Manufacturing companies search for new ways of generating profits in the rapidly changing and highly competitive global markets. Is servitization the answer? Maintenance, digitalization and R&D support are examples of the wide range of services that are offered to cover the life span of a product. Servitization offers a possibility to differentiate from the competitors and a remedy to the deteriorating profit margins of product sales. Studies show that a too modest service strategy can result in financial losses while opting for a bold strategy with advanced services supports profitability.

Service business is inherently people focused. Developing and delivering services requires substantial input and involvement from not only customers but also employees. My master’s thesis on servitization in the manufacturing industry shows that involving employees from a very early stage of the process is crucial for the success. Employees have a significant role in implementing servitization strategies. There is a lot of tacit knowledge in the organization and this knowledge is transferred through collective sensemaking and meaning making and not so much through documentation. Bringing together tacit knowledge and the servitization plans supports the creation of a shared vision between managers and employees.

Often, servitization calls for an organizational change and with change comes support and resistance. Some individuals and teams in the organization view servitization as an enabler of the future success of the organization while others look at it as an unnecessary obstacle and extra work in their day-to-day work. Creating a shared vision is, therefore, important in leading change. When managers pay attention to the ways by which employees make sense of services and servitization plans, the potential of successful implementation is increased.

The implementation of servitization strategies can be supported by flexible organizational structures, well-planned rewarding systems and management’s readiness to do self-reflection of the impact of their change communication. In other words, close attention to leading the process of implementation of servitization is needed.

Päivi Eskelinen

Master’s Thesis Title:

“Organizational Change and Servitization: Employee Sensemaking in the Manufacturing Industry.”


Thesis supervisor: Päivi Eriksson

Perheyritys – perheenjäsenten uniikki taideteos

Sukupolvenvaihdos on perheyrityksen suurimpia muutoksia koko yrityksen elinkaaren aikana. Tuolloin edeltäjä luopuu ja seuraaja vastaanottaa. Taustalla vaikuttaa usein halu säilyttää yritys perhepiirissä, koska yritys on turvannut perheen toimeentulon ja koska siihen liittyy paljon myös tunteita. Yritys voidaan rinnastaa jopa uniikkiin taideteokseen.

Sosioemotionaalinen hyvinvointi on käsite, joka kuvaa ei-taloudellisia tekijöitä, jotka liittyvät perheyritykseen. Se selittää perheyrityksen merkitystä perheenjäsenille. Gradututkimukseni lähtökohtana toimi tämä käsite ja halusin sen avulla tutkia tätä suurta muutosta, sukupolvenvaihdosta.

Tutkimukseni porautui sukupolvenvaihdoksen aikana koettuihin tunnekokemuksiin ja selitti tunnekokemusten avulla niitä tekijöitä, joita tunteiden taustalla vaikuttavat. Tutkimus käsitteli sekä edeltäjien että seuraajien kokemuksia, koska laaja-alaisempi käsittely auttoi ymmärtämään tunteiden taustoja suuremmassa mittakaavassa.


Vain ymmärtämällä tunteiden taustatekijöitä voimme ymmärtää ilmaantuneita tunteita kattavammin. Tutkimukseni mukaan tunteiden taustalla vaikuttivat muun muassa henkilöiden identiteetin muodostuminen perheyrityksen ympärille, ajatus perheyrityksestä elämäntyönä ja halu säilyttää perhedynastia perhepiirissä. Nämä tekijät vaikuttivat siihen, kuinka eri osapuolet kokivat sukupolvenvaihdoksen. Esimerkiksi edeltäjän ajatus perheyrityksestä elämäntyönä tuo ylpeyden tunnetta seuraajan asettumisesta yrityksen johtotehtäviin, mutta samalla haikeutta, koska edeltäjä on panostanut elämänsä ajan huomattavan paljon yrityksen pyörittämiseen ja tilanne muuttuu, kun vetovastuu vaihtuu.

Tunteet yhtä tärkeitä kuin talous

Tutkimukseni osoittaa, että sukupolvenvaihdokseen liittyy tunteita laidasta laitaan. Tunteiden käsittelyllä ja tunteiden taustatekijöiden ymmärtämisellä voidaan ennaltaehkäistä konfliktien syntymistä. Tutkimukseni osoitti, että perheyrityksen merkitys on erilainen eri sukupolville, minkä ymmärtäminen ja hyväksyminen jo itsessään auttaa työskentelemään kohti yhteistä päämäärää – hyvinvoivaa ja uniikkia perheyritystä.

Tanja Lehto, KTM

Pro gradu: Perheyritys – perheenjäsenten uniikki taideteos. Tutkimus sukupolvenvaihdoksen tunnekokemusten taustatekijöistä
Ohjaaja: Helena Kantanen


Strategic entrepreneurship – a key for business growth

Today, entrepreneurship raises a lot of interest in the society. Government decision makers see it as a vehicle for economic growth. Growth of small companies brings jobs and tax revenues and gives a boost of energy to the economic activity. While entrepreneurship is a solution to many macroeconomic challenges, it also opens up new and exciting opportunities to people who want to create something new.

Interestingly, most new companies that start out small also remain small through the whole lifespan. In fact, it is very rare that a small start-up grows into a large company. One explanation is that the majority of business start-ups are imitations of existing businesses in the matured industries. Another explanation is that start-ups are typically located in local markets, and therefore, their growth potential is limited. Yet one more explanation might be that many start-up entrepreneurs are not at all interested in business growth, instead, other aspects of being an entrepreneur motivate them.

But how about those entrepreneurs, who are growth oriented, what could be done to support their ambitions? Start-ups are agile in detecting and creating new opportunities, but upholding competitiveness is not in their best game.

Despite few in number, there are entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses. One way to support these entrepreneurs is to guide them into strategic entrepreneurship. The core idea in strategic entrepreneurship is in balancing the competitive advantage seeking and business opportunity creation when making business decisions.

I found in my doctoral thesis that the best way to balance between competitive advantage seeking and business opportunity creation sequentially is to alternate the emphasis on one or the other over time or to create an organization so that different people look into one or the other.

My study shows that there is a great but underutilized potential in the Finnish entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs show great resilience in pursuing renewal even in difficult financial times and show commitment to their business ideas in the face of many challenges they face. There is a great growth potential in the Finnish entrepreneurial field. With support on strategic entrepreneurship, we could see many more growth oriented start-ups and read many more exciting success stories on business growth.

Ville-Veikko Piispanen, D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm.)


Title of Doctorate thesis

Strategic Entrepreneurship in Small Business Context

Supervisor: Professor Päivi Eriksson

To the unknown and beyond: Appreciative intelligence® in Start-up Companies

A phenomenon such as the Slush (www.slush.org) is a sign that the start-up hype is storming in Finland. Slush is an annual event for start-ups and tech talent to meet with investors, executives and media. It is organized in Helsinki in November, that is when you can get a first hand experience of slush on the streets, and in just a few years it has grown a major start-up event in Finland and in Europe. It is a part of a movement that is taking place all over the world where young educated experts set up businesses instead of looking for positions in established organizations. Slush is the focal point for start-ups and tech talent to meet with top-tier international investors, executives, and media.

The interesting question is why are well educated people ready to jump into an extremely uncertain work environment with well-known fact that most companies will fail and disappear after a couple of years. So what drives people forward to fight against the odds and all that uncertainty? With this questions in mind, I interviewed people who work in start-up companies and asked how they cope with the challenges they face in setting up a new business.

Using a framework of Appreciative Intelligence® introduced by professor Tojo Thatchenkery, George Mason University, USA, I found that the entrepreneurs were able to reframe the uncertainty in the business environment as an opportunity for personal learning and meeting exciting challenges. Also, they were able to see a quick career development as a positive potential in the situation. And finally, they were capable of acting on uncertainty and using it as an energizing and community building shared experience that fueled the entrepreneurs and their teams to make the future potential unfold in actions taken today.

According to professor Thatchenkery, people tend to reframe challenging situations in two contrasting ways – either negatively or positively. I was able to identify a tremendous amount of positive reframing in the ways the entrepreneurs perceived uncertainty in start-up business.

It appears that the start-up score high in Appreciative Intelligence® which helps them make a challenging situation into an exciting opportunity. The good news is that we can all practice Appreciative Intelligence® and put it in use in our own lives and at work.


Tuomas Holma

Thesis: To the Unknown and Beyond: Appreciative Intelligence® in Start-up Companies

Thesis supervisor: Professor Hanna Lehtimäki

To learn more about appreciative intelligence, please visit www.appreciativeintelligence.com

How to solve the dilemma in market access delay in new medicine?

An important measure of success of a new drug is markets access delay that measures the length of the time a new medicine is accessible to patients after the R&D process has been completed. In my thesis I found out that the mean market access delay of oral cancer drugs in Finland is 2,36 years and it is becoming even longer with new drugs. Cancer patients and the patient organization regard this to be excessively too long. To many patients, every day is precious.

Patients and patient organization see that money should not be a barrier to the access for drugs that will help them to better fight cancer. However, the cost of new oral cancer medicines tends to be high. Therefore, reimbursement plays a significant part of the market access in making new oral cancer drugs accessible to all patients regardless of a patient’s economic status.

There is a pressing need to improve the process of authorizing and approving new drugs by European Medicines Agency EMA and Pharmaceutical Pricing Board PPB.

At the moment, patients feel that their voices are not heard when making decision concerning the reimbursement status of new drugs. From the patients’ perspective, they themselves are the ones having to experiences the biggest loss in the long market access delays. As noted by a representative of a patient organization, for a patient, it is an absurd situation when it is known that there is a drug that is crucial for the survival of the patient but the patient can’t get the medicine because it is not reimbursed. Due to the delay, the patient passes away.

For giving patients an equal opportunity to access new oral cancer medicines, it is highly important that new oral cancer medicines are included in the Finnish drug reimbursement system in a timely manner. However, identifying the crucial new medicines that should be quickly accessible, is difficult.

A solution may come with the upcoming Comprehensive Cancer Center Finland whose planned role would be to give clinical guidelines and give statements concerning new treatments. Also, starting this year Finland has implemented a risk sharing scheme called conditional reimbursement for allowing a faster access to new innovative drugs. These are very welcomed reforms that will hopefully improve the fast accessibility of new oral cancer therapies. Further research is needed to support shortening the market access of new drugs.


Matti Auvinen


Title of Master’s thesis

Market access of oral cancer drugs in Finland: A patient and patient organization view

Thesis supervisor: Professor Hanna Lehtimäki

Invest in coincidence – make use of serendipity

In a modern interconnected world, you can often hear a phrase: who you know affects what you know. However, if you actually try to illustrate who you know on a piece of paper ­– the task may not be simple. If you only include your closest friends, it is plausible, but what happens when you start to map out your friend’s friends? And how about all your Facebook friends, do you have an idea how they are connected to each other? It is fair to say that the potential reach of our networks is far wider than we have ever realized.

When we apply the thought of connectedness to opportunities e.g. a new job, what appears at first sight as a happy coincidence, may be more than that. It might, in fact, be a result of our connectedness to others, the indirect ties we have through friends and acquaintances.

In my Master’s thesis, I applied network theory in internationalization of innovative business and I found that the source of business opportunities abroad was largely due to indirect ties the case company had in a far reaching business network. In the analysis, I was able to identify particular bridging ties that actually enabled the case company to receive new internationalization opportunities which, probably, wouldn’t have otherwise appeared .

The learning from this is that, in a connected world, viewing coincidences as mere random events may strikingly limit the opportunities which we might be offered in the future. Instead, it is important to create opportunities for coincidences to happen and make use of them with deliberate actions. In my study on a life sciences company, an important source for the coincidental, yet significantly beneficial, opportunities turned out to be connections to the scientific community. As a result of the study, the company started to invest more in these relationships with a new understanding of the potential reach the connections have.

Karri Koistinen

Title of Master’s thesis:

“Role of social capital, networks and serendipity in internationalization of SMEs”

Thesis supervisor:  Professor Hanna Lehtimäki