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Life behind trophies: what is everyday work like in the "best" workplaces
Eskola, Anne; Hakola, Liinamaaria (2016)
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
authors and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Eskola A., Hakola L., (2016). Life behind trophies: what is everyday work like in the "best" workplaces. , Leading Passion: Motivation and Work in the Post-Industrial Era., Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. URN:NBN:fi:amk-2017081714413
This study explores organizations that have been able to simultaneously combine high job satisfaction with good productivity and profitability. The focus in this study is in the organizations that consciously have rejected many traditional organizational practices and are able to operate profitably while being recognized as the best work places in Finland. This study aims at describing the ways of working and management practices in these organizations. This study was realized as a multiple case study involving three companies in the information technology business. The data was collected using theme interviews and there are five interviews altogether. The data was analyzed by classifying it according to the themes. The analysis produced a description of the ways of working in organizations which have abandoned the traditional management practices. The organizations in the study have consciously removed rigid hierarchies and organizational charts and replaced them with a systemic organization. The organizational culture is free. The ways of working in these award-winning organizations lean on continuous learning and improvement, customer orientation and collaborative development. These companies continuously ensure that they are on the right track in customer projects and they let employees take initiative and responsibility. Studied organizations have only a minimal amount of administration and they have consciously given up pursuing order and control. This is reflected in the ways of working both externally and internally. A strong sensemaking is also a distinct feature; it requires interaction and social interaction is in a remarkable role in these organizations. The importance of shared objectives is recognized and people are brought together to figure out the shared purpose. Usually the work happens in self-organized teams. The importance of productivity and profitability was highlighted in the data, but they did not represent the aim of the organizations as such. They seem to emerge as a by-product when the other, more important conditions prevail. The most important conditions are the satisfaction of employees and customers. The key themes identified in the data are: trust, influence and equality, appreciation of diversity and shared objectives. They can be seen affecting the job satisfaction of employees. The satisfaction of customers is ultimately ensured in one company giving customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This reflects the fact how serious these companies are with customer orientation. Thus, customer orientation is not verbiage at all - everyone knows that customer satisfaction is always very important and doing great job is demanded from everybody. Even though the primary target is not formulated as any financial measure, it seems obvious that an employee´s billing rate is an important indicator of company performance. Ultimately, it ensures the financial success of the company. These organizations show that successful business is possible even during poor financial times and that there are alternative ways of running a company instead of traditional management practices. The important question in the future is how to expand, execute integration processes and still maintain these features without becoming a rigid corporation. Therefore these organizations continue to be intriguing targets for study also in the future. en