Welcome to the Vaikuttaja (“The Influencer”) blog! This University of Tampere Faculty of Management blog provides a new channel for conveying information about our research activities. It is intended to serve as a window for you readers into the developments at our faculty. If a story you read here seems interesting, please contact the author for more details.
The background to the name of our blog is one of the key pursuits common to all activities at the Faculty of Management: making an impact. We study and teach different ways of making an impact: administration, management, decision-making, leadership and expertise. Our own ways of working also have the intrinsic feature of seeking to influence: the research projects study socially important themes, the projects are implemented together with stakeholders, and their outcomes lead to – as well as academic results – practical benefits.
When the impact of universities is discussed, the focus is often on research. People expect research to discover something new and revolutionary. Sometimes that is the case. However, more often than not, even successful research projects only create small snippets of information on top of existing research findings, to cover gaps in the research. Science is built block by block.
The channels of influence more important than actual research results include education and our researchers’ other activities. Every year, more than 300 Masters of Science, Administrative Sciences and Social Sciences and some 20 PhDs graduate from the Faculty of Management and enter working life. This also conveys the most recent research knowledge to workplaces. Further education is an important tool for updating competences and for reforming the management practices of people already in working life. Education exports have a global impact.
Scholars and teachers also exert influence on boards of directors and by acting as experts for parliamentary committees and in organisational development projects, for example. Furthermore, many of our researchers and professors comment on topical issues in newspapers, on television, at expert seminars and in social media forums. That way, the views of experts can reach a wide audience.
However, all this effort spent influencing is easily overshadowed by cold performance indicators. Degrees, credits, publication volumes and the costs of projects are important when assessing universities and researchers. Impact is mentioned in speeches, but not included in key indicators. Fortunately, the Faculty of Management is also doing well in the light of the above indicators. Nevertheless, we want to keep on highlighting our impact-related objectives and activities, which is also why we have launched this new blog. We want to continue to make our approach more open so that our experts and expertise are easier to find.
Photos by Jonne Renvall