National strategy for business and economics
Growth, innovation and well-being
A national forum for business and economics
9 November 2010
The evolving, changing world needs trendsetters and trailblazers. Business and economics play a huge role in both cases. New technology alone is not enough, and neither is the knowledge of society, natural sciences, people or the arts. Expertise and research in business and economics produce new innovations and solve problems wherever people meet to provide goods and services, to trade, or to exchange ideas.
There is a clear, growing demand for expertise in business and economics in Finland and throughout the world. As a strong discipline, business and economics play a key role in the promotion of business-related expertise in all sectors of society and among other sciences. This is an important task for business and economics, now and in the future.
In 2008, we launched a process for creating a common strategy for the discipline of business and economics. The result of the process was an increasingly target-oriented culture of co-operation within the discipline to make business and economics work even more effectively than before in order to reach their targets. The strategy is a development tool for universities, faculties and schools of business and economics.
In their own field, business and economics must be able to meet major challenges in order to maintain and reinforce their high scientific standard and valuable social interfaces. Some of these challenges are external trends or events, and some exist within science and its functions. The most important of these themes are:
Internationalisation and international competitiveness
Fundamental change in the economic system
Creation of innovations and growth entrepreneurship
Growing demand for business expertise and its changing nature
These issues will have an impact on the contents of research and teaching, but they also require changes in the culture, procedures and attitudes of the discipline. We must be able to act in co-operation so that the discipline of business and economics, which is geographically relatively widely spread in Finland but often operates in small units offering almost all subjects of business and economics, would be able to meet these challenges. This will be realised through the actions of this strategy, divided into four sectors: research, teaching, activities within universities, and participation in the workings of society.
Universities with teaching and research activities in business and economics are at the centre of the national strategy process for business and economics. In addition, several bodies, including enterprises, students, public institutions and experts in various fields have provided their views for the strategy. We wish to thank all participants to the process: with their contribution, we have been able to pave the way towards a better future for the field. A better future not only for those who take part in the field, but for all those who benefit from business and economics.
Business and economics are promoting science, well-being and responsible growth in Finland and throughout the world.
Business and economics meet the economic challenges of the future by fostering expertise in business and economics and the amount of research it is based on. This can be seen in sustainable innovations, solutions and efficiency that provide added value in Finland and on the global market.
Research – Science and effectiveness for society’s needs with the right resources
The ability and possibilities of faculties in business and economics to produce high-standard and internationally esteemed research are developed in a goal-oriented way
High-standard research activities will always be at the core of business and economics, to develop both the scientific community and society. The national and international scientific effectiveness and potential for top-level research of Finland’s business and economics are developed in a goal-oriented way through the social relevance of research questions, operational preconditions for first-class research, peer review that accounts for the specific characteristics of business and economics, and effective publishing activity. Every faculty and school studying business and economics has its own strengths, which are well known and disseminated so that business and economics are able to operate as an effective network and to create natural research channels in society.
New co-operation models are sought for stronger involvement of the private and third sector in the funding of applied, basic and multidisciplinary research in business and economics
Operating cultures and targets are adapted to the funding bodies and the users of research results. We will seek new operating models to combine the third and private sector’s need for rapidly available research data with long-term, extensive research projects and publication of articles.
Funding from overseas is also increasingly sought in co-operation with other faculties and business schools.
Recruitment of top-level international researchers and teachers and internationalisation of Finnish excellence are invested in
Co-operation models between universities based on profiles and needs are launched in order to be able to recruit top-level international experts both alone and separately and to share out the resulting costs where possible. This will further increase the possibilities of Finnish research to participate in global research activities and internationalisation.
The career development of researchers is promoted in accordance with the international criteria, with time reserved for research
The career development of researchers is invested in to provide them with the opportunity of developing into top-level researchers who meet the international criteria. Means of arranging more time for research activities and international interaction are sought by encouraging more effective time prioritisation of the researchers and by reducing administrative work wherever possible.
Teaching – High level of business studies
Teacher/student ratio to reach an appropriate level
Currently, the number of students per teacher is too high, which makes it difficult to maintain a high standard of teaching. One alternative to maintain quality is to increase the number of teaching staff.
With an appropriate teacher/student ratio, pedagogically advanced methods will be employed in teaching, students and teachers are able to meet in smaller groups, and the dissemination and quality of knowledge is ensured.
Students and studying to move closer to scientific activities from the early stages of the studies
Students are more committed to their studies and the university’s activities when they are involved in the activities of the scientific community from an early stage. By taking part in research projects and their planning, students will have a natural relationship with their own field of science and become familiar with a career in research while getting a clear idea of business and economics as a science.
Study modules to be designed as target-oriented packages with a clear content
Studies in business and economics will be designed as entities, with a focus on the students’ expected level of knowledge at the end of their studies. The contents of courses and teaching methods will be built to serve the overall targets of the degree. This way, once the students have completed their studies, they will have the required contentual knowledge and the necessary generic skills, such as presentation and teamwork skills and the ability for continuous learning and seeking of information.
Attention will also be paid to the fact that the learning modules will be as compatible with international co-operation solutions and accreditation projects as possible.
Universities – Business and economics at the spearhead of the development of universities
Business and economics to function as a channel and forerunner of internationalisation at universities
Business and economics have already excelled in the number of student exchanges in and out of the country. Therefore, it is high time it took bold steps with the quality factors in the exchange periods and increasing their numbers. At the same time, business and economics can function as an example of best practices within universities.
Business and economics take the requirements of internationalisation into account in the aspects, methods and contents of teaching. At the same time, the business and economics faculties, student organisations and the academic community will support the integration of leaving and returning exchange students, overseas degree students and the teaching staff into the scientific community, culture and society already during the exchange period. This way, the preconditions for foreign students to stay in Finland will be boosted further and, on the other hand, the experiences of Finnish exchange students will be utilised in the scientific community.
Business and economics to be top experts and developers of the quality of teaching in universities
Business and economics are further developing their quality control systems in order to function flexibly, while extensively promoting the quality culture. For example, giving feedback, and feedback on feedback, and the consequent reaction are part of the everyday culture, as is the development of working-life relevance and pedagogical skills. This culture and its best practices are promoted within the common forums, research projects, and activities at universities.
Business and economics are ready to pilot new structural development projects in teaching
Business and economics are prepared to broad-mindedly experiment with new models in the organisation of teaching within universities, for example, in the selection of students, a two-tier structure of studies, and co-operation with universities of applied sciences or post-graduate colleges. This means, for example, focusing only on degree studies, selecting students separately for Bachelor’s and Master’s level, or organising shared study contents with universities of applied sciences or continuing education providers.
Funding within universities should take into account the significance of business and economics as a procurer of funding and provider of minor subject teaching, in addition to the total costs of research
Business and economics and business expertise play a key part in the multidisciplinary entity and selection of minor subjects in universities. In addition, business and economics are involved in the development of internal operations and regional input of every university, as well as in fundraising work. These issues must be visible in the systems for distribution of funding within universities and in the comprehension of total research costs in business and economics.
Society – The future of society is based on excellence in business and economics
Business and economics are in the spearhead of the development of productivity, quality and sustainability in public services
Business and economics take on a systematic target of improving the operation of public services and the entire public sector in Finland by offering its research and excellence for its disposal. Various faculties and schools with teaching in business and economics will provide their own specialties while seeking multidisciplinary operating models with other fields.
Business and economics maintain the variety of education and research, which strongly supports growth entrepreneurship in Finland and throughout the world
The supply of education in business and economics, as well as the setting of research problems, will be developed to support both Finnish and global growth entrepreneurship. Research and education in business and economics in basic qualifications and leadership training, support companies in their critical growth stages where an entrepreneur wants to expand its company. This calls for not only teaching and research in business and economics, but also strong co-operation in their fields of know-how and geographical areas.
Business and economics are challenging every sector of society into a debate to develop operations and make scientific results and excellence available
Every university is already collaborating with the local business sector in its own area. A common strategic intent, as well as dissemination and co-ordination of knowledge and expertise, will result in more efficient and tailored interaction with the private, public and third sector, and with the alumni networks of universities. There are many solutions for this co-operation at the school, subject, faculty and university level, and they can be implemented taking the local needs into account. These solutions can also be used for further increasing the labour market relevance of the studies.
Business and economics will be a key export product for Finland in the future
Excellence in business and economics already has a major global market, which the business and economics operating in Finland can engage in. This requires development within legislation, the brand of business and economics, marketing and the operations within business and economics. Finland’s reputation as an innovative and responsible economy supports these operations.
Business and economics offer highest-level management training while implementing the task of lifelong learning
Business and economics have solid participation in the promotion of lifelong learning – each university in its own strength areas – offering wide-ranging additional and continuing education. Business and economics also offer highest-level management training for graduates and people with long experience in working life. This way, the latest scientific research and management learning will be transferred for the use of society and all those who need it. Through management training, business and economics will promote profiling of universities as a provider of socially important expertise in all stages of life. At the same time, training in MBA and eMBA degrees is a vital and functioning business form.
Turning targets into reality
We are now launching the implementation of three action entities to achieve the targets referred to in the strategy:
1. Establishing Association of Business Schools Finland ry
We are establishing the Association of Business Schools Finland (ABS Finland). ABS Finland will operate as a national and international debater, supervisor of interests, researcher, disseminator of best practices, and as a common forum for its members.
The members and decision-makers of the association will be business schools, as well as faculties and departments providing teaching and research in business and economics in Finland. In addition, the most important interest groups in society will be invited as supporting members.
As the implementer of the will and targets of its members, the association will be a natural interlocutor for ministries, field-specific student organisations, the business sector, and generally for all important national and international interest groups and decision-makers. This will not exclude individual social activities by the members of the association.
Measures to establish the association are launched with immediate effect. ABS Finland will start its operations in the first half of 2011.
2. Clarifying the funding for research in business and economics
The role of business and economics as a future player is founded on strong basic and applied research, which is both nationally and internationally recognised top-level research.
We propose that business and economics at the Academy of Finland will be moved out of the Research Council for Culture and Society, and a separate council be established for business and economics. We also propose that the Academy of Finland and Tekes will develop programmes aimed at business and economics on a permanent basis.
3. Making business and economics thinking, science and business expertise to support the public and third sector
We provide expertise in business and economics in aid of decision-making by the public and third sector, to develop the economy, for bodies in science policy, and in support of public projects and studies. Decision-making by the public and third sector is so essential for the future of society that knowledge and expertise in business and economics must be made more available.
In addition to active provision of resources, Business Schools Finland will gather together the latest research, personal expertise and projects in business and economics so that participants in society will have a good knowledge of what business and economics have to offer.