The Finnish Commerce Federation and Hannu Saarijärvi, Professor or Service and Retailing at the University of Tampere, are initiating a new type of research cooperation which will benefit companies in the commercial industry, academic research, and commercial industry education. The Finnish Commerce Federation is introducing questions that currently puzzle companies as subjects for research to the academic community. Professor Saarijärvi and the University of Tampere, in turn, bring academic expertise in the more detailed planning of the research and the interpretation of the results.

The Finnish Commerce Federation, in cooperation with scientists, will gather research materials from topical themes with the use of, for instance, consumer surveys, and compile them into summaries and interpretations which the members can quickly utilise. The Federation will also provide Hannu Saarijärvi, Professor of Service and Retailing at the University of Tampere, and his research unit with the collected materials for academic research. The materials will be anonymous and no individual people or organisations can be identified from them.

The new operational model is based on the wish of the Finnish Commerce Federation and the University of Tampere to cooperate in an open-minded and straightforward manner.

"This age requires new types of experiments, between business life and universities as well. With the research cooperation, key phenomena in the commercial industry can be studied even closer in a sociological framework. At the moment, commercial discussion is too marginalised around the competitive methods of commerce," says Professor Saarijärvi.

"Due to the cooperation, we are also able to observe commercial phenomena that are central to society quicker than before. This has significant practical and theoretical potential. From the university's perspective, this will be an excellent addition to the traditional methods of research, often guided by relatively heavy and slow study searches. In addition, commercial materials collected in Finland can be utilised in teaching," continues Saarijärvi.

Companies need information quickly and cannot wait for the results, whereas a traditional scientific research project may well take two years. It is also important to the companies that research subjects are considered relevant for practical business.

"Our cooperation with the research unit of Professor Saarijärvi will serve both the companies' need to have quick access to information and the longer research and publication processes of the academic world," says Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation.

The cooperation will begin this autumn with research projects regarding sharing economy and the purchase processes of consumers.

Kurjenoja finds it important to realise the cooperation with the University of Tampere without bureaucratic projects for which separate public funding must be applied.

"The Finnish Commerce Federation brings the companies and the academic world together as this benefits everyone. No tax money is needed for this," states Kurjenoja.

More information:

Hannu Saarijärvi, Professor of Service and Retailing, School of Management, University of Tampere, tel. +358 (0)40 535 1369, hannu.saarijarvi(at)uta.fi

Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)40 820 5378, jaana.kurjenoja(at)kauppa.fi

The Finnish Commerce Federation represents commerce—the largest sector of economic life.Commerce employs around 300,000 people in Finland. The Federation has around 7,000 member companies and represents both retail and wholesale commerce in industry policy and labour market lobbying. www.kauppa.fi