their resources.

We try to argue that by pursuing their goals new leaders direct their interests and action in new leadership role and their development as leaders. Thus, this goal setting, monitoring and related success in goal attainment, i.e. self-regulation, assumingly play an important role how new leaders will perceive themselves as leaders.

In other words, by addressing the dynamic action-related perspective of identity development we explore the different ways in which new leaders’ self-regulation relate to their identity development as leaders. Specifically, we aim to focus on individual, relational and social levels of self-regulation in examining the relations between new leaders’ motivation and identity development. Identifying how to support new leaders’ goal attainment and related enhancement of leader identity is also important in the training of new leaders.

The project will start in 2019, and the manager of the project will be university research fellow Markku Jokisaari.

Transformative strategic urban development

Transformative strategic urban development

Transformative strategic urban development – The interplay of competitiveness and collaboration?

The project studies the operating models of strategic spatial development, i.e. the processes by which a public city organization performs its future-oriented and coordinative developmental work. The focus is on strategic planning and development in the city of Turku, with comparative perspectives to additional six Northern European cities and surrounding city regions. The aim is to identify operating models that are relevant and applicable in view of strategic spatial development of Turku.

The project joins forces of researchers in the fields of spatial and land-use planning and organization research. While strategic planning and management processes have been studied mostly separately in these fields, the project aims at building theory at the interface between them. By focusing on the interplay of strategic and communicative rationalities, the project analyses how strategy work can be oriented on one hand to seeking competitive advantage through adversarial relations and selective partnerships, and, on the other hand, to building shared strategic momentum through collaboration and joint commitment.

The project is realized in collaboration with the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Turku and the Department of Built Environment at Aalto University. The results include an international comparative case study, present state analysis in the city of Turku, and joint theory building. The results will increase our understanding of the different dimensions of strategic spatial planning and development, and practical applications are sought co-creatively at the end of the project. The project furthers collaboration both nationally and internationally between the university researchers and the city officials. The project has received funding of 125 000 € from the Turku urban research program for the period of 2018-19.

Research team

The consortium’s responsible research director is professor, D.Sc.(Tech) Satu Teerikangas from Turku School of Economics, a leading scholar in the fields of change management and strategic management. She brings insights from organization research to strategic spatial development. Satu is interested in active bottom-up agency in societal problem solving, a timely topic also in strategic spatial planning.

D.Sc.(Tech) Antero Hirvensalo begun working at Turku School of Economics in the beginning of 2018. He received his doctoral degree in 2015 at Aalto University in the area of organizational co-creation. His interests include collective knowledge creation, facilitation and management of innovation networks. Antero has a long experience in development projects in different organizational contexts.

PhD (geog.) Helka Kalliomäki from Turku School of Economics has a long research experience of strategic spatial planning from diverse viewpoints. Her dissertation (2012) handled inter-urban growth corridors in Finland. Helka has also studied innovation and culture driven urban development and approaches to managing urban growth in Europe and the US.

Professor, D.Sc.(Tech) Raine Mäntysalo heads the research team of Aalto University, Department of the Built Environment. His scientific publications in strategic spatial planning have focused on the dialectics of strategic and statutory planning, tensions in regional and local strategic planning, legitimation issues of informal strategic planning in the Nordic Countries and scenario work as part of strategic spatial planning.

D.Sc.(Tech) Hanna Mattila has worked since 2013 as a university lecturer at the Department of the Built Environment at Aalto University. She has acted previously as manager of further education at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at Aalto University (2008–2012), and prior to this as a regional planner.

Kaisa Granqvist is a doctoral student at the Department of the Built Environment at Aalto University. Her research focuses on new instruments and models of strategic spatial planning, and their influence on the evolution of the planning system. Before her doctoral studies, Kaisa worked in international assignments in project management and research related to regional and innovation policies of the European Union.

Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems

Towards circular economy and sustainable growth: Academy of Finland granted extensive funding to a consortium of Finnish universities

The joint project of Finnish universities:  “Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems” aims to facilitate the transition from linear to circular economy. The project supports Finland’s strategic objective to become a global leader in circular economy by 2025.

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) of the Academy of Finland has decided to fund the CICAT2025-project “Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems” from the SRC program titled “Keys to Sustainable Growth”. The whole consortium received 4,2 million euros for the first three years of the project.

The project will work to identify measures hampering and supporting the circular economy and search solutions for companies and regulators to support the transition to a circular economy.

-We are exploring a wide range of circular economy catalysts that have the potential to accelerate the adoption of circular economy principles in society and markets. Decision makers, policy-makers and companies can then apply those catalysts in an effective manner. Our extensive and multidisciplinary consortium brings together expertise in technology, business, policy-making, the arts, linguistics, legislation and stakeholder relations,” says head of the consortium, Associate Professor Leena Aarikka-Stenroos from Tampere University of Technology.    

In addition to Tampere University of Technology, the consortium consists of University of Tampere, University of Eastern Finland, University of Jyväskylä, University of Turku, Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Turku University of Applied Sciences. The sub-projects are led by Pekka Jokinen from the University of Tampere, Hanna Lehtimäki from the University of Eastern Finland, Tiina Onkila from the University of Jyväskylä, Satu Teerikangas from the University of Turku, Juha Suonpää from Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Juha Kääriä from Turku University of Applied Sciences. Additionally Ari Jokinen and Johanna Kujala (University of Tampere) and Leila Suvantola (University of Eastern Finland) act as work package leaders and Piia Nurmi from Turku University of Applied Sciences as the leader of interaction.

In the core of the project is close cooperation and discussion with universities, companies, authorities and communities. In addition, many ministries, municipalities and other organisations as well as a strong international cooperation network are involved in the project.

Keys to a sustainable economy

The overconsumption of natural resources and climate change require the change of consumption and production methods as well as re-evaluation of economic models. Circular economy is the way towards sustainable consumption and economic growth. Circular economy means resource-efficiency, longer product life-cycles and sharing.  The transition towards circular economy concerns the whole society from consumers to cities and companies, which have to take resource-efficiency and circular economy into consideration.

Circular economy is not only a necessity but also a business opportunity. According to The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the annual market for Circular economy in Finland could be 1,5-2,5 billion euros.

More information and inquiries:

Leena Aarikka-Stenroos, Tampere University of Technology,, tel. +358 503015476
Pekka Jokinen, University of Tampere,, tel. +358 50 3187264

Shared leadership in project teams

Shared leadership in project teams - the development of shared leadership and the consequences for the performance and well-being of teams is a collaborative project of the University of Turku and Turku University of Applied Sciences starting in autumn 2021. The research project forms a collaborative network between the University of Turku, Turku University of Applied Sciences, the Association of Project Professionals Finland and 5 organizations from the Southwest region.

Although we have knowledge of the importance and consequences of shared leadership, we still know relatively little about how shared leadership manifests and develops in work teams through time. The research question of the study focuses on understanding the emergence and development of shared leadership in changing project team environment. We conceptualize leadership as a time-varying network relationship between team members, which actively contributes to team performance and well-being.

The data collection started in February 2022 and will end in the beginning of year 2023. The study is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund.

The project is led by University Researcher Markku Jokisaari. The project manager is Marion Karppi, a senior lecturer at Turku University of Applied Sciences and a doctoral student in the Management and Organisation. Iida Tapio M.Sc. (Econ.) is the project researcher in the project.

Selected publications