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08 June 2023


Responsible Organising

Responsible Organising

Name of the research center:

Responsible Organising combines several relevant research centres / research institutes. The research area of strength ‘Responsible Organising’ focuses on the synergistic intersections between three research institutes CCR (Centre for Corporate Responsibility), GODESS (Gender, Organization, Diversity, Equality and Social Sustainability in Transnational Times) and HUMLOG (the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute). Overall, Responsible Organising (RO) corresponds to fields of research on social and environmental responsibility, including gender, diversity, and sustainability, both in organisations and in terms of organisational impacts on society. It currently encompasses researchers and research from subjects of (alphabetical order) Commercial Law; Management and Organisation; Management and Politics; Marketing; and Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility.


Research Center contact:

Martin Fougère, fougere@hanken.fi

Nikodemus Solitander, solitander@hanken.fi

How many sustainability-focused researchers are part of the center (#)?

More than 15

Implementation of SDG-focused research centers

Founded in 1909, Hanken is one of the oldest business schools in the Nordic countries and it received the university status in 1927. Today, Hanken is the only stand-alone business school in Finland, operating in Helsinki and in Vaasa. Hanken has around 110 years of experience in research and education in economics and business administration.

Social responsibility and Sustainability at Hanken are core pillars of our strategy Hanken 2030. It is integrated and advocated across all our activities: research, teaching, partnerships, our campus buildings and our operations.

Hanken has dedicated both budgetary and human capital to carry out PRME at Hanken. The PRME team manages key sustainability networks, stakeholder relationships, reporting, driving internal engagement and strategic changes, as well as campus sustainability, and organising events.

Furthermore, there are also several cross-unit working groups focused on societal impact, sustainability, equality, data protection, well-being and the estate that meet regularly.

In which ways is research fostered, motivated, or incentivized by leadership in the institution

Through research areas of strength. Hanken has since 1994 appointed areas of strength within research and education for a period of five years at a time. An area of strength is defined as an area where the research conducted is of an internationally competitive level. These areas are prioritised when deciding upon investments to research and are appointed by the Board of Hanken for a period of five years at a time.

The latest external evaluation of Hanken research, on the basis of which four areas of strength were set, was the first such evaluation which explicitly invited cross-disciplinary research groups to apply for the status. This was an opportunity for many of the researchers directly engaging with the SDGs, particularly those related to inequalities on the one hand and corporate responsibility on the other, to form the research group (later granted area of strength status) ‘Responsible Organising’.

Percentage of resources is directed toward sustainability-oriented research at your institution

This cannot be quantified. ‘Responsible Organising’ is one of four areas of strength, but all of the other areas of strength (‘Competition Economics and Service Strategy’, ‘Financial Management, Accounting, and Governance’, and ‘Leading for Growth and Wellbeing’) and all five areas of high potential include at least some research that is explicitly about sustainability.

Main focus of the center's work

It is interested in all SDGs but ‘more focused’ on 4, so we seem to exceed the maximum here. Either way, the four SDGs we most engage with are SDGs 5 and 10 (particularly clusters B and C) and SDGs 12 and 17 (particularly clusters A and C).

Besides the four mentioned above, insights in relation to all other SDGs have been generated by the research activities within Responsible Organising at Hanken.

How many sustainability/SDG-oriented publications are produced by the center(s) each year on average? Please separate your response into peer-reviewed articles and other publications.

We have at present 55 affiliated researchers in Responsible Organising (4 professors emeriti, 6 full professors, 8 docent-level / associate professors, 16 postdocs, and about 20 active doctoral students).
All in all, researchers from the community publish between 50 and 100 peer-reviewed articles altogether every year, many of which are in prestigious journals (ABS/AJG 3 and higher, since the incentives for the Hanken tenure track only count those as having value for promotion).
As far as other publications are concerned, many researchers from Responsible Organising also contribute to media directed at a broader audience, and one publication we are particularly proud to promote here (as it is eminently relevant to our efforts to reach sustainable outcomes, and is entirely framed in terms of the SDGs) is our recent collective book, targeted at a broad audience:
Sandberg, M., & Tienari, J. (Eds.). (2022). Transformative Action for Sustainable Outcomes: Responsible Organising. London: Routledge. (see https://www.routledge.com/Tran..., with a short review from Mette Morsing). This book is an excellent introduction to the work of our research area of strength since all the authors featured are affiliated with Responsible Organising at Hanken.

Explain briefly how research carried out in the center feeds into teaching, giving examples of modules/courses or related degree programmes.

Each individual member of Responsible Organising draws partially on their own research field (including often contributions from within Responsible Organising) in their own teaching, as is typically the case in Hanken courses, since Hanken is a research-based university.

However, one example where research in Responsible Organising directly translates into a course is the recently given doctoral course: Responsible Organising: New perspectives on social inequalities (KATAJA) I Doctoral course, 6 ECTS

The aim of the course is to give an in-depth overview of the current state and contribution of Responsible Organising research on social inequalities. Responsible Organising (RO) is one of Hanken's four Areas of Strength, which has been evaluated as reaching highest international standard. At the core of RO is research on how different actors are organising for transformative action towards sustainability, as expressed in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2022 the course used the recently published book ‘Transformative Action for Sustainable Outcomes: Responsible Organising’ as core literature and brings together faculty from different subjects to explore the intersections between social responsibility and social inequalities.


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