Tools and Practices for Theory Development

Time and place: 6-8 May 2024, University of Turku

Learning goal and objectives:

While the aim to make a theoretical contribution is what most academic articles and theses have in common, there is relatively little explicit guidance on theory and theorization within most PhD programs. To remedy this situation, our course offers tools, practices, and other useful resources for the theory development process. The course explains what theory and theory development are, offers templates and designs for the theorization process, and a detailed overview of the different types of theoretical contributions. The course also gives guidance regarding positioning, problematizing, and framing of an article and/or thesis as these practices are an essential part of carving out the theoretical contribution and presenting it compellingly to the chosen field.

Intended learning outcomes:

  • After completing the course, the student is expected to:
  • have a thorough understanding of theory development as a scholarly practice
  • be able to analyze different types of theoretical contributions and the associated theorization processes and apply these in their own research
  • be able to explain the research design of the theorization process used in their own research
  • understand ways to articulate a study’s theoretical contribution and research implications
  • be aware of means to enhance a study’s impact potential.

Instruction and examination:

Format: Lectures and workshop (3 days) with preparatory work and readings


  1. Reflective learning diary (max 2000 words), graded Pass/Fail
  2. Active participation during the workshop discussions and group work

Credits: 4 ECTS

The work load comprises of 24h in-class lectures and workshops, preparatory assignments (5), reading of an article package, and writing a learning diary.

Grading: Passed/Failed

Prerequisites: The course is particularly aimed at students writing or interested in writing conceptual articles, but it will also benefit students working with empirical research that aims for theory development. The course is suitable for doctoral students at all stages but students with at least 1-2 years of experience will be prioritized in the admittance if needed. The course is targeted towards doctoral students in all fields of Management and Business Studies.

Admittance: 25 students are admitted to the course.

  • The applicants are to enrol to the course via email to the course coordinator ( by 15 March, 2024. The email should include a motivation letter (1-2 pages) that includes the following information of the applicant: Name, Degree, E-mail address, University, faculty and department, Major subject, Research field, Subject or title of dissertation, Phase of doctoral studies, and Motives for participating in the course.
  • A notification of acceptance will be sent by email by 22 March, 2024.
  • The deadline for the post-assignment is on 24 May, 2024.


Dr. Elina Jaakkola is Professor of Marketing at Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland. She specializes in service research and her current projects focus on topics such as customer experience and journeys, customer/actor engagement, and value driven business. Her research has been published e.g. in Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, and Journal of Service Management. She is an Associate Editor for Journal of Service Research and Industrial Marketing Management and serves in the Editorial Review Board of seven prominent journals. She has won a number of international awards for her scholarly activities and was named to the Clarivateʻs Highly Cited Researchers list in the business and economics discipline in 2021 and 2022, demonstrating exceptional research impact.


Dr. Kaisa Koskela-Huotariis an Assistant Professor at the Department of Marketing and Strategy of Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. Kaisa’s research interests lie at the intersection of service-dominant logic, institutional theory, and systems thinking. She uses these perspectives in her often conceptual work to learn more about change in social systems and inform the understandings of innovation, service design and market evolution. Her articles have been published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service ResearchJournal of Business ResearchJournal of Service Management, Journal of Strategic Marketing among others. Kaisa was part of the editorial team of The SAGE Handbook on Service-dominant Logic and she currently serves as the Assistant Editor of the AMS Review, the only marketing journal that focuses exclusively on conceptual(-only) articles. In 2022, she was awarded the Corporate Partner’s Research Award at the Stockholm School of Economics.


Course coordinator and contact information:

Elina Jaakkola,; 044 510 9499