Turku School of Economics: Strategy for

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1 Turku School of Economics: Strategy for

2 Appendix A TURKU SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS STRATEGY FOR The strategic position of the Turku School of Economics Operating environment Strategic objectives and role in the University of Turku Strategic elements and their interaction Research Education Interaction with the society Prerequisites Strategy implementation and follow-up The strategic position of the Turku School of Economics 1.1 Operating environment At the beginning of 2010 the Finnish university as an institution underwent one of the most profound changes in its history when universities lost their status as budgetary agencies and were transformed into independent corporations under public entity law or foundations under private entity law. This change coincided with a major structural overhaul that involved combining universities in order to reduce their number, to simplify and strengthen their profiles and to promote more efficient use of resources. In Turku, the university reform led to the merger of the Turku School of Economics and the University of Turku, to form a more multidisciplinary university of the type common in many other European countries. In this new unit, the Turku School of Economics operates as a disciplinary unit comparable to a faculty, much like the research-orientated London School of Economics. Universities receive the majority of their funding from the budget of the Ministry of Education and Culture but the basic funding is declining and universities are expected to build their activities increasingly on domestic and international project financing and on project operations. In addition, universities are allowed to use both funds received through private donations and proceeds from the basic capital received from the State to finance their operations. The Turku School of Economics enjoys a high reputation as a unit conducting basic and applied research; it also enjoys excellent relations with the business world, allowing it to contribute to the success of the new university unit created by the merger through, for example, the donations it receives in fund-raising campaigns. The School of Economics makes use of a diverse range of external financing sources, which are gaining growing importance.

3 The Turku School of Economics competes for research funding, resources and students more globally in a field where success requires clear volume growth, networking and recognition in the selected focus areas. TSE exe (Executive Development) is involved in close co-operation with partners globally and strengthens our image as a European school of economics. To enhance the quality, recognition and volume of research, we are taking more determined measures to network with research colleagues and groups worldwide, and to make applications for international research funding. Our merger with a multidisciplinary university offers us greater chances of success in major funding programmes. Consequently, we are pursuing growth by utilising the multidisciplinary skills and competences provided by the university unit in launching research projects that may qualify for funding from the EU innovation programmes. 1.2 Strategic objectives and role in the University of Turku The Turku School of Economics is a unit of the University of Turku conducting research and education in business studies and boasting internationally renowned research groups. TSE has established strong ties with the business world, is responsible for the university s research and education in business-related studies, and prepares the ground for more effective societal use of the research data produced at the university. Strategic objectives of the Turku School of Economics for : Turku School of Economics is a valued and respected player in the field of economy and business, and a sought-after partner in the global university network. Operations are built on close co-operation with both the selected university and corporate partners. TSE scholars work together with the leading researchers in the field and seek significant new research opportunities in and between different disciplines. In networked research projects TSE acts as an active partner with the faculties of the University of Turku, combining different skills and competences and by making the expertise of a multidisciplinary university available to the society. A strong focus on research in the selected profile areas delivers success in disciplinary assessments and comparisons between units offering education and research in economics and business studies both nationally and internationally. Becoming an EQUIS accredited school during the strategy period is a key requirement and proof of a successfully executed strategy. The strengths of our internal working culture include openness, interaction and close, almost familial relationships that help us build an interactive learning process leading to excellence. Education built on our strengths and on high-quality research makes our graduates better equipped for success in business life. Co-operation plays a key role in research, education and interaction with society. 2 Strategic elements and their interaction Strategic management in TSE is built on a balanced scorecard approach. This approach was selected because it highlights the diversity of the operations in the organisations as well as the balanced interaction between the different variables. Measuring and giving direction to the various dimensions of operations is an inherent part of the scorecard approach. TSE has developed its own model applicable in the university environment and derived from the unit's critical success factors, as illustrated in Diagram 1. 2

4 Target variables Preprequisites Diagram 1: The structure of the Turku School of Economics balanced scorecard For strategy purposes, the unit s operations are divided into two groups: target variables and prerequisites. Target variables include research, education and interaction with the society, and they represent the core of our strategy (discussed in chapters 3, 4 and 5). Even though individual strategic objectives and policies are specified for each of the three areas, they are not regarded as separate entities; instead, balanced and sufficiently integrated interaction between the target variables is a key notion in our strategy. To operate successfully within the target variables, three key prerequisites are required: these are personnel, administrative processes and finance, and they also must be understood as interlinked entities (discussed in chapter 6). In the strategy, we see the prerequisites as something that must be developed in a way that permits success in the target variables. Similarly, success in the target variables helps develop the prerequisites. As a result, the two analytic segments of our strategy are in powerful and continuous interaction. Individual objectives are set and key figures and indicators are specified for each area. 3

5 3 Research The strategy devised for the University of Turku emphasises the significance of multi- and interdisciplinary research. Strategic investments are made to promote research focus areas, and fields of research in a strong development phase are also supported. Turku School of Economics has competence in the area of financial choice and decision-making, which qualifies as an area of special expertise, and it falls into the category of the research on institutional design and social mechanisms included in the University strategy. In fact, TSE s research unit Public Choice, operated jointly with the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Institute of SocioEconomics of the University of Hamburg, has been awarded a national Centre of Excellence status by the Academy of Finland. TSE s key focus areas include business competence and innovation research, areas in a strong development phase and to be included in the University of Turku s areas of special expertise. Business competence is based on research addressing various issues related to corporate and organisational decision-making and enterprise resource planning. Human behaviour and the economy are at the heart of the research. Meanwhile innovation research addresses issues related to new products, production methods, and marketing and organisational innovations. In TSE, these two research themes are interconnected. Turku School of Economics will sharpen its research profile in order to promote its international recognition. Skills and competences will be put together and re-grouped in order both to add strength and competitiveness and to stand out from other players in the field. By combining our resources with the competence provided by the different faculties of the University of Turku we will be able to increase our recognition and to create better opportunities for increasing external funding. By investing in its international relations and co-operation, TSE will be able to secure a leadership position in its area of special expertise in Finland. Areas of special expertise are determined on the basis of theoretical research results, of the frequency of high-quality publication, and of the vitality of post-graduate studies. Researchers in the area of special expertise participate in discussions concerning their field of research in the key publication forums, are actively involved in international research networks and in joint undertakings with the business life. Areas of special expertise are typically highly multidisciplinary in terms of the themes selected and the theories applied. One of the general objectives for research is that researchers are engaged in international debate in their field of study in peer-reviewed publication forums. TSE s internal management system supports the strategic development objectives such as internationalisation. TSE s areas of special expertise in the fields of business competence and innovation research: Entrepreneurship Research focuses on studying the entrepreneur and the innovation processes and operating methods associated with entrepreneurship from the perspective of those starting up a business, of companies seeking growth and global presence, and of public sector organisations. Research investigates the role of entrepreneurship in a changing society within different economic, social and cultural contexts; together with other forces in the field of science, it also helps to promote the emergence and growth of new, innovative business ideas. Research information supports decision-making in organisations fostering entrepreneurship and innovations, and serves to develop related services, training and education. Management accounting In the current operating environment characterised by global competition, information provided by management accounting represents core business 4

6 competence. Operative and strategic management in corporate and public sector organisations requires the support which modern economic planning, performance measurement and cost management tools can offer. Research themes in this area are closely linked both to the problems experienced in management accounting which are due to ongoing changes, and to the role of accounting in innovation processes and in strategy creation and implementation. Research is multidisciplinary, conducted within an international co-operation network, and limited to projects offering exceptional theoretical potential. Business networks In this particular area of expertise, we have research groups working in several institutions; this brings a multitude of perspectives into the research. Research focuses particularly on private and public service networks and on multicultural and decentralised specialist teams. Researchers describe, analyse and devise models on corporate, individual and group behaviours in the contexts of decentralised and network-like organisations. Empirical material and test arrangements help produce new information and methods for network management analysis and development. In addition to the areas of expertise referred to above, Turku School of Economics also conducts research on a number of themes which, either individually or as multidisciplinary themes, could become areas of expertise in research and education in the future. The research conducted at TSE connects with many of the University of Turku s areas of expertise. For example, research on peer relations among children and young people ties in closely with research on learning and education, and TSE s research on innovations has strong ties with futures research. Other links to research areas of the University of Turku in a strong development phase include research on cultural and social interaction processes (with particular focus on research in the Baltic Sea region) and research on discrete mathematics and information security (extensive information safety research and education having great importance for society). TSE supports the thematic strengths mentioned above and seeks new opportunities and forms of co-operation with different disciplines. For example, there is a natural connection between health sciences and research on business models applied in the wellness industry as well the organisations, processes and data systems used, which is carried out extensively and on an established basis in TSE. This connection could justifiably make this field an area of special expertise. Since 1999, a points system has been used to measure the target variables in research. This system encourages personnel to conduct productive and high quality research. Points are awarded on the basis of articles published in esteemed international scientific publication series (based on a list of respected peer-reviewed journals in each discipline) and on international specialist assignments. Points are also awarded for citations, which reflect the impact of the research in the scientific community. The points awarding system is being further developed in order to ensure it will offer a more solid basis for the evaluation of success in scientific appraisals and when applying for Centre of Excellence status. 4 Education Turku School of Economics offers higher education in economics and business studies in Finland, relying on cutting-edge research, special attention being paid to learning critical thinking. A wide array of learning methods is used and interaction plays a major role in the educational process. 5

7 Students are encourage to mix studies in different subjects and across disciplines in order to adopt a problem-focused approach that is not restricted exclusively to solutions offered by one field of science. This type of curriculum allows a transition from a fragmented to a more holistic education. In the future, students will focus on the key content of each subject and learn to link these both to broader contexts and to possible points of convergence with areas of special expertise. Teaching methods support independent and reflective learning, which requires a high degree of motivation and responsibility on the part of the student. Efforts will be made to develop the content of education to make it sufficiently challenging to motivate students to study full-time. Education provided on these principles makes the students well equipped for working life and for advancement in their careers. To strengthen international co-operation, teacher exchange opportunities will be offered and foreign teaching staff will be recruited. Furthermore, action will be taken to grow the number of foreign graduate students. In resource allocation, attention will be paid to engagement in closer cooperation with selected universities abroad. Forms of co-operation include jointly organised courses and, in the long term, joint degrees. The basic degree in Economics and Business Studies includes extensive language and communication studies. This, combined with tuition offered in foreign languages, guarantees that students are well equipped to participate in exchange student programmes and to pursue an international career. The EQUIS accreditation is a significant milestone in the internationalisation project. The EPAS accreditation already awarded to TSE s emba programme is an indication of our moving in the right direction. Corporate cooperation plays a key role in education and in interaction with society. We have joined forces with various faculties of the University of Turku and devised multidisciplinary study modules in order to increase co-operation in education. We are also seeking new forms of co-operation in interdisciplinary graduate and post-graduate study groups. TSE includes its research focus areas within education, chiefly as specific angles defining teaching. By pooling our teaching resources we can enhance our international competitiveness and promote our recognition worldwide. In graduate schools, more attention will be paid to improving the doctoral study and mentoring practices with the objective of enhancing the efficiency and quality of processes and outcomes. These actions will be taken within the framework of a national graduate school reform, which is currently under way, and the joint recommendations for doctoral studies issued by the University of Turku. Although TSE s policy is in line with these recommendations, action will be taken to address the following: mentor and follow-up group practices, the introduction of a mentoring plan, and a more systematic follow-up of postgraduate students personal study plans throughout the doctoral study process. In connection with the graduate school reform, more emphasis will be placed on the career management skills of doctoral student (so-called transferable skills). Internationalisation is a theme underpinning all aspects of doctoral studies. A further key objective is to have articles published in the most respected international referee journals in each relevant field of science. To monitor the strategy implementation in education, critical measurements of interaction in education, of internationality and of quality must be made at all levels of education (studies leading to a Master s degree, doctoral studies and Executive Education). Indicators of success in our internationalisation efforts are the proportion of international staff and students and of tuition 6

8 provided in English at different study levels. Interaction in education is assessed by monitoring both the use of different teaching methods that promote interaction and the results of such methods. Effective course feedback and assessment systems are of vital importance for educational development work. The quality of education is assessed by the use both of TSE s and the university s internal education quality measurement systems and with various third-party assessments such as SEFE reports, FINHEEC assessment, the application process for Centre of Excellence in education, and the EQUIS accreditation. 5 Interaction with the society Interaction with the society will play an increasingly important role as the university's success factor in the future. The Triple Helix approach has become the established form of co-operation between society, companies and universities whereby the university actively creates and applies new scientific information through research, education and development projects. The capacity to influence society requires a strategic commitment from the university as well as systematic and intensive communication with the surrounding society, in order to secure the balanced development of social interaction alongside scientific research and education. In most cases, scientific results cannot as such be put to use within society and in the corporate sector; hence economics and business studies play a crucial role in bolstering the third duty of the modern university. The Turku School of Economics fosters cross-disciplinary co-operation in the University of Turku. It serves as a link between the University and society. It is a two-way relationship in that the feedback received is highly relevant for the development of university research and education. Turku School of Economics participates in the Turku Innovation Platform and in the emba programme in accordance with these principles. The process of influencing society is international, multidisciplinary and innovative, and involves: Intensive and systematic interaction with the business life and other interest groups in Finland and abroad, and functioning as an interaction channel. Systematic development of business competence and awareness of entrepreneurship and innovations in the University of Turku, together with related international networking and channelling. Promoting business competence and innovation research, particularly in multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research. Improving business competence in companies (company-specific training) and international training to increase business competence (Executive Education, post-graduate education, Master s degree programmes). Increased efficiency in the innovation chain: Creating new competence-intensive businesses, supporting growth entrepreneurship, improving synergy in the business development system. Producing new and relevant information for the business life through research, education and project co-operation. Third-party funding is becoming increasingly important in all the areas for which the University is responsible. The ability to win and implement extensive international research projects has been a 7

9 critical success factor for the Turku School of Economics. TSE plays an active role in national and international innovation environments because it conducts research that also has practical relevance. The research information produced at TSE can be used both to drive new innovative business ideas and the resulting business growth, and to enhance the business competence of active companies. As a result, TSE plays an important role in enabling the skills and knowledge of a multidisciplinary university and the results of scientific research to be put to practical use in business and working life. Since the University of Turku is preparing a set of indicators to allow the monitoring of social interaction and social influencing, it is not rational to build a separate system for this purpose at TSE. It is, however, important that the monitoring system supports the EQUIS accreditation. From the perspective of TSE, important variables to be measured include the development of researchbased and student-initiated business, improvements in the innovation environment, relevance of research activities, the quality and scope of corporate co-operation, international networking, the impact and scope of Executive Education, the quality of project operations, and the volume of thirdparty financing. Indicators relevant for the entire University include patents, licenses, and the growth of interdisciplinary co-operation. 6 Prerequisites TSE personnel s high motivation, job satisfaction and commitment to operational development are a prerequisite for achieving the objectives set in the strategy. Measurement, incentive and rewarding systems which are fair and focused on the strategic objectives are a further essential requirement for the transformation of the objectives into action. The Human Resources department is responsible for co-ordinating the objectives with an individual employee s duties, and with the employee's particular strengths and expectations. Active recruitment is essential for the strategy implementation. TSE will recruit promising researchers capable of high quality research and publication and will offer them an opportunity to earn merit as part of an international research network. Recruitment must be proactive and must focus on seeking talent worldwide, relying on TSE s own strengths as well as on the positive image associated with Finland, Southwest Finland and the multidisciplinary Turku University campus. The new Universities Act and the merger with the University of Turku assign greater importance to the management of finances. TSE has assumed wider responsibilities within the University of Turku, which should translate into an upward trend in the basic funding provided to the school. In addition, the skills required to obtain external funding and to manage projects must be systematically developed. A reliable and up-to-date financial reporting system is a necessity to ensure cost awareness in management. At the beginning of 2010 all administrative support services (personnel, international, library, student, project, financial, IT and communications services) were placed in centralised units of the University of Turku. Turku School of Economics acknowledges the strategic importance of administrative support services for its own activities and for the entire University. It is of particular importance to ensure that the support measures needed for internationalisation are in place. For the TSE strategy deployment it is vital to have the administrative support services running efficiently as soon as possible, and TSE is prepared to actively take part in this service development. Smoothly running services will guarantee the appropriate allocation of working hours 8

10 of both supervisors and of teaching and research personnel to research, education and social influencing. 7 Strategy implementation and follow-up Strategic objectives have been set in this document and the prerequisites for their achievement have also been identified. The strategy does not provide for any specific means for the achievement of the strategic objectives. Similarly, the description of indicators remains at a somewhat general level. Strategy work will continue; the next step is to identify means to implement the strategy and to determine the measurement systems that allow strategy implementation to be monitored. To this end, the following will be determined in the course of autumn 2010: 1. Actions and indicators to increase internationality in all areas of operations 2. Actions and indicators to raise the scientific standard of publications 3. Actions and indicators to ensure the quality of education and degrees 4. Actions and indicators to increase the social influence of Turku School of Economics 5. Actions to bring the quality system to a level required for EQUIS accreditation The strategy work and its implementation are co-ordinated by a management team led by the Director of Turku School of Economics. Reports on the strategy progress are submitted to the Board of Directors semi-annually. 9

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