Department of Management Studies

Research in Philosophy of Management

Research and teaching in Philosophy of Management concentrate mainly on moral and political philosophy, business ethics, and the philosophy of social sciences.
Aalto University/Flags

The teachers and researchers in Philosophy of Management have an important role to play in scholarly activities at the Department of Management Studies. Much of the research conducted in the department is informed and inspired by recent advances in moral philosophy, political philosophy and social epistemology. For curriculum development, the unit also serves as an important collaborator and sparring partner. The skills and abilities of critical thinking and ethical leadership are at the core of learning outcomes in all educational programs at the School of Business. Research in Philosophy of Management provides unique resources for developing learning modules and assignments that help students gain these skills and abilities.

Research in the unit of Philosophy of Management aims towards dialogue between ethical and political doctrines and research paradigms.

Ongoing research projects in Philosophy of Management include:

Bioeconomy and Justice (BioEcoJust) – Matti Häyry, Tuija Takala, Johanna Ahola-Launonen

  • In this project, funded by the Academy of Finland during 2017–2020, we study questions of responsibility and justice in the context of decision making concerning a potential transition from the current fossil fuel based economy to an advanced bioeconomy. The project is part of a consortium (BioEcoJust) led by MH, with futures studies researchers from the University of Turku led by Professor Markku Wilenius

Synthetic Biology and Ethics (SynBioEthics) – Matti Häyry, Tuija Takala, Johanna Ahola-Launonen

  • In this project, funded by the Academy of Finland during 2013–2017, we study the ethical and philosophical questions surrounding scientific attempts to produce life (living organisms or their parts) from inanimate matter. More information about the project can be found here.

A Just Management Model for Sustainable Systemic Change / The Updated EU Bio-economy Strategy (BioSystJust) – Matti Häyry, Maarit Laihonen

  • This project, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry during 2019-2021, endeavours to develop a just and efficient management model for sustainable systemic change, based on transparent governance and citizen participation. During and after the Finnish Presidency of the European Council in 2019, we present our goals and results for discussion in scientific and Finnish Government-organised conferences.
  • The first airing of our preliminary work in the European Bioeconomy Scene 2019 conference on 12 July is available online at, MH starting at 2:34:26 and ML immediately after him at 2:47:55.

Cultivating the Land or the Market? Solutions to the Challenges of Food Security through Regenerative Farming and Community-Supported Agriculture – Galina Kallio

  • This project is funded by Maj & Tor Nessling Foundation during the period 2019-2021. The project is part of a multimethod research project focusing on Invisible Work in Regenerative agriculture co-funded by Nessling and Kone Foundations. By investigating the work practices of farmers through ethnographic and artistic methods the projects studies human – non-human relationships

Regenerative Farming and Community-Supported Agriculture (CommunityFood) – Matti Häyry, Galina Kallio

  • This project, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 2019, studies sustainable practice building in regenerative agriculture and partnership farming. Partnership farming is based on companionship between producers and consumers and on shared risk taking. The project, related to the Finnish Government’s local food strategy, supports attempts to promote responsibility in the food chain.

The Role of Justice in Decisions on Bioeconomy – Matti Häyry, Johanna Ahola-Launonen

  • This project, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 2018-2020, seeks answers to the following questions (as do, in one way or another, the other bioeconomy projects): What kinds of decisions concerning (the) bioeconomy does the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry prepare, present for action, and do? What is the role of conceptions of justice in these decisions, and what would a just bioeconomy be? Who is responsible for these decisions and what does this mean?

Ongoing doctoral research projects

Business: A Force for Peace – Tilman Bauer

  • Tilman started under Matti Häyry’s supervision in 2017 and studies the potential for ethical business to foster holistic peace in society. The idea that peace can be seen as the substance of positive impact in the business context pertains to fundamental questions of the philosophical nature and purpose of business, as well as to corporate social responsibility and business ethics. This study asks how companies can climb the “ladder of morality” in order to move towards a new paradigm of responsible business.

Meaningful encounters in the construction of relational leadership. An ethnographic study in a Scandinavian hospital organizations - Leni Grünbaum

  • Leni started her doctoral studies in 2019. In her research, she investigates how relational leadership is constructed in a multidisciplinary organization operating in a radically changing environment. More specifically, she examines what makes organizational members experience an encounter as meaningful; how sensory experiences impact experienced meaningful encounters; and how meaningful encounters are related to practices of relational leadership.

The Morality of Corporate Social Responsibility – Marja Svanberg

  • Marja’s research, started under Matti Häyry’s supervision in 2014, focuses on the conceptualization and morality of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Specifically, she explores the essence of CSR and its relation to the profit motive. Additionally, she studies the general moral framing of business ethics.

Latest publications

Radical circles and visionary innovation

Antti Ainamo, Claudio Dell'Era, Roberto Verganti 2021 Creativity and Innovation Management

Governing with conversation culture–conditioning organizational interaction in a digital social movement

Salla Maaria Laaksonen, Merja Porttikivi 2021 INFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND SOCIETY

On the participatory agency of texts

Esa Lehtinen, Pekka Palli 2021 TEXT AND TALK

Critical creativity



Nando Malmelin, Sari Virta, Ari Kuismin 2021 JOURNAL OF MEDIA BUSINESS STUDIES

Priorities for social science and humanities research on the challenges of moving beyond animal-based food systems

Carol Morris, Minna Kaljonen, Kadri Aavik, Bálint Balázs, Matthew Cole, Ben Coles, Sophia Efstathiu, Tracey Fallon, Mike Foden, Eva Haifa Giraud, Mike Goodman, Eleanor Hadley Kershaw, Richard Helliwell, Pru Hobson-West, Matti Häyry, Piia Jallinoja, Mat Jones, Taija Kaarlenkaski, Maarit Laihonen, Anu Lähteenmäki-Uutela, Saara Kupsala, Annika Lonkila, Lydia Martens, Renelle McGlacken, Josephine Mylan, Mari Niva, Emma Roe, Richard Twine, Markus Vinnari, Richard White 2021 Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

Prolonging life cycles of construction materials and combating climate change by cascading : The case of reusing timber in Finland

Yishu Niu, Kaarle Rasi, Mark Hughes, Minna Halme, Gerhard Fink 2021 Resources, Conservation and Recycling
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Recently completed research projects

Unorthodox Organizations and Research Ethics of Radical Ethnography – Maarit Laihonen

  • In this post-doctoral research project 2017-2018, I studied the nature of unorthodox organizations in a context of radical resistance. The research was based on a one-year in-depth ethnography on a protest camp. The focus is on theorizing from a peculiar organizational setting, its everyday and political context. In addition, I contribute to the discussion of research ethics and other methodological questions in utilizing ethnographic methods in sensitive settings. This study was funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation. The project included one year visitor position in Harvard University (funded by Foundation for Economic Education and HSE Foundation).

Interfaces for Empathy: Regenerative notes – Reflecting and developing empathetic practices in post-fossil world – Maarit Laihonen and working group Mari Keski-Korsu and Petri Ruikka

  • Interfaces for Empathy was and is an interdisciplinary research group, and also an entity that aims for pragmatic results in form of workshops, discussions and actions. The group is researching the contents and method of empathy in collaborative and collective intelligence and action, in order to apply them to creative activism and conscious action. The project was funded by Kone Foundation in 2018. Further funding has been applied for.

Hijacking responsibility: Philosophical studies on health distribution – Johanna Ahola-Launonen

  • In this PhD thesis (conducted at the University of Helsinki 2013-2018, Social and Moral Philosophy), I examine the theoretical background of a political trend, the responsibilization of the individual. The trend turns complex societal issues like poverty and sickness into simple questions of individual responsibility. I look the issue especially from point of view of distribution of health and argue that discussions on responsibility have been hijacked by a simplified backward-looking desert-based view. My main claim is that responsibility should not have a role in the distribution of primary goods. The work was funded mainly by Kone foundation, together with the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Academy of Finland, the Aalto Business School, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Synthetic Biology and Ethics (SynBioEthics) – Matti Häyry, Tuija Takala, Johanna Ahola-Launonen

  • In this project, funded by the Academy of Finland during 2013–2017, we studied the ethical and philosophical questions surrounding scientific attempts to produce life (living organisms or their parts) from inanimate matter. More information about the project can be found here.

Justice and Its Alternatives in a Globalizing World (OIVA) – Matti Häyry, Tuija Takala, Johanna Ahola-Launonen

  • In this Argumenta project, funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation during 2015–2017, we studied the many meanings people can attach to the word “justice”, and endeavoured to convey the ambiguity of the concept, and the political implications of this ambiguity, to expert and lay audiences in workshops and public lecture series. 

Political Corporate Responsibility – Jukka Mäkinen

  • This project approached the political and socio-economic roles of businesses in contemporary societies from the perspective of the liberal theories of social justice. More particularly, the project aimed towards a new conception of political corporate responsibility based on some of the key ideas of John Rawls’s political philosophy. The research from this project has appeared in journals such as Business Ethics Quarterly, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Global Ethics, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Management and Organization Review, and Utilitas.
  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!