No 4 (2014) Abstracts

The theme for the year’s last UAS Journal, ’new work and a new world of work’, inspired article submissions from a large number of staff and researchers from universities of applied sciences. As thematic editors we are faced with a pleasant yet difficult task – how to choose from among this range of high-quality articles those which will be published in this themed issue. We decided to select texts based around three central questions so that the reforming of the world of work is examined in this issue from the three perspectives of university management, pedagogical development and agile experimentation, and strengthening the impact of universities of applied sciences. Theses viewpoints all have in common the consideration of competencies, the important place of dialogue and encounter, and diversity in society, communities, and operating environments. These viewpoints are also united by the importance of resilience: a skill-set involving an organisational elasticity, adaptability and flexibility which is increasingly important in the world of work, as is explained in the journal’s leading article which lays a foundation for what follows.

At the centre of the examination of university management is a vision of an ongoing renewal of knowledge and skills which is fit to purpose and flows from the organisation itself. A key part of the skills base for good university management is the ability to make the right strategic choices, as well as the ability to turn theses choices into concrete measures for action. The reforming of management is described by detailing the practical development work of three different universities of applied sciences. In these examples good university management is characterises by clear policies, efficient use of resources and bold experimentation – by working together good results are achieved.

The section on pedagogical development and agile experimentation begins with two pieces which examine innovation activities. The articles provide an insightful examination of two keys to success: employee participation in innovation activities and close cooperation between universities of applied sciences and actors from the world of work. The importance of management is stressed from this viewpoint as well; successful innovation activities require a functioning dialogue between the management and employees, as well as a sufficiently flat and flexible work hierarchy. The examination of pedagogical development and agile experimentation continues with three case studies from different contexts, and then finishes with a description of facilitation work – the importance of designing and implementing an inspiring and participatory group process is emphasised even more than before.

There was a desire to give space in this edition particularly to the issue of strengthening the impact of universities of applied sciences which offer master’s programmes: this viewpoint is examined in ten different articles. In the context of discussions about the dual university model, the development of master’s degrees and improvements in qualification relevance for the world of work are particularly timely challenges for all universities of applied sciences – for this reason we emphasised this topic in particular. The section begins with three articles on diversity, in which the importance of skills for handling diversity – something which is more and more in demand in our rapidly changing society – is examined from a slightly different angle. The section continues with five presentations of different development processes where cooperation has led to good results. In terms of impact, consideration is also made of how a masters degree from a university of applied sciences affects career development and earning levels. The section ends with one of our cooperative partners offering their insightful reflections on the values of the next generation – the article gives all of us pause for thought on the role of generation Y as a central agent for change in the world of work.

We wish you many good and inspiring reading moments – the world of work is being renewed, let us all be renewed as well!

Thematic editors Liisa Timonen (Karelia University of Applied Sciences) and Erja Turunen (Metropolia University of Applied Sciences)


Peer-reviewed Articles

Qualitative anticipation of a multidisciplinary and multiprofessional future

Marjo Kolkka, Principal Lecturer, RDI, Ph.D., M.Soc.Sc., Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
Päivi Vuokila-Oikkonen, Principal Lecturer, RDI, D. Sc. (Health Care), work counsellor, workplace developer, reteaming coach, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences

The article is based on the results of a qualitative joint project (1st September 2012–31st October 2013) in the sectors of rehabilitation, sport studies, social work and health care, carried out in co-operation by Diaconia University of Applied Sciences and Finnish National Board of Education, concerning the future multi-professional and -disciplinary competences.

The research project was based on Soft System Methodology which formed a flexible research framework for understanding a complex phenomenon. Topical trends changing the world are behind the complexity, such as globalization, ageing of the population, multiculturalism and digitalization. The data was collected by focus group interviews. As a result of the analysis, alternative future scenarios were formed. On the basis of those, the scenario of the desirable future was formed, and the preconditions for its materialization were contemplated.

Working holistically in multi-professional and -disciplinary work turned out to be an important taking-off point. It requires that professionals recognize and can use, in addition to the expertise of other professionals, the expertise of the client and his/her significant others. It is also necessary to utilize digital possibilities.

The aim and requisite of the multi-professional and -disciplinary co-operation is client initiative and the strengthening of participation. The interaction is, at its best, a dialogue. From the viewpoint of multi-professional and -disciplinary work, it opens up a possibility for a new kind of service conceptualization and the dialectic development of competence. This requires learning which is cooperative and crosses professional boundaries, generating competence at interfaces and for working together. It means that learning and studying take place in joint projects. Furthermore training takes place together with students, teachers and professionals in practice.

Students’ perception of social media news patterns – An international study into the use and value and the cultural and ethical implications

Merja Drake, Principal Lecturer, Ph.D, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

During the past decades the media landscape has changed at an accelerating pace. One of the greatest influences has been the invention of the Internet, and more recently the social media. The news media have been using more and more interactive elements and social media in their news services.

Fifteen years ago it was already known that online media can offer interactivity, multimedia stories, news feeds and large online audiences (Chyi & Sylvie 2000), but no one was able to foresee the impact of social media nor the rise of mobility. According to Mitchell & Rosenthiel (2012) mobility and social media are fundamentally challenging the future of the American news. In 2011 online audiences grew while print circulations simultaneously declined dramatically. The trend is the same within Europe. Print news is not popular and young people are unwilling to pay for news online (Thurman & Myllylahti 2009).

Social media can be described as a concept or model that includes participation, networking and information sharing, user generated content as well as innovating and spending time together. (Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre 2011; Aunesluoma, Majava & Wilenius 2010; Kaplan & Haenlein 2010; Kim, Jeong & Lee 2010; Boyd & Ellison 2008; Castells 2007; Lietsala & Sirkkunen 2008.) The development described above has brought many interesting changes into the ways social media is consumed and used. The purpose of this study was to describe the chain from news media to young people in a variety of countries and to forecast how social media is impacting media usage.

The research questions were: 1. What are the social media patterns used by news media and what purpose do they serve? 2. How do the young people value these patterns? 3. What kind of cultural and ethical differences can be distinguished? The primary question was: what implications might the consumption patterns have for the future of news media?

The research method that was used to collect the required data was the theory of patterns and pattern languages (Alexander 1979; Schuler 2008). The social media patterns used in this study were: (1) connect, (2) share, (3) post, (4) comment, (5) discuss, (6) create and (7) vote. The research data of this study was qualitative.

The research was done in co-operation with the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (Finland), The NHL University of Applied Sciences and The Twente University (The Netherlands)

In this study, Deuze’s (2003) theory about open and closed journalistic culture was used to analyze the journalistic culture of news sites.

Overall the students said that they read the news if the content is important, interesting and has been shared many times. Otherwise social media is for their own purposes like connecting with each other.
The results were surprisingly similar even though reading habits and media culture vary in different countries.

From the viewpoint of news media business models, the findings are depressing. It doesn’t matter how news are spread as young people are not very interested in reading the news. Some students even admitted that they don’t follow the news at all.


Change management at a university of applied sciences

Terhi Laine, Director, D.Soc.Sc, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
Saija Korppi-Tommola, Finance Director, M.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Admin.), Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki
Irma Garam, Research Manager, M.A., Cimo
Anna Stina Sinisalo, Project Coordinator, M.A., Aalto University

The article describes the organisational change at Diak through contributing factors to successful change management. Successful change requires the following factors: defining the need for change, creating a shared vision, securing the capacity to change, adopting the first measures succesfully and anchoring theory to practice. Diaconia University of Applied Sciences adopted an organisation based on areas of expertise in 2013. The new organisation helped Diak’s operations correspond better to realities at work, as regional development work now has the entire knowledge potential of the organisation at its disposal. The success of the organisational change has been monitored through regular mid-term reviews.

Knowledge through doing at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

Katri Takala, Principal Lecturer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences 

With its new strategy, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KUAS) sets as its goal to become ”the most proactive university in Finland” by emphasising cross-disciplinary cooperation. Knowledge through doing – the pedagogical method used at KUAS – supports, for its part, the implementation of the strategy, as it unifies the views of teachers and other personnel on learning and teaching with those of students and other stakeholders. The conception of learning at KUAS is based on socio-constructivist conception of learning. Knowledge comes from working together: individuals participate in shared problems through tasks and discuss them. This is emphasised especially at the phase where skills are used and learned theory is applied. Teaching is teamwork and teachers serve as activators, with the students taking responsibility for their own learning. Learning environments are used in a versatile manner, and they enable collaboration between students from different fields. In addition, the strengthening of Proactive Management Team activities supports the goals of the ”the most proactive university in Finland”.

Employee-oriented innovation activities promote development of the world of work

Merja Sankelo, Researcher, Principal Lecturer, Doctor of Science (Health Care), Docent, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences

There is a need to add the participation of employees in development and innovation activities in working life as part of working life reform. This is not possible without changing the management and leadership culture and practices. The employee-driven innovation and the leadership of it is the main focus in this paper. One case example from the area of health care is also presented in which a new leadership model was created as a result of action research process.

InnoStart – Students innovating solutions for company originated challenges across study fields

Outi Sutinen, Senior lecturer in international business, Oulu University of Applied Sciences

Universities of applied sciences face the challenge to develope students abilities to fit changing needs of working life. Strict borders between study fields have to be broken and cooperation across disciplines is needed more than ever before. One example of boundary breaking cooperation is InnoStart happening that was introduced in 2010 in Oulu University of Applied Sciences School of business and information management.

In InnoStart 350 business, information technology and library students are gathered together for a day in order to solve innovation challenges given by commissioners. Both international and Finnish teams participate in this competition and practice innovating and cooperation in multi-disciplinary teams. Fitting different perspectives and point of views together creates a real learning challenge for students. In order to succeed in this students are trained beforehand to use innovation and idea generation methods that underline that all the groups assets should be engaged towards common goal. The aim is to maximize the innovation capacity of the group in a limited timeline.

By far InnoStart has produced innovations that have ended to real products and thus the challenge to contribute to the local business life has been met. Students have been developing for example smart tourism solutions and new ideas to make Oulu more attractive city from the international customer’s perspective. Furthermore marketing materials for Lappset group as well as for Oulu city library have been created. Even new ideas for Angry Birds playgrounds and parks have been created.

FUTURE WORK AND LEARNING: collaboration between universities, border cooperation, and business and industry – ”From Borders to Shared Space”

Annica Isacsson, Research Manager, HAAGA -HELIA University of Applied Sciences
Ohto Rainio, Senior Lecturer, HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences, Degree Programme in Data Processing
Virve Vainio, Senior Lecturer, HAAGA-HELIA School Vocational Teacher Education
Marina Karlqvist, Senior Lecturer, HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences, Porvoo Unit
Jukka Juslin, Senior Lecturer, HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences, Degree Programme in Data Processing

In BOSS – From Borders to Shared Space, a Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture –funded project, we are implementing four pilots aiming at enhancing work, working life and pedagogics through border collaboration. The first pilot is targeted at teaching coding by collecting data over borders from specialists applying crowdsourcing. The second pilot is related to Youth Guarantee in which companies, youth, counsellors and vocational schools are collaborating over borders for employment and study purposes. The third pilot is targeted at developing games, jointly with Tallin University. The fourth pilot is implemented at HAAGA-HELIA Porvoo Campus jointly with a Finnish food company, the University of Skövde, and Finnish and Swedish students/lecturers, aiming at knowledge and strategic RDI-alliances.

Changing customer behavior requires new practices in leading and delivering customer service

Sanna-Mari Renfors, Senior Lecturer, Ph.D., Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

Delivering excellent customer service requires an increasing degree of professionalism from both managers and customer-service employees to meet customer needs. Service organizations that will be successful in the future focus on the skills and capabilities of their customer-service employees and support them through active leadership. However, customer-service employee is nowadays “caught-in-the-middle” of the customer demanding service quality and the organization demanding productivity. Thus, service organizations should be able to find new leadership practices for improving the performance of customer service employees.

Healthcare logistician – New profession, new education

Ulla Kotonen, Development Manager, DSc (Econ & Bus. Adm.), FUAS – Federation of Universities of Applied Sciences
Ullamari Tuominen, Lecturer, Project Manager, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Miika Kuusisto, Lecturer, Project Manager, Lahti University of Applied Sciences

This article describes the new profession of healthcare logistician, the competence requirements of the profession and the education required for it. The essential idea behind the concept of healthcare logistician is to free traditional healthcare personnel of the need to conduct logistics operations, enabling them to have more time for patients. A healthcare logistician is a logistics professional who also understands the everyday life of nursing and speaks the same professional language as the nursing staff. Working in the demanding healthcare environment and supporting healthcare professionals in their work requires a new type of combination of logistics and social and healthcare competencies, skills and knowledge, which can be acquired through specialised education.

Flexible activities through facilitated events

Marjaana Koivula, Specialist (HRD), Master of Education, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

This article deals with facilitation and looks into the development path of the facilitator as well as discusses the meaning of facilitation as a tool for agility in the UAS world. Hopefully this article encourages readers to experiment with facilitation in their own work. When facilitating, the facilitator has a responsibility of the process and the participants of the content. Facilitation helps cross divisions and creates collective goals in a flexibile way at work. Teams and groups benefit from facilitators, when there is a need to change direction and ways of working. The facilitation process helps participants commit to the collective goal.

Could diversity management be a new key skill at work?

Liisa Timonen, Education and Development Manager, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Kari Jaatinen, Senior Lecturer, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences
Taina Lehtonen, Master’s degree student, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
Sinikka Pesonen, Senior Lecturer, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences
Anne-Mari Raivio, Senior Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Today’s rapid social changes are also reflected on the working life. Being able to manage an increasingly diverse workforce has become more and more important, requiring new skills and competencies from all of us. Therefore, we have chosen diversity management as our focus area in a nationwide project which aims at increasing the RDI impact of Master’s education at Finnish universities of applied sciences. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Our objective is to identify what diversity is in the first place and how the Master’s students currently understand and define it. In addition, we seek to find out how diversity is and should be managed and turned into a productive resource in organisations and work communities, as well as how diversity management could be better included in the curricula of the Master’s education at universities of applied sciences. This development work is done in close co-operation with the working life.

Could managing diversity be the key to developing RDI expertise?

Helena Kangastie, Master of Science (Health Care), Coordinator of Education Development, mentor, RDI expert coaching project, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Sirkka Saranki-Rantakokko, Master of Science (Health Care), Doctor of Administrative Sciences, Coordinator, RDI expert coaching project, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Different times have seen various solutions to questions concerning leadership. Lately, diversity of leadership and leadership of diversity have emerged in discussion on the topic. This article discusses diversity leadership as an enabler of learning and development in mentoring taking place in RDI expert coaching. Diversity leadership refers to making use of and valuing the differences between individuals in organisations, networks and related leadership.

The leadership of diversity manifests in functions which the mentor uses to guide the competence created in the coaching programme, combines to the strategic objectives of his or her university of applied sciences and relays work on it to work communities. In his or her position as a mentor, the individual recognises the various patterns of thought and action influencing commitment, discussion on new competence, the varying levels of maturity of networks and the meaningfulness to the organisation of the use of the resources of the person being coached. Encountering various situations helps the mentor to become aware of the diversity of his or her work. Being aware of diversity, and the leadership of diversity, may be keys to relaying new competence to the RDI activities of universities of applied sciences. However, diversity leadership in RDI expert coaching requires more research.

Diversity expertise as a precondition for flexible development

Anja Liimatainen, Principal Lecturer , Licentiate of Science (Health Care), Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
Eija Tyyskä, Senior Lecturer, Master of Science (Health Care), Saimaa University of Applied Sciences 

The preconditions of successful plan and implementation of the professional continuing education are the needs of working life and common intent. Educational tasks are divided with the members of working life, postgraduate students and teachers as their advisers with own substance competencies. Students take advantage of the project theory to support the structure of the function. In this case research-based approach to development occurs in the evaluation of the content and implementation of the current education. This case study has led to the educational productionisation of Assessment skills of nursing.

A Map Model for Learning Paths

Heli Ahonen, Developer, Ph.D., Kehittämisyhtiö Toimiva Oy
Kaija Kekäläinen, Senior Lecturer, Occupational therapist (UAS Master’s degree), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Elisa Mäkinen, Principal Lecturer, Ph.D., Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Anne Rahikka, Senior Lecturer, Doctor of Social Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Salla Sipari, Principal Lecturer, Ph.D., Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Working life is becoming more diversified. People are working longer and the mobility of labor force and the amount of supported working increase. Meanwhile the significance of individuality and equality should be emphasized. How can the tools for management be updated to meet the needs of identifying and acknowledging diversity know-how and skilled management at the working community?

This article describes a map for common planning of rehabilitation know-how. The map is a conceptual model of building dynamic know-how in rehabilitation. This model is used at Master’s Degree Programme in Rehabilitation at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences to construct and evaluate students’ individual learning paths. Metropolia and Development Company Toimiva are co-developing tools for diversity management of rehabilitation know-how.

This article is part of nationwide project, which aims at increasing the RDI impact of Master’s education at Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture (2013–2015).

Developing the thesis process in higher UAS training

Arja Hemminki, Senior Lecturer, Doctor of Social Sciences, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences

In this article the point is to describe experiences of social- and health sector´s master levels students about the process of diploma work and their views on how to develop this process. From a group of 20 students, 16 answered to 10 questions. Their process of diploma work still continues. They told that the process of diploma work in Seinäjoki University of applied sciences was well organized and fluent. They got a lot of support from teachers and other students. The process of diploma work was highly integrated to other studies, which they felt was a good idea. Theory and practice were studied together.

The subject of diploma work was often found by students from their own interests or the development needs of the student’s working place. Only two of the students made their diploma work for another organization. The support that the students got from the working place, a leader of the organization or from co-workers was not adequate. Students hoped that the co-operation with the working place would be more systematical, for example by making an agreement about the diploma work process and diploma work´s presentation and how to use the results of the diploma work. Meetings of teachers, students and representatives of working place could be a solution to this problem. Students also saw doing diploma work in SeAMK´s projects as a good alternative, if the timetable and subject of the project were suitable for them. Part of the students would like to do their diploma work as a scientific article, although they would need to get information about this alternative already in the beginning of studies.

Student as a Developer of Operation at the Immigrant’s Affairs Services

Sinikka Viinikka, Senior Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Jouni Röntynen, Acting service supervisor, Bachelor of Business Administration (UAS Master’s degree), City of Oulu

An immigration office employee’s Master’s studies at Oulu University of Applied Sciences created an opportunity to develop the processes at the immigration services office. The objective of the thesis was to define the core tasks of the customer processes in cooperation with a team of professionals representing different fields of specialization. A form was built for recording the core tasks in the existing YPH Effica information system. All the core tasks they do in the team are now recorded into the system. Now they get information that can be used in developing their work. The employees are now engaged to develop their own procedures.

Interdisciplinary expertise as a goal in universities of applied sciences

Ari Lindeman, Team Leader, Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences
Minna Veistilä, Principal Lecturer, Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences

Interest in interdisciplinarity has been growing steadily within higher education. In the context of universities of applied sciences (UAS), discussion of multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinarity plays a role among teaching staff as they have typically all been trained in an academic discipline. The authors have observed that despite much integrative rhetoric especially inter- and transdisciplinary RDI processes are rare in master programmes. It is argued that more conscious efforts are needed in bringing about more of these elements into master programmes. There is also a need to study how current RDI projects in and around universities of applied sciences meet the challenge of interdisciplinarity.

Impact of a higher UAS degree on career development and pay

Kim Wrange, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Arja-Irene Tiainen, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Ari Talkkari, Principal Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences

The aim of this research was to study what impact the Master level education had on career development and salary of the people graduated from Karelia UAS. The method used here was cross-sectional survey. A questionnaire was sent to all graduated people of whom 83 answered. Majority of the graduated had superior position at their work. The results indicate that the superiors gained positive career development or increase in salary or both. The Master degree itself seemed to be the most important reason for this development.

Rising generation wants meaningful work and a happy life

Juho Rahkonen, Research Manager, Doctor of Social Sciences, Taloustutkimus

The values of society change. At the moment, experiential values with a spiritual aspect and new kind of communality spirit are becoming increasingly popular. The rising young generation, especially the so-called Generation Y, is longing for work with meaning and content as well as having a good time. Generation Y is curious, networked, and well-intentioned. However, representatives of the generation are not particularly idealistic in the former meaning of the word: unlike previous generations, they are not committed to big mass movements or ideologies, and they do not try to affect the world in the way that the politically active young people of the 1960s did. Instead, members of Generation Y change the world in more subtle ways – they act as agents of change simply through their existence, and through the values that they represent.

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