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Defining Female Students Expectations of the Job Market of Tomorrow

Values, workplace benefit preferences, probable challenges on the labour market and expectations of females are important factors for companies to consider. By analysing these factors companies can ensure the retention of the future workforce of tomorrow. This article describes the female perspective on values, benefits and challenges from female students and female business professionals’ point of view.

Authors: Tia Delfino & Tarja Ahonen

Finland’s leading ladies

Especially now the topic of female employment is more up to date than ever. Finland’s government is being led by young females mostly all under 40. Still a lot of women will decide or end up going another way instead of striving for leadership roles. As Laura Liswood said in 2010 “By and large one common denominator is that women have a passion and a desire to change things.” Therefore, companies need to consider what women expect and understand what kind of transformations are needed to be made in order to meet women’s expectations. (Niethammer 2019.)

Employment and women

In Finland, the majority of the population consists of women. Thus, women are a very important economic factor in Finland. Also, considering the fact that 62.7% of women hold qualifications and degrees in Finland, they are an educated and skilled workforce who need to be well considered by companies. (Statistics Finland 2018, 32.)

Women value a positive work environment and flexible hours to combine and balance career and family. Also, new possibilities within a company can help to create incentives and motivate women to take up new tasks and positions. Promoting employee skills by providing internal training, new competences are created which are conducive for the company and the employee. This is consequential as the skills and knowledge of long-term employees are a clear advantage for any company. (Insight for Professionals 2018.)

The expectations on employment today

As generations change, the idea of employment changes as well. Maintaining employment at any cost is not appreciated anymore. As people’s perceptions of employment is based on personal attributes such as values, the idea of creating a personal career path and finding a purpose in employment becomes more important nowadays. (Hoff Bernstrøm et al. 2019.)

Values, benefit expectations, preferred wellbeing options and challenges in the job-hunting procedure were the focus of the study. The expectations that women have towards the labour market and companies and employers were analysed by sending out two surveys. This was a necessary step in order to understand how and if women’s perceptions have changed over time. The surveys were based on Schwartz value theory and Schein´s career anchors to examine the perspectives female students studying at LUAS and female business professionals’ concerning values, benefits and wellbeing options. Both theories analysed typical female and male attributes which specify the values, expectations, motifs and needs regarding one’s career. (Delfino 2019.)

Values and career anchors

In Schwartz theory ten values are listed. Hereby the typical female values are benevolence, universalism and security. Typical male values are power, stimulation, hedonism, achievement and self-direction. Conformity and tradition are considered as shared values. The female values contain helpfulness, equality, social order but also inner harmony, honesty, meaning in life and sense of belonging. These values change throughout life and male and female values can become blurred. (Schwartz & Rubel 2005, 1017-1018.)

Figure 1. Female Values (Potts 2015)

A person’s own values can change throughout time, especially when working for a company. The employee adapts to the company values and this can have an effect on their own norms. By building a knowledge base, creating a strategy and finding a mission within a company an employee goes on a lifelong learning process which will affect their way of thinking. (Schein & Van Maanen 1977.)

Schein´s career anchors are connected to values and define a person’s expectations towards their career and work. Every person has one of several career anchors. As seen below the career anchors are connected to Schwartz value theory. In the field of conservation which is connected to the security value, the points lifestyle and security can be found which are typical female career anchors. Women tend to concentrate on the lifestyle and security anchor, meaning that working independently and focusing on their lifestyle is an important factor to most women throughout their working life (Williams et al. 2014.)

Figure 2. Career anchors and values (Wils et al. 2010.)

What women really expect of employment today

Female viewpoints change throughout university and work life. Whereas female students still have very idealistic and self-serving ideas of the job market and their future workplace, the business professionals, who have worked and experienced the labour market have high expectations of the future candidates and a more pragmatic point of view. The female students are expecting a positive work environment, long term employment as well as appreciation of their work effort. The female business professionals on the other hand expect hard working individuals that are efficient and add value to a company by constantly improving their work.

The female students also call for a good salary on one hand but on the other hand also demand work life balance and expect companies to be flexible regarding the working hours. The students are hoping for training possibilities and educational support provided by the companies. The reality revealed by the business professionals’ answers, is that most of the companies offer law-based employment benefits. Again, the expectations of the female students and female business professionals differ as the students as well as the business professionals expect a flexible attitude from one another. This means that the female students will have to work hard and be flexible regarding their work times and their job.

Both female students and the female business professionals agreed, however, on one point. It is very difficult to actually get a job nowadays. The availability of positions is low and the competition on the labour market is high. Another important factor which makes it difficult for applicants to gain a job is that the needed skills such as language, work ethic and job specific skills are missing.


The gap between the expectations of female students and the expectations of female business professionals is substantial. In order to assure the retention of skilled workforce companies need to consider the female students’ expectations and create new incentives to attract proficient workforce. On the other hand, the female students need to understand the reality of the labour market. It is important to understand that the companies too expect a lot from the future workforce especially concerning their attitude towards work and skills. (Delfino 2019.)


Delfino, T. 2019. Defining Female Students Expectations of the Job Market of Tomorrow. Bachelor´s thesis. Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti. [Cited 15 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Hoff Bernstrøm, V., Drange, I. & Mamelund, S. 2019. Employability as an alternative to job security. Personnel Review. 48: 1, pp.234-248. [Cited 10 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Insight for Professionals. 2018. Insight for professionals. Four ways HR can improve the retention of women in workforce [Cited 10 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Niethammer, C. 2019. Forbes. Finland’s New Government Is Young And Led By Women—Here’s What The Country Does To Promote Diversity [Cited 13 Dec 2019]. Available at:

Potts, D. 2015. Irfan Khawaja Philosopher. Policy of truth, the Schwartz theory of basic values and some implications for political philosophy [Cited 15 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Schein, E., Van Maanen, J. 1977. Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization. Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Cited 11 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Schwartz, S., Rubel, T. 2005. Sex differences in value priorities: cross-cultural and multimethod studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 89/6/2005, 1010-1028. [Cited 12 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Statistics Finland. 2018. Gender equality in Finland 2018. [Cited 10 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Wils, L., Wils, T., & Tremblay, M. 2010. Toward a career anchor structure: an empirical investigation of engineers. Relations industrielles. 65(2), 236-256 [Cited 13 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Williams, M., Grobler, S. & Grobler, A. 2014. Lifestyle integration-gender based stereotypes: a study on Schein‟s career anchors within an ODeL HEI. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. 3 (2). [Cited 8 Nov 2019]. Available at:


Delfino, T. 2019. LAMK graduating student. Lahti University of Applied Sciences Ltd, Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti

Ahonen, Tarja. 2019. Senior Lecturer. Lahti University of Applied Sciences Ltd, Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti.

Artikkelikuva: (CC0)

Julkaistu 31.12.2019


Delfino, T. & Ahonen, T. 2019. Defining Female Students Expectations of the Job Market of Tomorrow. LAMK Pro. [Viitattu ja pvm]. Saatavissa:

Digitalization and the Relation between Businesses and Education

Finland, as most other European countries, is going through economic and social challenges. Low birth rates will change the structure of the population, affecting heavily the welfare society. Due to the lack of workforce business processes will slow down, employees will work longer days and the pension age will slowly raise. Innovation and internationalization, along with education and migration, are the core for the success. This article describes why SMEs need digitalization and its needed skills to improve their performance and provide equal opportunities for the labour force.

Authors: Erika Bottacci & Tarja Ahonen

New skills required

Digitalization is no longer an option but a necessity for business’ success. Hence, employers are now competing to get the best of IT-talented employees. In addition, recruiters may not have the right knowledge, nor strategic visions about the most important skills required. On the one hand, students may graduate without having needed skills, while on the other hand, the current workforce may have skills that will be easily performed by machines. At the same time, it is becoming more difficult to help workers improve their skills and to keep them engaged in their jobs. Even though employees highly value training and education alongside work, automation may be a threat as it could easily replace humans. To win this competition, companies must provide training-at-work programs. A business is successful when its workforce is committed. Thus, both companies and employees must be agile and flexible and must show the ability of adapting quickly to the rapid changes. Digital skills are necessary, but attention should go towards soft skills, especially on creativity, communication and problem-solving. Therefore, companies should seek for committed and passionate employees: if they provide excellent training, they will also attract new talents. (Bottacci 2019; Digital Marketing Institute 2019.)

Globalisation, digitalisation and automation: the forces shaping the European labour market

Due to globalisation and digitalisation the presence of SMEs in the market is stronger than ever before. The work allocation is more flexible, networks are decentralised, and individuals can work independently. Digitalisation changes the way humans and machines work together. It allows workers to focus on more complex duties which would then have an impact on the quality of job performance. Thus, motivating workers to develop their skillset. This is a transitional process that allows industries to constantly improve their productivity, services, and tasks. Even though digitalisation may disrupt certain roles, it increases the work participation of people with special needs. Integrating business operations with artificial intelligence (AI) improves business processes and their efficiency, e.g., by reducing the expenses. AI processes data quickly and can help in the decisional processes. It can generate new sales and improve customer relationships. AI allows organizations to become more collaborative and team oriented. It also supports diversity at work. The vertical hierarchies are no longer efficient, as are long-term contracts and physical environments. This means that the corporate culture will be based on learning and cross-functional collaboration, mixing different disciplines and including expertise from all over the world. Today, many firms are still not able to take advantage of this technological advancement: in 2017 only 20% of European SMEs reached high levels of digitalisation. The big challenge for SMEs is the competition with multinational businesses. These have better access to AI specialists, and by developing their own digital platforms, they tend to monopolise the market and even influence the legislation. Thus, the European Commission has proposed the Digital Europe program to allow innovation in smaller companies by giving them access to public algorithms. For SMEs, anyway, there is not only the difficulty of accessing high-quality databases, but also attracting skilled people. This is often related to the lack of resources and management. (Goos 2019; Servoz 2019.)

The Finnish scenario and findings

The best way to attract professionals from outside the EU is via mobility programmes. However, this also requires a revision of the immigration policies and residence permit applications (Servoz 2019). Finnish universities attract highly skilled youth from outside Europe, but it is hard for them to find employment after graduation. The main obstacles for foreigners in getting into entry-level positions in Finland are lack of language skills, previous work experience and the time and uncertainty behind the residence permit application process. Local SMEs are affected by lack of diversity and limited resources. For some of them, international graduates are means for internationalization strategies. Going beyond this vision would lead to the implementation of employment opportunities and advance human resources strategies, especially in diversity management and learning at work. Companies that are more internationalized have a diverse workforce and they have closer relationships with universities of applied sciences. These companies are established after the ‘80s – their leadership style and corporate culture are already reflecting the changes of the business world. This is the reason why universities of applied sciences should be the first ones supporting their international students in finding internship opportunities in Finland, as well as thesis works, by strengthening their collaboration with local SMEs. (Bottacci 2019.) Thus, employers and schools should work together and emphasise the importance of soft skills and critical thinking, as well as competency acquisition throughout multidisciplinary programs (Servoz 2019; Digital Marketing Institute 2019). To guide the undergraduates from the finalisation of their studies to the entrance into the labour market, schools should further develop their work-world-related language classes and the digital services, especially the career services (Bottacci 2019).

One strategic plan of the Finnish government is that SMEs enter the international market. Highly skilled migrants could be a valuable resource for international activities. Universities of applied sciences are a pool of skilled migrants, and due to the lack of workforce, educational and business sectors should work together to encourage foreign students to find employment and stay in the country. (Bottacci 2019.) Digitalization, coming between full-time education and employee training, is the tool to reduce skill shortages, job mismatch and to boost internationalisation. For this instance, the Digital Europe program is clearly the main support that companies have to proceed with the digital transition. (Goos 2019; Servoz 2019.)


Bottacci, E. 2019. The Finnish labour market: internationalisation and future challenges : The role of local universities of applied sciences in improving foreign students’ employability in small and medium-sized companies of Päijät-Häme and Kanta-Häme. Bachelor’s thesis. Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management, Lahti. [Cited 14 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Digital Marketing Institute. 2019. 8 things businesses should know about the digital skills shortage [Cited 7 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Goos, M. 2019. Digitalisation and the Future of Work. European Commission. [Cited 7 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Servoz, M. 2019. The future of work? Work of the future! European Commission. [Cited 7 Nov 2019]. Available at:


Bottacci, Erika. 2019. LAMK graduating student. Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti

Ahonen, Tarja. 2019. Senior Lecturer. Lahti University of Applied Sciences Ltd, Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti.

Illustration: (CC0)

Published 18.12.2019

Reference to this publication

Bottacci, E. & Ahonen, T. 2019. Digitalization and the Relation between Businesses and Education. LAMK Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at:

Kohti huomisen kierrätystavoitteita

Pakkaamisella on keskeinen merkitys logistiikassa. Kuljetuspakkaukset mahdollistavat tavaran sujuvan kuljettamisen, varastoinnin ja jakelun sekä suojaavat tuotteita erilaisilta rasituksilta. Puujätteen kierrätystavoite kiristyy lähivuosina ja tämä edellyttää velkalavajärjestelmäprosessin toimijoilta uusia toimintatapoja, jotta huomisen kierrätystavoitteet toteutuvat.

Kirjoittajat: Anna Rusanen ja Ullamari Tuominen

Muovin kierrätys on Suomessa ollut kuumottava puheenaihe viimeisien vuosien aikana. Niin tärkeä kuin muovin kierrätys onkin, muodostavat muovipakkausten ohella Suomessa eniten jätettä puupakkaukset ja näistä tarkemmin vielä kuormalavat.

Kuormalavat ovat tavaroiden kuljetuksessa ja varastoinnissa käytettäviä määräkokoisia lavoja. Suomessa valtaosa tuotteista liikkuu puisten kuormalavojen päällä. Näitä, suurimmalle osalle näkymättömiä pakkaustarvikkeita, kierrätetään Suomessa pääpiirteittäin melko hyvin. Näin voisi toki olettaakin, onhan puupakkausten kierrätys kuitenkin Suomessa lakisääteistä perustuen valtioneuvoston päätökseen pakkauksista ja pakkausjätteistä.

Puupakkausten kierrätys

Pakkauksilla tarkoitetaan mistä tahansa materiaalista koostuvaa tuotetta, jota käytetään tavaran suojaamiseen tai säilytykseen ja joka näin ollen mahdollistaa sen turvallisen käsittelyn ja kuljetuksen valmistajalta käyttäjälle. (Valtio-neuvoston päätös pakkauksista ja pakkausjätteistä 962/1997.) Puupakkauksilla tarkoitetaan tällaisia puusta valmistettuja tuotteita, joista kuormalavat muodostavat Suomessa valtaosan. (Puupakkaustenkierrätys PPK Oy 2013.)

EU:n jätedirektiivien mukaan kaikesta pakkausjätteen painosta tulisi vuoteen 2030 mennessä kierrättää 70 prosenttia. Käytännössä tämä tarkoittaa, että Suomen pitäisi yli kaksinkertaistaa muovi- ja puupakkausjätteen kierrätysmäärät seuraavan kymmenen vuoden aikana. Pakkausjätteille on asetettu materiaalikohtaiset tavoitteet ja näistä puujätteen kierrätysprosentin tulisi olla 30 prosenttia. (Euroopan parlamentin ja neuvoston direktiivi (EU) 2018/852, 6§.) Kuormalavoja käyttävän yrityksen on näin ollen liki mahdotonta päästä tähän lukemaan, ellei se kierrätä järkevästi käyttämiään puupakkauksia. Huomioitavaa on myös, että puupakkausten kierrättämiseksi ei lain mukaan lasketa sen murskaamista tai polttamista esimerkiksi lämpöenergiaksi. Koska uudelleenkäytön avulla vältetään saattamasta markkinoille uusia pakkauksia ja lisäämästä syntyvän pakkausjätteen määrää, on jätteenkierrätyslaitoksilla viimekädessä suuri rooli ja vastuu siitä mihin rikkoutuneet puupakkaukset loppujen lopuksi kulkeutuvat.

Mikä Puupakkausjärjestelmä?

Suomessa jokaiselle pakkausmateriaalille on olemassa oma voittoa tavoittelematon tuottajayhteisönsä, joiden toiminnat rahoitetaan pakkausmateriaalikohtaisilla kierrätysmaksuilla. Suomen Pakkauskierrätys RINKI Oy on puolestaan tuottajayhteisöjä palveleva yritys. Puupakkausten kierrätystä varten Suomessa on perustettu vuonna 2005 Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy, joka toimi voimassa olevien lakien ja valtioneuvoston päätösten sekä asetusten tuottajayhteisönä, vastaten puupakkausten kierrätyksestä ja hyötykäytöstä Suomessa. Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy:n päällimmäisenä tarkoituksena oli hallinnoida FI-2002-puupakkausjärjestelmää. Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy:n toimintaa jatkoi vuonna 2017 perustettu Kuormankantajat -neuvottelukunta KUKA. Kuormankantajien neuvottelukunnan tarkoituksena on hallinnoida uutta FI-2020-puupakkausjärjestelmää, joka tulee korvaaman FI-2002-Puupakkausjärjestelmän. Näiden järjestelmien toimijoita ovat puupakkausten valmistajat, kuormalavakeskukset sekä korjaajat. FI-2002-puupakkausjärjestelmä on kaikille puupakkaustoimijoille avoin järjestelmä, jonka tarkoituksena on luoda toimivat puitteet puisten kuljetuspakkausten käytölle ja hallinnoinnille. (YTL 2019)

Uusi, FI-2020-puupakkausjärjestelmä on ollut valmisteilla jo useamman vuoden ajan ja sen käyttöönottoajankohtaakin on muutettu matkan varrella. Se, mitä muutoksia se tulee puupakkausten kierrätykseen tuomaan, ei vielä tässä kohtaa ole julkisessa tiedossa.

Puupakkausjärjestelmän velkalavat

Suomessa etenkin elintarviketeollisuudessa kuormalavojen kierrätys on hoidettu käyttämällä velkalavajärjestelmää. Velkalavajärjestelmä toimii käytännössä niin, että tuotteen valmistaja tai maahantuoja pakkaa tuotteensa kuormalavalle ja lähettää ne keskusliikkeelle. Keskusliike purkaa tuotteet omaan varastoonsa, jolloin tavarantoimittajan lähettämä kuormalava jää keskusliikkeen varastoon. Tätä kuormalavaa kutsutaan velkalavaksi. Keskusliikkeen tulee palauttaa kyseinen tai vastaava standardin mukainen kuormalava tavarantoimittajalle, joka sitten käyttää kuormalavan uudestaan. Tässä kierrossa kuormalavat kiertävät, kunnes ne rikkoontuvat ja päätyvät puupakkauskeskukselle, kuten esimerkiksi Lassila & Tikanojalle, korjaukseen ja sieltä uudelleen kiertoon.

Lassila & Tikanoja Oyj on yksi Suomen suurimmista kuormalavoja kierrättävistä ja korjaavista puupakkauskeskuksista. Kuormalavakeskuksen liiketoimintaideana on ostaa, myydä, lajitella, korjata ja korjauttaa sekä noutaa ja toimittaa kuormalavoja niiden käyttäjille sekä niitä omistaville tahoille. Kuormalavojen kierrätys tuli osaksi yrityksen liiketoimintaa vuonna 2014 sen ostaessa yhden Suomen suurimmista kuormalavakeskuksista J A Tauriainen Oy:n. Nykyään yrityksen kautta kiertää vuosittain reilusti yli miljoona kuormalavaa.

Kehityskohteet velkalavajärjestelmässä

Velkalavajärjestelmänprosessissa puupakkauskeskuksen rooli on olennainen. Se toimii asiantuntijatahona kuormalavojen laadun tarkastuksessa ja ylläpitämisessä. Lassila & Tikanoja Oyj:lle toimeksiantona tehdyn opinnäytetyön (Rusanen 2019) tarkoituksena oli kartoittaa velkalavajärjestelmän toimintaa käytännön tasolla eri toimijoiden näkökulmasta, selkeyttää tällä hetkellä käytössä olevia eri toimijoiden toimintatapoja ja hakea yhteistyössä toimijoiden kanssa uusia, mahdollisesti yhteneväisiä tapoja toimia sekä mahdollisia ratkaisuja vallitseviin ongelmiin. Toimijoita velkalavaprosessissa ovat tavarantoimittaja, keskusliike sekä puupakkauskeskus.

Opinnäytetyötä varten tehdyssä tutkimuksessa paljastui, että prosessista löytyy ongelmakohtia kaikkien toimijoiden näkökulmasta. Suurimmiksi ongelmiksi koettiin palautuvien kuormalavojen laatu sekä toimijoiden välisten saldojen seuranta. Suurin osa laatuun liittyvistä ongelmista oli ratkaistavissa riittävällä ammattitaidolla ja laatutarkastuksella. Monet yritykset ovatkin ulkoistaneet velkalavojen vastaanoton kokonaan puupakkauskeskukselle välttääkseen keskusliikkeiltä palautuvien epäkelpojen velkalavojen päätymisen omaan tuotantoonsa. Puupakkauskeskuksen asiantuntijuuden hyödyntäminen on vain yksi vaihtoehto päästä irti laatuongelmista. Yhtenä vaihtoehtona olisi, että keskusliikkeet panostaisivat laatulajitteluun omassa varastossaan enemmän.

Tämä, kuten monet muutkin asiat ovat yrityksille usein kustannuskysymyksiä. Toimintaa ohjaavat monesti vanhentuneet käytännöt ja tavat toimia. Uuden FI-2020-puupakkausjärjestelmän toivotaan tuovan uusia ja toimivampia käytännön ratkaisuja velkalavaprosessiin tehden myös kuormalavojen kierrättämisestä entistä tehokkaampaa ja ympäristöystävällisempää. Tämä helpottaa yritysten mahdollisuutta saavuttaa vuonna 2030 voimaan tulevat EU:n asettamat kierrätystavoitteet.


Euroopan parlamentin ja neuvoston direktiivi (EU) 2018/852. Annettu 30 päivänä toukokuuta 2018, pakkauksista ja pakkausjätteistä annetun direktiivin 94/62/EY muuttamisesta. 2018. Euroopan Unionin virallinen lehti. Lainsäädäntö. L 150/141. [Viitattu 2.11.2019]. Saatavissa:

Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPKK. 2013. FI-2002 Puupakkausjärjestelmä – toimintasäännöt  12.12.2007. [Viitattu 17.9.2019]. Saatavissa:

Pääkkönen. A. 2019. Tuotantopäällikkö. Lassila & Tikanoja Oyj. Avoin haastattelu 2.10.2019.

Rusanen, A. 2019. Velkalavajärjestelmäprosessin kehittäminen. AMK-opinnäytetyö. Lahden Ammattikorkeakoulu, liiketalouden ja matkailun ala. Lahti. [Viitattu 6.12.2019]. Saatavissa:

Yhteinen Toimialaliitto. 2019. Kuormankantajat. [Viitattu 1.9.2019]. Saatavissa:


Anna Rusanen valmistuu tradenomiksi syksyllä 2019 Lahden ammattikorkeakoulusta.

Ullamari Tuominen työskentelee logistiikan lehtorina liiketalouden ja matkailun alalla Lahden ammattikorkeakoulussa.

Artikkelikuva: (CC0)

Julkaistu 17.12.2019


Rusanen, A. & Tuominen, U. 2019. Kohti huomisen kierrätystavoitteita. LAMK Pro. [Viitattu ja pvm]. Saatavissa:

Creating a User-Friendly Online Learning Platform to Learn Finnish

This article discusses the idea of creating a language learning platform to study Finnish online. As with any digital services and platforms, an online language learning platform should be created by keeping in mind the principles of user-friendly design. Designing such platforms should be based on rich, varied data.

Authors: Polina Moiseeva and Hamid Guedra

As the process of globalization requires people to adapt to new settings and adjust their language skills accordingly, the tools that help in acquiring such skills have to be up-to-date and user-friendly. Online learning platforms, being such tools, are expected to have a well-thought-out structure so that learners can understand the materials and go through the courses effectively and efficiently. Indeed, user experience plays a key role in creating successful online learning platforms (Harrati et al. 2016, 470).

Finland is quickly becoming a more and more multicultural society. While newly arrived immigrants can sometimes manage in English, learning and knowing Finnish is expected.  Even if it is commonly thought that Finnish is somehow more difficult to learn than many other languages and can only be mastered through thorough face-to-face teaching, creating a user-friendly online learning platform to learn Finnish is still well justified. For example, such a platform could help in meeting the growing demand of Finnish for foreigners language teaching.

The Product Development Process

The product development process described by Schneider and Stickdorn (2011, 118) provides a good background for creating user-friendly artifacts. They list the following four stages:

  • exploration
  • creation
  • reflection
  • implementation

The exploration stage relates to the project background and aims to get acquainted with the problem, identify it, and visualize findings. In the creation stage, focus is on collecting all the findings, generalizing on them, and processing them to produce a viable concept. The reflection stage covers prototype creation and collecting user feedback. Potential users are encouraged to test the created prototype in real-life conditions and to report any problems they detect. The usability test carried out at the stage allows researchers to identify possible mistakes in the interactive prototype and correct them at a considerably smaller expense than at a later stage. In the implementation stage, the final product is released and made public, which may bring about the need for further improvements and iterations.

Case Study and Its Key Findings

A study, Developing an online learning platform for studying Finnish, by Polina Moiseeva and Evgenii Sverchkov (2019) reports a research project that examined existing online language learning platforms from a user’s perspective. It also created a prototype of a Finnish language learning website and tested the prototype with potential users.

Figure 1. Neiro Lingua’s website to study Finnish (Moiseeva & Sverchkov 2019, 49)

Designing and creating a user-friendly online learning platform requires varied data. The data can be collected, for example, through user surveys, benchmarking, and usability testing. The key findings of the study were drawn from such rich data.

Regarding learners, full-time students generally seem to attend fewer online courses than those who are either at work or unemployed. (Moiseeva & Sverchkov 2019, 22.) Online courses therefore seem to meet the needs of those learners who are outside educational institutions.

There are five key points that should be considered when designing online language learning platforms: mentorship, course guidelines, study materials, practice, and content representation. In addition, learners generally want a lesson page to include a video lecture where the related grammar is explained; they want the material to be available as text so that it can be studied afterward; and they want resources to help with homework and also links to additional grammar and vocabulary practice. A language learning course page should also have detailed information about the course structure and instructions on how to work during the course as well as links to social media channels and group discussions. (Moiseeva & Sverchkov 2019, 22.)

A language learning platform should generally have a clear structure and a simple, clear interface. The color scheme should be uniform and consist of three to four colors. Finally, to be even more user friendly, a language learning website should provide instructions on how to go through a lesson and have an option to create a personal user account. (Moiseeva & Sverchkov 2019, 22.)

Further Study

Further study could, for example, focus on the topic of scaling a software as a service (SaaS). It brings about the need to choose the best billing model for the new online language learning platform. The choice depends on the type of business and the overall business strategy. Per-user models, the pay-as-you-go billing model, the free-based model, tiered user pricing model are all widely used options. The most essential task is to choose the billing model which contributes to customer satisfaction and loyalty. (Lueck 2018.)

To sum up, the idea of creating an online language learning platform to study Finnish is well justified based on the current needs of the new generation of young foreigners seeking to establish themselves in Finland. The study conducted by Polina Moiseeva and Evgenii Sverchkov serves as a viable starting point for creating such a platform.


Harrati, N., Bouchrik, I., Tari, A. & Ladjailia, A. 2016. Exploring user satisfaction for e-learning systems via usage-based metrics and system usability scale analysis. Computers in Human Behavior. Vol.61, 463-471. [Cited 30 April 2019]. Available at:

Lueck, C. 2018. What is Saas? Popular billing models you should know. FastSpring. [Cited 24 Sept 2019].  Available at:

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Polina Moiseeva is a Business Information Technology student at Lahti University of Applied Sciences. Polina’s interests are in user experience design and edutech.

Hamid Guedra is a Senior Lecturer at Lahti University of Applied Sciences. Hamid’s interests are in teaching English for specific purposes and communication research.

Illustration: (CC0)

Published 10.12.2019

Reference to this publication

Moiseeva, M. & Guedra, H. 2019. Creating a User-Friendly Online Learning Platform to Learn Finnish. LAMK Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at:

A Strategic Guide to Business Model Excellence in Local Food Business – Case: Baltic Sea Food Project

The Baltic Sea Food project was undertaken due to various challenges faced by local food businesses in the Baltic Sea Region. The main objective of this project was to improve the operational effectiveness by collecting and analyzing the data in the Baltic Sea Region. Development of business model(s) was critical for creating improved business solutions for these local food businesses. This article proposes an approach for conceptualization of business models through business excellence model and provides a strategic implementation framework for achieving operational effectiveness and business excellence. This innovative approach is aimed at prioritization of strategies to yield better outcomes.

Authors: Shrusti Jarde & Brett Fifield

Baltic Sea Food Project

The EU and Interreg funded Baltic Sea Food (BSF) project aims at developing more systematic approach to bring value to all the possible stakeholders involved (Interreg Baltic Sea Region 2017). BSF project is divided into phases. Phase–I to collect information about local food business scenario, challenges faced etc. In phase-II, business model(s) are developed while in the last phase piloting and remodeling of these business model(s) is undertaken to develop most financially viable approach.

Problem Space

Market orientation and awareness of market strategies have become more important not only for investors but also for the local food businesses in order to succeed (Lund & Noell 2002). This article serves as a guideline for how to implement business models successfully and how to measure their performance (Jarde 2019). The strategy framework and recommendations provided through this article can guide local food businesses in strategically prioritizing and implementing developed business models. Hence, research objectives are to first map the current situation in local food business in Baltic Sea Region (BSR) and then to provide innovative approach in conceptualizing business models through business excellence model (BEM) for achieving business efficiency.

Business logic and Strategy

The big difference between business model and strategy is, the focal point of business models is creating value for target customers. Operational effectiveness and sustainability is important but not sufficient (Porter 1996). It is important to know that, strategies come in planning as well as in implementation phase of business logic (Osterwalder & Pigneur 2010) and based on objectives strategic tools are chosen. Below image reflects, how various excellence models and strategy tools, are applied in the business logic triangle throughout this article. This aims at understanding the purpose of business model while connecting it with business strategy and progressing it towards the business excellence.

Image 1. Business study logic developed for BSF project (Jarde 2019)

Business excellence model

Prior developing BEM, it is important to develop a basic operational business framework. The local food businesses can adapt two different approaches as their basic business operations to generate revenue. Direct approach connects local businesses directly to the end consumers. While an indirect approach establishes a link with businesses as well as private customers.

To develop a business excellence strategy model, inputs from strategic factors identified and the list of existing barriers to overcome are considered. By using EFQM model, the framework of business excellence strategy model is presented. The model is developed based on the collective findings from all 10 countries’ empirical study.

Business model implementation

This article proposes an innovative strategic approach for BSF Phase III i.e. ‘Conceptualizing business model through BEM’. Many practitioners get confused with how to implement these business models to achieve desired results or to gain competitive advantage (Casadesus-Masanell & Ricart 2010). Some businesses are more profitable than their competitors, even if they apply same strategies (Nielsen 2010). Hence, conceptualizing business models using BEM plays a significant role in not just achieving business excellence but also in effective implementation of these business models to achieve desired results.

The various components for Business model canvas (BMC) and BEM are analyzed to identify some common aspects and to fulfill their respective objectives, so that they can be mapped with ‘Enablers’ and ‘Results’ of EFQM.

After business excellence strategy model is developed, it is important to prioritize the strategies identified. Evaluate market competitive position of each factor. Rate and position these factors in the business strength and market attractiveness framework for developing GE-McKinsey nine-box matrix. The positioning is done based on market and business understanding, past experiences, importance of factor etc. Once strategies are prioritized, determine the category for each factor for developing strategic implementation guidelines and set the measurable objectives. Analyze this matrix in timely manner to measure the results. Update, eliminate, add, reposition these strategic areas on the matrix based on achievements.

Evaluation and Conclusion

Businesses always struggle to know how to execute their business models and value propositions successfully to achieve desired objectives (Casadesus-Masanell & Ricart 2010). The approach proposed through this article, can also be adapted by other businesses to implement their business models effectively. A simple strategic analysis tool – SWOT analysis, is used to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with this approach.

Table 1. SWOT analysis of proposed approach (Jarde 2019)

Achieving business excellence through strategy innovation in local food business is about reimagining their own growth strategy through a focused and multi-functional approach. It is not a one action step to achieve something, but it is creating multiple iterations towards achieving operational effectiveness and business excellence.


Casadesus-Masanell, R. & Ricart, J. 2010. From Strategy to Business Models and onto tactics. Long Range Planning 43. pp. 195-215. [Cited 1 Oct 2019]. Available at:

Interreg Baltic Sea Region. 2017. Baltic Sea Food Application Form.

Jarde, S. 2019. Driving Business Excellence in Local Food Business Through Strategy Innovation. Master’s thesis. Lahti University of Applied Sciences. Lahti. [Cited 8 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Lund, M. & Noell, C. 2002. The Balanced Scorecard for Danish Farms – Vague Framework or Functional Instrument? Farm Management. Proceedings of NJF Seminar No. 345. October 2002. Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute. pp. 187-204.

Nielsen C. 2010. Conceptualizing, Analyzing and Communicating the Business Model. Aalborg University. Department of Business Studies. No. 2. 2010. [Cited 18 Nov 2019]. Available at:

Osterwalder, A. & Pigneur, Y. 2010. Business model generation: A handbook for visionaries, game changers, & challengers. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. [Cited 8 Sept 2019]. Available at: https://profesores.virtual.uni&

Porter, M. 1996. What is strategy? Harvard Business review. 1996-2000. The Harvard Business School Publishing. pp. 61-78. [Cited 17 Mar 2019]. Available at:


Dr. Brett Fifield has been actively involved in developing Business Schools for the Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences since 1994. Most recently he has been responsible for courses in Futures and Strategies, Innovation and Creativity, and Leadership and Management of Projects in Distributed Organizations.

Shrusti Jarde has completed Master’s Degree program in International Business Development in 2019.

Illustration: (CC0)

Published 20.11.2019

Reference to this publication

Jarde, S. & Fifield, B. 2019. A Strategic Guide to Business Model Excellence in Local Food Business – Case: Baltic Sea Food Project. LAMK Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at: