Dr. Tuija Mainela, University of Oulu, Finland
Question: What are your key areas of research?
Tuija Mainela: I think that I’m like the Finnish society that has historically stood on two legs, one being a
wooden one and one of steel (even though other industries are nowadays very important
too). My research “legs” are international entrepreneurship and business networks and I
operate a lot in both research areas. On the IE side, the concept of opportunity was drawn
to my attention by my husband, who is an entrepreneurship researcher, and about 15 years
I have worked with the concept of international opportunity. I’m also very interested in
process research and have searched for understanding internationalization as a process
over time. On the business network side, I have contributed to industrial marketing and
purchasing research with emphases such as social networks, interpersonal interactions,
and strategizing practices. An individual as a person taking the action in business making
is probably the most persistent theme traveling through my research.
Question: What are you currently working on?
Tuija Mainela: I’m currently leading a strategic research project in human sciences at the University of
Oulu in which we look at the transformations within healthcare systems that struggle with
the pressures created by growing elderly populations and increasing chronic illnesses as
well as lack of professionals. International collaborations, international innovation
networks as well as leadership and technological developments that can support the
solving of the pressing challenges are at the core of this project. Moreover, I have got a
wonderful opportunity to work with colleagues on historical materials on the Finnish
forest industry firms to uncover their internationalization and entrepreneurial processes
over decades. As a third project can be named the research aiming to understand social
media in international entrepreneurship, not as a channel for sales, but as a platform for
constructing what IE could and should be in a responsible society.
Question: What is your take about the ie.scholarly community?
Tuija Mainela: IE community is a great community to which I identify myself the most even though have
traveled several routes during my career. I believe I entered the IE community when as an
IB doctoral student got an opportunity to participate the European Doctoral Programme in
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management that was organized by Professor
Veciana at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona together with Professor Johannisson at
the University of Växjö. I became fascinated by entrepreneurship research and built it a
bit already to my IB doctoral thesis. Then somewhat later I participated McGill IE
Conferences and noticed the community to be open-minded, innovative, and full of
enthusiastic people whom I love to meet in various occasions.
Question: What are your hobbies?
Tuija Mainela: I’ll do primarily sports. This year I have rather systematically gone to gym, to a dance
class and to a yoga class, and I also ride about once a week. I used ride much more as I
owned a horse about 15 years but now my daughter has the main responsibility of the
horse that we presently rent from a friend. Of my sports, riding is the most relaxing; when
you are with the horse, you cannot think about anything else than the connection that you
are able (and sometimes not able) to build with it. I also participate a lot the hobbies of
my daughters often working as a volunteer in the associations they belong to. On holidays
I prefer to travel a little bit farther away from home to escape the everyday routines.
Question: Where will we see you next?
Tuija Mainela: In August, I will participate the 17th Vaasa International Business Conference at the
University of Vaasa in Finland and the 27th McGill IE Conference at the Linnaeus
University in Sweden. In both, I will be involved with the doctoral tutorials too. In
December, I will go to Lisbon to the 49th EIBA Conference. I’m a newly elected
representative of Finland in the EIBA Board and look forward to getting to know EIBA
from that side too. EIBA is a nice conference from the IE scholars viewpoint as it has
tended to have a large track on International Entrepreneurship.