Liiketoiminnan transformaation tuottaneet toimijaryhmät : Kemira GrowHow'n synty

Matti Virkki

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

The subject of my research is the transformation of the dominant business unit of the Kemira Corporation, a Finnish chemical company. As a result of the transformation, the fertilizer business was ultimately separated from the corporation under the name Kemira GrowHow and listed on the stock exchange. At the core of the transformation was the creation of a networkbased business offering out of a traditional functional organization. Dozens of partners joined in the development of the services and tens of thousands of farmers became the users. A collaborative network that expanded and deepened relationships among the actors was developed between the service developers and service users. To build up this network-based business, the middle management of the business unit founded new companies and initiated co-development with the support of a shared internet-based data and communication system. The establishment of GrowHow was clearly a radical and historically significant example of a transformation of the dominant business of a corporation.


The case of GrowHow shows that middle management can transform a business with solution models that it has itself developed, without a support person in corporate management. In devising a mechanism to explain the emergence of Kemira GrowHow, I have approached the phenomenon from the perspective of critical realism by elaborating the situational context at three levels. On the first level, I have identified four actor groups and their arenas of action and four solution models. On the second level, I have elaborated the praxis of the three actor groups that created their distinctive solution models and the chains of events related to the efforts of the fourth group to sell the business concept and mode of operation to corporate management. On the third level, I have further analyzed the process of selling the new business concept to corporate management and identified the means developed by middle management for handling confrontations with corporate management and owners. Hence, the mechanism for explaining the emergence of GrowHow goes back to development of the praxis of the actor groups mobilized by middle management and the competencies used in selling the issue to corporate-level decision-makers. Researchers have seldom discovered what kind of collective learning was required to create solution models for a new business concept. The case of GrowHow provided an opportunity for this. I took part in the development work conducted by management at the corporate, division, and business unit levels for 15 years, during which time I collected material on the history of the event. The principal material for this research consists of the knowledge and experience of 12 key individuals who took part in the development of the network. The case of GrowHow shows that an explanation for a business transformation can be attributed to the level of the unique collaborative learning process of the actor groups that created the solution models.
Original languageFinnish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Lilja, Kari, Supervising Professor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4841-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4842-0
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

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