LFC master’s theses of academic year 2020-2021

There has been a year since we last posted updates on our successful graduates and their theses: it is high time to honour all the work by LFC master’s students who graduated during the academic year 2020-2021.

We celebrate the work of 28 graduates who were receiving their master’s qualifications throughout the whole period of 2020-2021 academic year and share the short summaries of their master’s theses.

The theses deal with a rich variety of topics, which addresses – and portrays – the interdisciplinarity of the LFC master’s programme in politics, governance and business studies. The topics of theses include – among others – postcolonising Danish foreign policy activism in the Global South; employee well-being in self-managing organizations; xenophobia and racism in the context of Vox’s Instagram account; customer-centricity of fashion rental companies; EU’s combat against gender violence; wellbeing through self-tracking. Read below the short abstracts of each work with more details on the authors, findings and links to full texts.

The theses below are listed in order of authors’ graduation throughout the academic year 2020-2021.

Pink bush flowers
Photographer: Jonne Renvall

Leni Koskinen’s master’s thesis The Changing International Leadership of the U.S.: Reflections on Trade Diplomacy and Policy aims to answer the question of the understanding of international leadership of the U.S. in the context of their trade policy. The data analyzed are the State of the Union Addresses of the United States presidents, from Kennedy to Trump. The method used to analyze the data is the qualitative content analysis. The findings show that in the context of the U.S. trade policy, the understanding of international leadership is consistent and has a strong basis on the concept of action-based leadership. From Kennedy to Obama, regardless of the political party in charge and from bipolarity to unipolarity the consistency continues. Moreover, the significance of this study is that it provides an understanding of the United States leadership in the World from a different perspective than what is used to in the International Relations: studying international leadership in the context of trade policy is a fresh as well as fascinating angle.

Elina Vikstedt’s master’s thesis Hybridity of Bioeconomy: Institutional Logics Shaping Goals and Performances in Bio-sector Hybrids aims at capturing public, private, and third sector interfaces and institutional complexity of multiorganisational collaboration through the notion of hybridity. The thesis addresses hybridity at two levels. First, the study aims at understanding hybridity and interplay of institutional logics in macro-level by examining bioeconomy as an organizational field. Second, this study also aims at exploring micro-foundations of institutionally complex environments by exploring how institutional logics of different actors’ shape, challenge and enable goal setting and impact performance systems in boundary crossing hybrid arrangements. Empirical context in this study is bioeconomy in Finland. Based on interview results, selective coupling and de-coupling of institutional logics were common approaches when dealing with divergent, sometimes conflicting logics. Moreover, external influence plays a major role in resource-intensive innovation work and steers the way logics interact with each other. Due to the small sample size, these results are not generalizable but offer in-depth insights and potential points of departure for future studies.

Alba Maria Vazquez Lopez’s master’s thesis The EU’s combat against gender violence: Europeanisation, Gender Regimes, and Power focuses on the power the EU has to implement changes as well as on the role of Gender Regimes in European efforts to tackle gender violence. The thesis seeks to describe the extent of Europeanisation in these European efforts on the basis of interviews with actors inside the European Parliament (EP). On the basis of an analysis of the interviews, the thesis describes the limiting or facilitating factors in the EU’s role in combating gender violence as perceived by these actors for change. The thesis details different path dependencies described by the interviewees and shows how they influence the occurrence of Europeanisation together with what is perceived as the lacking power of the EU. The thesis concludes with a suggestion that despite the structural conditions that limit the EU’s power, individual actors – such as actors inside the EP — can make a difference. Furthermore, the thesis describes how Gender Regimes and power partly impact on the EU’s role in fighting gender violence. It shows how the interviewees perceive the EU’s role as simultaneously limiting and facilitating the institution’s fight against gender violence.

Noora Suni’s master’s thesis Wellbeing through self-tracking – Service experience and perceived value analyses and characterises service experiences and perceived value from the consumer perspective in the context of self-tracking platform services. The findings show that consumers’ service experiences are very rich, and they comprise many different components, levels and purposes. Value is experienced through the service experience and the attributes and consequences related to the service, but also through reaching the goals and purposes behind the consumption of the self-tracking platform service. The goals and purposes the participants pursue are mainly related to aiming for a better quality of life or general health, but also, to become a better version of oneself. Finally, it is noted that this research contributes to service experience and perceived value literatures by providing new insights regarding the research phenomenon in the context of technology-based services, more specifically, self-tracking platform services. The findings of this research give many managerial implications for managers in the wellbeing and health technology industry.

Ahmed Aboshanab’s master’s thesis Challenges of asylum seekers in entering Finnish labor market intends to identify challenges that asylum seekers experience while looking for a job in Finland, determine how they attempt to integrate themselves in the Finnish labour market, and explain the role of diversity management in their integration. The study methodology is descriptive cross-sectional design. Qualitative research approach was used, because it allowed the researcher to understand informants’ personal experiences regarding the integration into the Finnish working life. The findings of the study showed that a lot of asylum seekers found it difficult to find jobs in Finland, but there were a few who managed to get odd jobs quickly. It was evident that steps should be taken so that the people coming for asylum should get proper employment according to their qualifications or at least a part-time job so that they can financially support themselves, know more about the Finnish society, get more motivated in learning the language and know more about their opportunities in Finland. Based on these findings of the study, the study recommends that asylum seekers need to get the desired counseling and support from government, companies, as well as locals so that they can become a productive part of the economy.

Anifat Olajumoke Oladipupo’s master’s thesis Women Entrepreneurship and Adaptation to the Industry Transformation : The Case of The Indigenous Textile Industry (Aso-Oke) in Nigeria examines indigenous women’s adaptation to industry transformation using Nigeria as a case study. The empirical findings suggest that the women entrepreneurs under study are going through an adaptation process due to a significant change in ASO-OKE designs, its usage, the consumers and that of the indigenous textile industry in general. Thus, their internal and external environments, as well as their personal motivational traits, play a significant role in their adaptation process. While the challenges the women entrepreneurs face are similar to those identified in previous research, the present study shows that challenges such as deficiency or insufficiency access to proper education, training, and marketing problems are less relevant. However, new challenges such as lack of intellectual property rights protections are predominant in this case. Finally, the study promotes and contributes to the preliminary, background, and existing knowledge on women entrepreneurship in indigenous industries as it provides new insights on how women entrepreneurs adapt their business, how they face new challenges, and how they explore new opportunities during industry transformation. Beyond these contributions, the study proposes a four-dimensional model that helps explain women’s adaptation process in changing industries in developing countries.

Sini Anttila’s master’s thesis There is a responsibility to protect in Yemen: Qualitative Content Analysis of the United Nations Security Council’s approach to the situation in Yemen analyses the approach of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to the ongoing crisis in Yemen during the time period of 2011-2018 with the theoretical framework of human security, which prioritizes the safety of an individual over a state. This thesis seeks to identify measures authorized by the UNSC that belong under the responsibility to protect (R2P) doctrine through qualitative content analysis. This thesis recognizes clear R2P measures that the UNSC has implemented in Yemen in hopes to resolve the conflict, or at least alleviate human suffering. However, it needs also to be acknowledged that due to the complexity of the crisis, its multifaceted nature and the composition of the UNSC, the crisis in Yemen is a very difficult one to resolve: such crises require an immense amount of political will locally, regionally and internationally.

Leyla Yacine’s master’s thesis Employees-as-customers: Coupling the employee value proposition and millennials’ experience in the construction of the internal brand explores how the employees-as-customers (EAC) approach to human resource management (HRM) can help an organization to better its offering for millennial employees. The abductive research design conflated literature from the HRM, internal marketing and service design fields to build the empirical framework for the case company, Hilti. This study contributes to research on EVP, internal branding and employee experience. It integrates the means-end chain model adapted to employer brand choice with customer models of value creation to understand how the EAC view can be adopted in the world of HRM and pave the way towards employee experience co-creation by the employer and their employees. It brought in new information as regards to 1) theory on EVP and its construction, internal branding, and the EAC paradigm; 2) the definition and construction of the internal brand; 3) the suitability of two models of customer value creation to evaluate employee experience; 4) and, the co-creation of employee experience at an organizational level, condensed into a framework. Finally, this study underscores the relevance, suitability and significant role of the EAC view to HRM in organizations willing to attract, satisfy and retain their workforce and, thus, thrive now and in the future.

Jekaterina Stukane’s master’s thesis The role of political trust in explaining naturalisation of non-citizens in Latvia studies the connection between political trust and the process of naturalisation of non-citizens in Latvia. First, the thesis details the historical background of the emergence of non-citizen status in Latvia. Second, it addresses the rights of citizens and non-citizens in Latvia, and third, examines the potential impact of political trust on non-citizens’ motivation to naturalise. The role of political trust in non-citizens’ motivation to naturalise is examined through qualitative interviews. While the empirical analysis did not establish grounds for strong claims, the argument about a connection between political trust and non-citizen naturalisation seems plausible. This research provides deeper qualitative insights on the role that non-citizens’ attitudes towards public and political institutions play in their motivation to naturalise i.e. obtain full citizenship rights in their home countries.

Maria Toivanen’s master’s thesis Bringing fashion renting to the mainstream: Customer-centricity of fashion rental companies explores how fashion rental companies accommodate to consumers’ value creation through their service models. To understand how consumers experience value whilst using rental services, a netnography of 20 YouTube videos and blog articles is carried out. These findings form the discussion points for semi-structured interviews with six Nordic fashion rental companies, operating both physically and online. This study finds that consumers experience value within the affective and psychological spaces of their lifeworld, meaning that a lot of the aspects that brought value and retracted it in the renting experience had to do with emotions, opinions, concerns, and fears of consumers. Clothing rental stores focus on accommodating to these value creators and destructors through considerate selection of clothing, providing experiences and guaranteeing ease of service. The study contributes to the fashion industry’s sustainable transition by helping fashion rental companies to be customer-centric and thus, more attractive to the mainstream.

Vilma Perttula’s master’s thesis Integrating emotional intelligence to strategic HRM: Case Lindström is a qualitative single case study that aims to answer how HR can develop their practices to advance the integration of EI to the HR strategy from managers’ point of view. The case company for this study was Lindström Oy, a Finnish family-owned textile rental company with 1700 employees in Finland. The key findings of this study are that in order to advance the integration of EI to HR strategy from managers’ point of view, HR should develop their communication and the IT infrastructure and develop a more strategic role in the managers’ work. This study makes theoretical contributions in the field of SHRM and sustainable human resource management. Managerial implications of this study include practical suggestions for the integration process of emotional intelligence to HR strategy and training planning. Finally, this study provides suggestions for similar future studies with different employee or manager groups.

Mariana Dieste Martinez’s master’s thesis Corporate Social Responsibility: Towards Clean Revenue and Financial Outperformance examines the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Financial Performance (CFP) through the evidence of front-runner sustainable firms, listed in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World Index by Corporate Knights. The study uses clean revenue percentage and overall sustainability score as measures of Corporate Social Responsibility. To measure Corporate Financial Performance, accounting-based measures ROA, ROE, EBIT and EBITDA, and market-based measure Tobin’s Q are used. The research sample was analyzed using regression analysis in order to test if the clean revenue percentage and the overall sustainability score affect corporate financial performance. The findings of this thesis suggest that the clean revenue percentage is positively associated with ROA and ROE and that the overall sustainability score does not have a statistically significant relation to accounting- or market-based measures of corporate financial performance. The findings indicate that those firms that have high shares of revenue from clean goods and services are utilising their assets and the capital that their shareholders have invested better than similar firms with lower clean revenue percentages.

Alberto Monroy Trujillo’s master’s thesis The symbiotic relationship between hate speech and populism; a study of xenophobia and racism in the context of Vox’s Instagram account looks carefully into the concepts of hate speech and populism to find a working definition and, after doing so, applies it to an empirical case: the Canarian migration crisis of November 2020. In that direction, the Dark Side of Social Media Framework was utilised to find possible patterns in the Spanish far-right party Vox’s communication strategy. The findings point out that there is a total interrelation, a symbiotic relationship between hate speech and populism in Vox’s social media behaviour during the studied period. The recent bans coming from platforms such as Facebook or Twitter are starting to constitute a precedent of forced regulation of freedom of expression. Further research in this area should examine the evolution of hate speech and populism’s utilisation and the possible impact on the next generations as they represent our societies’ future.

Tatiana Smirnova’s master’s thesis United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism and Russia Directives and Practices Concerning Supporting Victims of Terrorism analyses how Russian practices in support of victims of terrorism correlate with UN Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) practices. The author scrutinizes Russian laws, analyzes media materials concerning situations with victims in Russia, interviews people and provides cases about requests for support from victims of terrorism in Russia. In the thesis, the author also studies existing practices of support provided by UN and Member States, presents as examples the counter terrorism practices in the field of supporting victims in France, Spain, the Council of Europe. The author concludes that Russia has not developed a proper standard mechanism regarding victims of terrorism yet and Russian practices do not fully correlate with the practices of the UN. One of the novelties is about contribution to knowledge of current necessity in assistance the victims and to promote international solidarity in support of them, contribution to not only the improvement of support mechanism in Russia but raise awareness of problem of supporting victims of terrorism locally and globally.

Daria Zotova’s master’s thesis Russia’s role in international climate change agenda in the XXI century describes Russia’s role in international climate change agenda. The hypothesis is that the Russian Federation plays a role of agenda accepter due to Russian elites’ focus on national economic development interests that do not imply readiness to switch to a more environmentally-friendly production and policies. The thesis analyses Russia’s climate change policy through analysis of the main strategic documents in the field. The author comes to the conclusion that economic incentives, as well as considerations about Russia’s reputation in international arena have been the main factors driving Russia’s climate change policy. By describing evolution of the country’s domestic climate policy and comparing domestic documents to international climate agreements, the author demonstrated that Russia sees its role in climate change politics based on its self-interpretation as a great power.

Marc Wolsztynski’s master’s thesis “It brings money to me in situations where I thought I had none” : Meanings of mobile payment methods among millennials in Germany uncovers meanings that millennial consumers in Germany associate with mobile payment methods, as well as finding out in which ways mobile payment providers can market their services more successfully. To achieve this, I adopted a social-constructionist approach and conducted qualitative interviews using the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET), a procedure that explores both conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings by exploring people’s symbolic and metaphorical expressions. The findings are concentrated into a consensus map showing all meanings and the most important sub-meanings. Furthermore, this research found an overall theme, which is ‘Leading a (payment) revolution’ because most participants see this as an important objective of their usage and encourage others to use mobile payment methods as well to drive digitalization and mobile services forward.

Emma Saramäki’s master’s thesis Value Creation In The Green Roof Business With And For Stakeholders is a qualitative study, which purpose is to discover how stakeholders perceive stakeholder value creation in the field of green roof business based on their own experiences from different green roof projects and collaboration with other stakeholders. As a conclusion several notions were made. In the beginning of each green roof project, an extensive stakeholder analysis is desirable to ensuring the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders. Green roof business can deliver multidimensional values and thereby serve several stakeholders simultaneously. Having shared interests and effort in the green roof business enables the stakeholder cooperation to reach transformational stage and create stakeholder synergy.

Eliisa Nissi’s master’s thesis Employee Well-Being in Self-Managing Organizations aims to examine how the characteristics of self-managing organizations influence the experienced employee well-being by adopting a comprehensive perspective on how employee well-being is formed in organizations. The findings are categorized under five themes, derived from the theory of comprehensive employee well-being perspective, which consists of factors influencing employee well-being in organizations. The themes are the organization, leadership, work community, work, and individual factors. To briefly summarize the results, several characteristics of self-managing organizations are identified to positively influence the experienced employee well-being regarding each of the themes. However, some characteristics also cause challenges and adverse impacts on the experienced employee well-being.

Nikita Pliusnin’s master’s thesis Postcolonising Danish Foreign Policy Activism in the Global South: Cases of Ghana, India and the US Virgin Islands investigates how the Danish colonial past (or rather the interpretations of the past by the Danish authorities) in the Global South influences modern Danish foreign policy in Ghana, India and US Virgin Islands (the USVI) (on the present-day territories of which Danish colonies were once situated). It is found out that the Danish colonial past is interpreted as an ambiguous part of Danish presence in other countries’ histories, consisting of both “bright” and “dark” elements. While “dark” elements (slavery, brutality and power inequality) are ‘othered’ and marginalised, “bright” elements (shared cultural heritage) are used to legitimise further cooperation under Danish conditions. By splitting its colonial experience into pieces, the Danish ‘Self’ liberates itself from the nightmares of the past, whereas the burden of dealing with them is laid on ‘Exceptional Others’ – the USVI, Ghana and India.

Elizaveta Velichko’s master’s thesis Opinions of right-wing and left-wing mass-media on the policy of the Kingdom of Sweden in the field of arms trade (based on materials from Dagens Nyheter and Aftonbladet) identifies differences in coverage of the topic of arms exports in newspapers with different political pressures. Through content analysis, this study highlights the salient features of Swedish arms exports from two of Sweden’s largest newspapers, Aftonbladet and Dagens Nyheter. This study contributes to the existing knowledge about the role of the media in Swedish society, as well as expands knowledge about the peculiarities of coverage of controversial political topics in Swedish newspapers of different orientations.

Anastasiia Chaikina’s master’s thesis Indigenous peoples of the Barents Euro-Arctic region: national and international aspects examines the correlation between the sovereign interests of states and the interests of indigenous communities in the Barents Euro-Arctic region. The research provides a broad analysis of international and national legislation in order to illustrate the desire of states to maintain their own sovereignty. The thesis confirms the need to recognize the Karelians as the indigenous people of the Barents region and to include representatives of the Karelians in the permanent members of the Working group of indigenous people of the Barents Euro-Arctic region (WGIP). However, the nominal status of “indigenous people” and representation in the WGIP without real action will not solve the existing problems. The successful development of the indigenous people depends on joint concerted actions, both on the part of international institutions and on the part of the people themselves and the state in whose territory they live. The study further showed the need to revise the criteria according to which indigenous peoples are eligible to become permanent members of the WGIP.

Fatema Tuz Zohra Aney’s master’s thesis SMEs alternative financing using P2P lending platform aims to focus on how peer-to-peer (P2P) lending can help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to get the required finance. Qualitative research method was applied in this paper to collect data from semi-structured interview. The analysis concedes about the financial problem of SMEs. Mostly, along with other obstacles, information asymmetry issue caused majority of the constraints in SMEs financing. However, P2P lending has great potential to mitigate the ongoing financial problems of SMEs. Though, P2P are facing troubles due to collateral free loan, high interest rate and poor credit assessment tool. Furthermore, analysis proposed to ensure the healthy growth and development of SMEs, P2P lending is essential. P2P lending, with the technological adoption, may mitigate the ongoing roadblocks in SMEs financing.

Khalil Mozaffari’s master’s thesis Identity Work and the Reconstruction of Identities Among Humanitarian-Based Immigrants in Finland explores and examines how refugees construct and reconstruct their identities at the intersection of personal, organizational, and social life through conducting identity work. Furthermore, the study aims to understand the ways in which their identities can impact their acculturation and inclusion in Finnish organizations. The thesis yields a novel insight by incorporating acculturation and inclusion into identity work research. The informants in this study constantly were involved in the process of identity reconstruction through internal self-dialogue by evaluating their own identity with the identity of others. Furthermore, immigrants constantly negotiated to reconstruct their sense of ‘selves’ within themselves and organizations: the author defines it as ‘inner self-border identity’, which reveals what kinds of ‘Musts’ and ‘Nots’ individuals hold within the core aspects of their identities and how they are executed in the organizations.

Mariia Pimenova’s master’s thesis The “rysskräck” phenomenon in Sweden: from Perestroika till its current state examines a specific phenomenon in Russian-Swedish relations – rysskräck (Russo-fear), and the form in which it exists nowadays due to the changes it has undergone over the past 40 years. The main methodological basis for such conclusions was a multi-method approach, which includes a survey, quantitative and qualitative content analysis, and discourse analysis. According to the results of the survey, the author concludes that the rysskräck phenomenon is split into “fear of the state” (Russia) and fear of the people (Russians), where the former plays the greatest role, and the latter has practically ceased to exist. The results obtained make it possible to clarify ideas about the current problems of Russian-Swedish relations, create a contextual basis for developing directions for their improvement.

Ekaterina Shestakova’s master’s thesis International cooperation in higher education: a case of Petrozavodsk State University and the University of Eastern Finland  studies the phenomena of internationalization of higher education on the example of educational cooperation of Petrozavodsk State University (The Russian Federation) with the University of Eastern Finland (Finland). Since mutual interest in interuniversity cooperation is gradually declining, the study seeks to define the main challenges of educational cooperation. It reveals that the majority of challenges (dominance of one-way student academic mobility because of lack of courses taught in English, poor foreign language skills of students and university staff, poor development of distant learning opportunities, lack of young teaching staff, etc.) are of internal nature which means that intra-university changes could contribute to the transition of cooperation to a qualitatively new level of development. Therefore, the author of the study recommends PetrSU to pay more attention to internal internationalization in order to overcome the challenges of the ‘internationalization abroad’ and, consequently, to improve international cooperation with the University of Eastern Finland.

Anastasiia Lazarevich’s master’s thesis Sports diplomacy of Norway and Finland: a comparative analysis compares the sports diplomacy of Norway and Finland. The research problem is approached with a complex of complementary research methods: comparative analysis, interviews and analysis of the national and international documents on sports policies. The results of this research suggest that countries do not have specific documents and institutions in the field of sports diplomacy. Finland recognizes sports as part of nation brand, and therefore can also use sports to promote its image and values. Norway sees the potential of sports diplomacy as the way to represent the country in international competitions and therefore draw attention to it. Norway can also use the benefits of sports diplomacy to secure its established role as a third-party mediator in international conflicts and expands the pool of possible tools for conflict resolution.

Roosa Purmonen’s master’s thesis Knowledge sharing between the non-profit sector and the for-profit sector: A case study of a food bank and its donors investigates the drivers and barriers of knowledge sharing at the individual, intra-organizational, and inter-organizational levels between the non-profit sector and the for-profit sector. The focus lies in one specific organization – Tampere Lutheran Parishes food bank and its donor organizations. The findings show that drivers of knowledge sharing are related to an individual’s understanding of their own role, motivation, and reasons to donate. At the organizational level, the practices that support knowledge sharing in organizations and at the intra-organizational level, a well-established and jointly defined donation process was found to be a driver. Barriers are identified to be individual’s lack of understanding of their own responsibilities in knowledge sharing, information breaks within the organization, and how lack of understanding of the food bank operations reduces motivation. Ambiguities in the inter-organizational collaboration were found to be a barrier to knowledge sharing.

Esa-Matti Kyllönen’s master’s thesis is titled Basic Income in Finnish political party platforms. The author has not given permission to publish the thesis online, but the full text can be read at the thesis point at Tampere University Library.

 

This blog post was created by Iuliia Gataulina (iuliia.gataulina@tuni.fi), a substitute for an academic coordinator position in the academic year of 2021-2022.