Theories and Research in Business Sustainability and Responsibility

Kataja Doctoral Course “Theories and research in business sustainability and responsibility”

Time and place: May 8-12, 2023, LUT University, School of Business and Management, Lahti campus.

Learning goal and objectives

The aim of this course is to deepen the students’ understanding of key concepts, theories, and research traditions in business sustainability and responsibility. The course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to corporate sustainability and responsibility, sustainability science, and systems science, integrating the current debate and state-of-the-art from business in society, management and organization, and additional research fields. Special attention is devoted to the past development and evolution of these research fields, as well as current and emerging topics and debates. These include systemic and transformational change processes and other shifts that are needed in mindsets, actions, and interactions (at individual, organizational, and societal levels) to address global sustainability problems and grand challenges (e.g., nature/biodiversity loss, climate change, poverty, and social inequality).

During the one-week intensive course, the students will have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on various sustainability and responsibility-related challenges, issues, and topics (including social-ecological systems, planetary boundaries, business collective action, cross-sector partnerships/interactions, and sustainability-oriented innovation) with the other participants as well as established corporate sustainability and responsibility scholars. Moreover, the students will present their own research ideas and can further improve their projects and papers based on feedback from the faculty. Finally, the course enables the students to develop their scientific writing, research, and teamwork skills.

At the end of the course, the students will be able to understand and critically assess the main concepts, theories, and research traditions in this broad, multidisciplinary field. They will also be able to evaluate and justify the theoretical and methodological approaches used in their own studies on business sustainability and responsibility.

Instruction and examination

The course includes three components:

  1. Pre-course work: submitting an extended abstract and reading a package of research articles
  2. Instruction: a one-week intensive course in May 2023 in Lahti
  3. Final research paper

The students are expected to read the reading package, consisting of scientific articles (ca. 500 pages) prior to the course, and submit an extended (paper or dissertation project) abstract to be discussed and receive feedback at a research development workshop during the course. All lectures (including class discussions, teamwork, and workshops) will be held during a one-week intensive course on LUT’s Lahti campus in May 2023. The students will write a 20-25-page final paper and submit it within one month after the intensive course. The course will be evaluated as pass or fail by the faculty, considering both the final paper and course participation.

Credits: 6 ECTS

Grading: pass/fail.

Prerequisites: The course is designed as cross-disciplinary. It is targeted at doctoral students doing research on topics related to corporate/business sustainability, CSR, systems change, corporate citizenship, cross-sector interactions, multi-stakeholder partnerships, sustainable supply chain management, sustainable/circular business models, MNE/global corporate responsibility, critical and political CSR, and global governance, among other topics. It is especially suitable for students majoring in management and organization studies, strategy, sustainability and CSR, supply chain management/logistics/purchasing, industrial engineering, international business, and environmental management, for example.

Admittance: Maximum number of participants is 25. Deadline for course applications: March 15, 2023. Applications should be sent by email to both of the course coordinators: Laura Albareda ( and Anne Quarshie (

Course application form


Contact address:






Research area/thesis topic:

When officially accepted to doctoral program:

Phase of doctoral studies:

Motives for participating in the course:

Applicants are advised to complete the application form carefully as the number of applicants may exceed the maximum number of participants. In that case, the KATAJA guidelines for student selection along with other criteria (incl. relevance and suitability of course for student, motivation, phase in the dissertation process, quality of application) will be used in selecting the participants. Acceptance notifications will be emailed directly to all the applicants by March 22, 2023.

Admitted students must submit an extended paper or dissertation project abstract (max. three pages incl. references, single-spaced) to be presented and discussed at a research development workshop during the course. The abstracts should be sent to the course coordinators (, by March 31, 2023. The abstract will be expanded to a 20-25-page final paper after the course.


Oana Branzei, Donald F. Hunter Professor of International Business/ Professor of Sustainability and Strategy. Director, Sustainability Certificate Program, Ivey Business School, Western University, London, Canada.

Oana Branzei is Donald F. Hunter Professor of International Business and Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at the Ivey Business School and Faculty Scholar at Western University in Canada. She is also the founding Director of the Sustainability Certificate program, the founder, convener and host of PhD Sustainability Academy, an annual event of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, and the co-founder of the recently inaugurated virtual-based and accessible Spring Institute. Ivey champion for the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Education for a decade, Oana has recently pioneered the ESG platform for Ivey Publishing, is developing SDG-concept notes and EDI-focused collections. Oana heads her global Resilience lab, originally formed with funding from her Early Researcher Award, and currently featuring collaborations with rapid-response research teams tackling grand challenges on five continents.

Professor Branzei is also a Western Faculty Scholar, sits on the Western University Research Board and the Advisory Board of the Africa Institute, and serves on Western’s Interdisciplinary Development Initiatives adjudication committee. Oana chaired the Social Sciences Panel for the Early Researcher Awards for Ontario’s Ministry of Innovation (2018-2021) and SSHRC Insight Grants (2015). She served as adjudicator for the 2020 Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.

She studies and promotes inclusive organizing (prosocial, cross-sector, circular, place-based, and regenerative) in response to grand challenges, Social Developmental Goals (SDGs) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) priorities. Her research has been published in the Academy of Management Discoveries, Business & Society, Journal of Business Venturing,Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of World Business, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal.

Laura Albareda, Professor of Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship, LUT School of Business and Management

Laura Albareda is Professor at the School of Business and Management, LUT. She is also visiting professor at Deusto Business School (DBS), University of Deusto. She has been Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carroll School of Management of Boston College and Visiting Researcher at Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Boston University, Ivey Business School and Amsterdam Business School. From 2000 to 2008 she was Research Fellow and Assistant lecturer in the department of social sciences at ESADE Business School. She is currently co-leading research on business sustainability and cross-sector partnerships at LUT University and is member of the Board of SCI-MAT (Sustainable Circularity of Inorganic Materials) Platform, a LUT multidisciplinary research platform including business science, sustainability science and engineering science Her main line of research is business collective action and polycentric governance. She also works on sustainability-oriented innovation, value creation and circular business models. Her research papers have been published in specialized journals such as Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Research, Business Ethics Quarterly, Journal of Business Ethics, Technological Forecasting & Social Change and Industrial Marketing Management. She is co-author of the book: Governments and Corporate Social Responsibility: Public Policies beyond Regulation and Voluntary Compliance (2008) and co-editor of the book Bocken, N., Ritala, P., Albareda, L. & Verburg, R. (Eds.). (2019). Innovation for Sustainability. Business transformations towards a better world. Springer. She has been awarded the Carolyn Dexter Award for Best International Paper, as well as the Organizations & the Natural Environment Division Unorthodox Paper Award at the 2018 Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

Anne Quarshie, Assistant Professor, Turku School of Economics

Anne Quarshie is an Assistant Professor of Biodiversity and Business at Turku School of Economics, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. Previously, she has been a Postdoctoral Researcher at LUT School of Business and Management, a Doctoral Researcher at Aalto University School of Business, and a Visiting Researcher at Rutgers Business School in New Jersey, USA. Her research interests include biodiversity-respectful and sustainable business and supply chain management, systemic change processes, interorganizational interactions, and humanitarian disaster response. She is involved in the BIODIFORM and BIODIFUL consortia, which investigate the interface between biodiversity and business, systemic transformations, and biodiversity-respectful leadership, for example. Her research has received several recognitions, including the IPSERA Best Doctoral Dissertation in Purchasing Award 2017 and the Routledge Best Paper Award in Social Partnership 2016. Her work has appeared among other outlets in the Journal of Business Ethics, Organization & Environment, the Journal of Operations Management, Journal of Supply Chain Management, and Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management. She is also a co-author of the book “Corporate Social Responsibility in Finland: Origins, Characteristics, and Trends”. Prior to becoming a researcher, she worked for several years at Fairtrade Finland, where she managed relationships with Finnish retailers and food manufacturers and was a member of the organization’s top management team.

Satu Teerikangas, Professor, Turku School of Economics

Satu Teerikangas is Professor of Management and Organization, University of Turku (UTU), Finland and Honorary Professor, University College London, UK, where she was tenured (2010–15). Satu’s research centres on the management of strategic change, a research theme set at the frontiers of strategic management, organization theory and organization development. Her focus in the study of strategic change centres on the management of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and sustainability transitions. Within this remit, Satu’s empirical and conceptual contributions relate to the sociocultural dynamics of strategic change, change agents, and research methods. Her international academic journal publications appear in e.g. Journal of Management, British Journal of Management, Human Resource Management, International Business Review, European Management Review, European Journal of Management, Management International Review, and Sustainability. As an academic, her approach to scientific inquiry is collaborative and interdisciplinary. She is lead editor of the Research Handbook of Sustainability Agency (2021) published by Edward Elgar, and co-editor of the Handbook of Mergers and Acquisitions (2012) published by Oxford University Press. She bears in excess of 2M€ research funding, currently leading the Finnish Academy’s Strategic Research Council funded “CICAT2025 Accelerating Transitions to Circular Economy’s” work package on agency 2019-2023. In 2021-2026, she is co-leading the Strategic Research Council funded research project BIODIFUL – Biodiversity respectful leadership, while also involved as one of the co-PIs in the Finnish Academy’s Profilation 6 (2021-2026)-funded BIODIFORM consortium connecting biodiversity and business in an interdisciplinary setting across University of Turku. She was awarded UTU’s Executive Educator as well as Impactful Business School Academic of the year (2020). Prior to an academic career, Professor Teerikangas worked in the oil and gas industry in the Netherlands and the UK.

Paavo Ritala, Professor, Strategy and Innovation, LUT School of Business and Management

Paavo Ritala is a Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the School of Business and Management at LUT University, Finland. His main research themes include ecosystems and platforms, the role of data and digital technologies in organizations, collaborative innovation, sustainable business models, and circular economy. His research has been published in journals such as Journal of Management, Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, R&D Management, Technovation, Long Range Planning, Industrial and Corporate Change & California Management Review. He is closely involved with business practice through research projects, executive and professional education programs, and in speaker and advisory roles. Prof. Ritala is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of R&D Management and he serves in the editorial review board of Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Laura Olkkonen, Postdoctoral Researcher

LUT School of Business and Management

Laura Olkkonen is a Postdoctoral Researcher at LUT and Docent at Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics. Her research focuses on business-society relations and CSR communication. Currently, she works on a 3-year research project on corporate activism, funded by the Academy of Finland. She teaches courses related to sustainable business and business ethics, and supervises several Master’s and Bachelor’s theses yearly. Dr. Olkkonen also acts as a local coordinator of the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) at LUT. She is co-author for the book “Corporate Social Responsibility in Finland: Origins, Characteristics, and Trends”, and has published her research in journals such as Business & Society, Journal of Cleaner Production, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, and Journal of Communication Management.

Asta Salmi, Professor, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu

Asta Salmi is a Professor (Sustainable Business) at University of Oulu. Her expertise areas include sustainable supply chains, cross-sector cooperation, dynamics of business networks, and collaborations related to environmental issues. Her recent research projects have focused on, e.g., advancement of wood construction and biodiversity management in supply chains. Salmi is Program Director of the research program “Innovative Materials and Services to Promote Resource Wisdom and Sustainable Development” funded by the Strategic Research Council. She serves as a Senior Associate Editor for Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management and is an active participant and member of the international business and industrial marketing research communities. She has published e.g., in Academy of Management Review, Organization & Environment, Industrial Marketing Management and Journal of Management Studies.

Course coordinators and contact information

Anne Quarshie, Assistant Professor, Biodiversity and Business, Turku School of Economics, (

Laura Albareda, Professor, Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship, LUT School of Business and Management, (