RAE2015 OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TURKU PEER-EVALUATION REPORT DEPARTMENT OF MARKETING AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

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1 RAE2015 OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TURKU PEER-EVALUATION REPORT DEPARTMENT OF MARKETING AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Turku School of Economics

2 RAE2015 OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TURKU PEER-EVALUATION REPORT DEPARTMENT OF MARKETING AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Turku School of Economics Panel: Ann Jorissen (chair), Kirsimarja Blomqvist, Ted Fuller, Tage Madsen, Jaakko Pehkonen 1. OVERALL RATING OF THE UNIT RATING: Excellent A well-performing department with highly motivated researchers Research in this departments covers four distinct areas: Marketing, International Business, Operations & Supply Chain Management, and Economic Geography. The department had an increasing number of scientific staff in the period : teaching and research personnel from 40 to 54; professors steady at 10. The research of the department is organized in 5 areas: Marketing (staff of 16), international business (staff of 17), operations and supply chain management (staff of 9), economic geography (staff of 6) and the education/teaching oriented Pan-European Institute (staff of 6). The main research themes in marketing are business networks and relationships, innovative business and marketing communications. Research is focused on BtB markets which is also the case for the international business area where the focus is on innovations in addition to international entrepreneurship, cross-border mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate social responsibility. The activities in the Pan-European Institute fit into the international business topic, but are more concerned with outreach activities. The operations & supply chain management area studies logistics/ transportation as well as purchasing and supply management whereas the economic geography area carries out research in innovation systems, global production networks, tourism, and retailing. As it appears there are many possibilities for joint efforts in these also complementary areas. The self-evaluation report and the interview provide a picture of a very well-functioning department in which highly motivated researchers carry out their research activities in an inspiring and open atmosphere. We sense a feeling of common identity within the whole department as well as within the research groups. As will appear later in the report, research productivity is high in all respects and research activities are very closely related to teaching activities. Being International is to some extent a distinguishing feature for the department: Topics, connections, networks, language (English used on a daily basis), and benchmarking. The interview revealed a research ethos in which research quality is ensured by academic leadership through expertise and willingness. Research seminars are organized in area groups, but are open for all (and also attended across areas). Postdoc researchers are actively fuelling

3 2 / 10 research and are involved in co-supervision of doctoral students to allow them to develop academic leadership and support group building. The department is performing very well compared to its resources. The panel has been informed that the department represents 40% of TSE doctoral degrees, 40% of TSE master s degree, and 30% of TSE research points (although the economic geography area is below TSE average). In comparison the department has slightly more than 20% of TSE basic funding. This is clear evidence of high productivity. 2. Description of the research activity during the evaluation period RATING: Excellent The quantity and quality of national and international publication is high The number of A1 journal publications has gone up from 16 to 41 in the same period. A3 book chapters have gone from 7 to 11; total publication activity from 77 to 128. The number of level 2 and 3 international publications has gone up from 10 to 22; level 3 from 1 to 4 with a peak of 7 in This reflects a very good progress in the international orientation and the quality as well as quantity of research output. During the interview we learned that also later years show publications levels like in 2013 with level 3 publications being at 5 and 6. A number of the publications are joint efforts with domestic and foreign colleagues. The self-evaluation report mentions a number of scientific results (e.g. related to methodology, innovation networks, value co-creation, intellectual property rights, Logistics Performance Index) and demonstrates ability to publish in leading international journals. This documents that the research of the department attracts international interest and extends existing knowledge as well as highlights also some innovative elements. The high and rising level of published research is in line with the stated ambition of the department, involving international collaboration and publication in peer-reviewed journals of high quality. The research has high visibility and is well organized On average the department has a higher number of TSE research points per faculty member than other departments which reflects high visibility of their research in addition to publications. Many researchers are highly cited according to Scopus and Google Scholar. The research portfolio of the department is quite broad, comprising 17 subareas. Even though the department is large this may seem to be highly diversified. This issue was discussed during the interview and it became clear that the 17 subareas are quite path-dependent and stable and the research area leadership attempts to secure that the core competences within these areas do not rest with one or a few researchers. This also implies that research projects that do not fit into these subareas may be excluded. This is to some extent a limiting factor for the freedom of individual researchers, but the panel acknowledges and also commends this attitude since it ensures critical mass for continuously conducting high quality research in

4 3 / 10 focused areas. This attitude is also in line with the fact that the department increasingly organize in research groups. This relatively newly established team-building aims at protecting the core research competencies as well as develop the environment to apply for external funding. Being a group shows higher credibility with regard to delivering the promised research. The research groups are, however, flexible to allow for cooperation and joint research projects across subareas as well as main areas at the department. Synergies pursued The department s scholars see themselves as being internationally respected in particular for their contributions in the areas of BtB and service marketing, M&A research, International Entrepreneurship and qualitative case research methodology. There appears to be many synergistic effects between the research areas and the interview made it clear that these synergies are also pursued which has resulted in joint publications within the department and in some cases also across departments in UTU. Achievement in relation to personnel and funding: The number of publications compared to the number of researchers in 2013 is very good (128 publications out of which 41 are A1 journal articles. The quantity and quality of publications is high, compared to the number of researchers. As mentioned above the department has high productivity in general. According to our information only the economic geography areas lacks somewhat behind. Infrastructure: Not relevant. 3. Organisation and personnel during the evaluation period RATING: Good to excellent The recruiting policy supports research and is becoming less locally oriented The recruiting policies are described in broad terms (quality and fit with research areas). The number of international staff is limited, and none have a doctoral degree from a foreign university. In fact, 90% of the faculty has a doctoral degree from the University of Turku, whereas 10% have their degree from other Finnish universities. Historically, this reflects a limited inflow of research ideas from outside the department s own doctoral educations. This is, however, changing. At the moment, the department recruits an increasing number of international doctoral students (around 1/3 are presently from other countries). Strengthening the core research competences The departments sees nowadays numerous applicants and as mentioned before recruitment is now much more geared towards strengthening the core research competences of the mentioned areas. In addition, the department is now much more selective when accepting part time doctoral students. In recent years postdocs have been recruited with the purpose of

5 4 / 10 being drivers for raising the quantity and quality of research. In the interviews this was characterized as becoming a postdoc-driven department. Not that professors do not act as academic leaders, but their leadership is consciously fueled by the younger researchers. Postdocs are also very much involved in attracting external funding. Possibilities to proceed in research careers are quite well organized, but lack a formal tenure track Except for the recent recruitment strategy concerning postdocs the department has a more traditional procedure for career opportunities. There is no formal tenure track system at the department. Some doctoral candidates and postdocs were recruited to projects, but otherwise they have been encouraged to find jobs elsewhere. Researchers have been given possibilities for concentrating on research in some periods. Otherwise all faculty members participate in teaching as well as research; the degree depends on the position. Doctoral candidates teach 1/6 of their time. The panel s evaluation is that these principles have been instrumental for the fact that research publication is not only achieved by professors, but by most of the department faculty, although the self-evaluation report admits that quantity and quality could be improved for some department faculty members. There is a very close connection between research and teaching As mentioned before, there is a very close connection between research and teaching. It is much valued among the department faculty that they can apply their research insight in teaching. The close connection allows the department to use their resources in an effective as well as an efficient way. The gender balance is good The gender balance is so that there are more female than male teachers and researchers. No comments to parental leave issues. 4. Research funding during the evaluation period RATING: Good to Excellent The department has been very successful in the competition for funding The basic internal funding has been increasing during the period (from 2.3mEur to 2.8mEur). The panel assumes that this reflects the increasing research output and possibility a higher number of students. The amount of external funding has decreased from more than 4mEur to slightly above 0.5mEur in This is mainly due to the termination of a large project in operations and supply chain management, but even taking out this project, funding has decreased. Still it is at a high level, and during the interview the panel learned that the department currently has submitted application for around 7 meur. This includes a large international project from the operations and supply management group.

6 5 / 10 The department attempts to bring synergy between external projects and the research areas which also involves making research applications in teams, possibly also in multidisciplinary teams. The aim is often to collect data through an external project and then use that data for writing articles. In some instances the department has been successful in getting an Academy of Finland fund as a follow-up on an externally funded applied project to capitalize on the data collected in prior projects. This strategy will be followed at also in the future since it gives good synergy. The division of national external funding into the different categories is balanced Over the years the department has a well-balanced funding from domestic sources with an increase in funding from the Academy of Finland, but decreasing from TEKES. The present applications have been directed towards different funding sources. Funding from international sources is low at present The operations and supply management group obtained a large internationally funded project earlier which ended in The same group presently has an application of around 5 mio. EURO. Funding from international sources is low at present. 5. Infrastructure during the evaluation period RATING: Not relevant A. Major strengths and weaknesses in the unit s infrastructure Not relevant B. Development of the infrastructure in relation to research needs Not mentioned C. Possible impact of the unit in developing research infrastructures Not possible to evaluate 6. Scientific quality of research during RATING: Excellent The quality of research is very high. The report highlights the research quality in the areas of BtB and service marketing, M&A research, International Entrepreneurship and qualitative case research methodology. These topics represent the best and most cited articles. Researchers have generally published in highly ranked journals as mentioned before. In addition to publications some of the department s researchers have quite high citation records and many have had editor roles in journals and received numerous awards, for example for best papers or reviewers at conferences. This is additional evidence for quality and scientific impact.

7 6 / Publications RATING: Excellent The quantity and quality of international publication is very high The number of A1 journal publications has gone up from 16 to 41 in the same period. A3 book chapters have gone from 7 to 11; total publication activity from 77 to 128. The number of level 2 and 3 international publications has gone up from 10 to 22; level 3 from 1 to 4 with a peak of 7 in This reflects a very good progress in the international orientation and the quality as well as quantity of research output. During the interview we learned that also later years show publications levels like in 2013 with level 3 publications being at 5 and 6. A number of the publications are joint efforts with domestic and foreign colleagues There is a clear progress in the quality of publications 2010 and 2011 have few high quality journals, except for a co-authored article in the very highly ranked Journal of International Business Studies and 2013 have more and much higher ranked publications; including 6 publications in Industrial Marketing Management (rank 3 according to Finnish ranking; definitely a top journal in Europe within BtB marketing). We learned through the interview that recent years prolong the trend of higher quality journals. 8. Doctoral training as part of the scientific activity in the unit RATING: Excellent The department has educated many doctoral students The number of doctoral degrees has gone up from 4 in 2010 to 7 in The average age of candidates is high, median around 35 years. Compared to the number of professors this is a very high number. The number of foreign doctors has gone up from 0 to 1, but intake of foreign students is rising. The present number of full time doctoral students is 23 out of which 1/3 are financed by projects. In addition to these the department has around 15 part time doctoral students, but the policy accepting part time students has been stricter than before. The number has therefore going down. The doctoral training is well organized The doctoral program is offered by TSE and not particularly by the department. Supervision is carried out by the department professors and supported by postdocs. Foreign professors, including a very well-known and skillful visiting professor takes part in supervising some of the students. Doctoral candidates are supported through seminars and personal supervision and guidance. They are participating in international conferences and doctoral colloquia. They are encouraged to make longer visits to foreign universities, but this is not compulsory.

8 7 / Researcher mobility RATING: Good to Excellent The researcher mobility is high and international faculty rising The policy of the department is to increase international mobility. Outgoing mobility for young researchers seems to be good. Five former doctoral candidates now have a career in other countries which is an excellent sign of international mobility. Also the number of shorter and longer visits by foreign researchers is high, and apparently rising. In particular the number of longer visits has been high in 2012 and after, including a 3-year contract with a highly esteemed professor with competences within BtB marketing and International Entrepreneurship. The number of foreign doctoral students and faculty is rising. 10. International co-operation and partners RATING: Sufficient to Good International cooperation is rising Co-operation is seen mainly in smaller projects. Out of 7 listed projects, two are still active. New project applications are typically in collaboration with foreign colleagues. The documented value for research in terms of joint papers with foreign colleagues is sparse in the evaluation period, but rising. This picture is seen generally at TSE, with some exceptions. 11. National co-operation partners RATING: Good Numerous projects with national partners The department has hosted several externally funded projects in which national partners have participated. A number of publications have resulted from these projects. New projects have been applied for; they are now under evaluation. 12. Wide-range impact of research during RATING: Good to Excellent Impact on basic research is high; impact on applied research difficult to measure Impact on basic research is high as has been discussed above. Impact on teaching: Many researchers are involved in emba program. Other contributions are in the area of innovation education (contribution to international handbook) and International Entrepreneurship (international project identifying key skills). Due to the close connection between research and teaching the department s research finding are quickly disseminated.

9 8 / 10 Societal impact is difficult to evaluate. Some examples are mentioned (advertising, selling, logistics, Baltics). The statistical project of the operations and supply chain management group provide output that is used by many stakeholders in society. Researchers from the department have collaborated with international (e.g. the World Bank, EU) as well as national (e.g. ministries) organizations and firms (e.g in the marine sector, manufacturing, energy). Additional types of collaboration with private firms were mentioned during the interview. 13. Innovations RATING: Not relevant No innovations in terms of products can be expected from the department, but different researchers have participated in the examination of internationalization in the food sector, network development in the electricity sector, branding in retailing, and service development. In the REBUS project researchers have weekly meeting with companies, and a couple of young researchers have actively been participating in starting new ventures. 14. Special impact on the national and international scientific community RATING: Excellent The department s research has high impact As mentioned earlier, the department s research is of high quality and highly cited. This demonstrates national as well as international impact. In addition, Table 4 in the selfevaluation report demonstrates quite extensive involvement in evaluation of foreign doctoral defenses and research programs as well as involvement in editorial work in peer-reviewed journals. 15. Research activity plan RATING: Good Basically the plan expresses a continuation of the department s past and present strategy. This is reasonable since it has made possible the very good performance, as outlined in the report. The department aims at becoming one of the leading research departments, but the geographical scope is not mentioned. The plan is to aim at projects that are more international and multidisciplinary which is expected to result in higher quality publications.the selfevaluation report mentions a number of novel openings for new research topics at the department. The main research strategy is to seek discovery and exploration through multidisciplinarily and qualitative empirical methods. This should lead to the launching of new concepts and perspectives. As acknowledged in the self-evaluation report this is a high risk strategy since it is quite impossible to predict if and when such breaking ideas will emerge, and it is challenging to publish multi-disciplinary research.

10 9 / 10 There is no investment plan specifying how future recruitment will be carried out. In fact the self-evaluation report points out that the department has limited recruitment possibilities (including the lack of fully funded doctoral candidates), and at the same time some present faculty members have short term contracts. During the interviews serious concerns about the future were mentioned. Internal, basic funding is expected to go down, and also external funding possibilities are lower. The department therefore fears that the mentioned postdoc driven research strengthening may not be possible in the near future. These conditions indicate up-hill challenges for the future. Since no concrete plans are formulated to cope with these challenges it is difficult to evaluate whether the plan is feasible. It is mentioned that further external funding is needed, but it is also noted that faculty members have low experience with international funding, and national funding possibilities do not seem to become better. It is quite difficult to estimate the potential of this research activity plan for significant new outcomes, scientific breakthroughs, scientific progress in this field, as well as its potential outcomes and impacts. It is also difficult to estimate the planned national and international cooperation and networks in light of the aimed outcomes and impacts as well as the potential of the described strategy for success in competition for funding. GENERAL COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Since we are here evaluating a very successful department we acknowledge the above plan to continue along the present lines. The department has had great success by doing that, and we do not see developments which could completely change the situation. It is a challenge, though, that the department will probably have fewer resources in the future due to internal budget cuts and more fierce competition for external funding. We do have some observations that we hope can be fruitful to contemplate for future development: In times of decreasing resources it may be necessary to concentrate on core competences Rather than seeking novel openings and explore unknown grounds it may be beneficial to concentrate on core research competences if resources become scarce. Such an exploitation strategy may improve chances to achieve external funding as well as produce good quality research and hence publications. Attention to novel openings should not be overlooked, but they are resource requiring and exploration of new grounds may be postponed till times become better. If it is possible to integrate new openings and ideas into existing core competences, however, it may beneficial to pursue them even in times of decreasing resources. Be sure to maintain critical mass in research groups This is in continuation of the first observation, but related to the recruitment that will hopefully still be possible in the future, yet to a limited extent. The department already

11 10 / 10 exhibits academic leadership in the sense that research topics coming from outside the core are critically evaluated. We speculate that this type of leadership will be even more necessary if resources become scarce. In that case newcomers as well as present faculty may be asked to concentrate their research endeavors somewhat. Exploit internal competences in multidisciplinary projects Our impression is that there is already quite a lot of research collaboration going on across research areas within this department: This department also started multidisciplinary seminars between marketing and information systems which could serve as an example to other TSE units. Such multidisciplinary research is highly valued by UTU, and this department may be in the forefront with regard to experiences. This might be even further developed if the department establishes incentives for such collaboration. Become TSE s international spearhead The department is already very international in its mindset. This may be developed more clearly so that it supports the recruitment of researchers also in other TSE departments. This would imply further development of English as working language at the department and eventually TSE. This would also imply more deliberate exploitation of the department s international network.

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