A new academic year was kicked off with a research workshop “Stakeholders and sustainability” in August. Our guest of honour in the workshop was Professor R. Edward Freeman, the world leading scholar in the field of stakeholder theory. On August 18, 2018 Professor Freeman was conferred as an honorary doctor of Faculty of Management, University of Tampere. Read more about the honorary doctors here and the doctor’s hat and sword here - the symbols the doctors received in the ceremony.
Honorary doctor Professor R. Edward Freeman, Johanna and Anna at the doctoral conferment ceremoy
The B2N workshop consisted of six research presentations. During the first half of the day, the focus was on stakeholder engagement and sustainability. The first presentation was given by Pasi Heikkurinen on stakeholders of the Antrophocene. In his presentation, Pasi took a look at the influence us humans have on both human and non-human actors in the Antrophocene - the age of humans. Pasi concluded that in order to create strongly sustainable futures, we need to moderate our interest in technology and stimulate the decline in human population.
In the second presentation Johanna Kujala and the B2N research team addressed the question of nature as a stakeholder and analysed the ways previous literature has argued for and against the stakeholder status of the natural environment. Following the idea of strong sustainability, she argued that nature should be taken seriously in all organisations and that we need to move from anthropocentric to ecocentric premises in our understandings of the relationships with nature.
The third presentation was given by Riikka Tapaninaho and Elisa Lähde. Their study examines the process of creating a wetland in Töölönlahti, Helsinki, as a stakeholder co-operative process. The findings of the study emphasised the stakeholders’ appreciation of being heard during the process and taking the different interest of stakeholders into consideration in the process.
Hanna Lehtimäki presented a co-authored paper with Subhanjan Sengupta on engaging with community stakeholders in India. The paper analyses the stakeholder engagement that social entrepreneurs in India are practicing with their community stakeholders by combining the ideas of Indian sättvika leadership, care-ethics and the literature on social enterprises.
In the afternoon, the workshop continued with the theme of accounting for stakeholders and sustainability. We had two more presentations. First, the presentation of Matias Laine and Eija Vinnari focused on CSR communication in a multi-stakeholder setting. Matias and Eija critically examined the question: to whom organisations are communicating with their CSR disclosures.
The final presentation of the workshop was given by Helen Tregidga. She presented a paper co-authored with Markus Milne and Ian Thomson that focused on construction of science and scientists in a controversial case. In the discussion following this presentation the nature of science was highlighted: science is and should not be value free, as the idea of value free science hinders us from engaging with impactful research.
After the workshop, we enjoyed the Finnish sauna tradition at a smoke sauna venue near Tampere. The sauna was hot, the lake water cold, and the vegan dinner delicious.
Thank you for all participants for making this a productive and enjoyable day! It was a great start for the academic year!
Here are few pictures of some of the seminar presentations.