A PhD position on Strategic Resources in Worker Cooperatives

The Ruralia Institute of the University of Helsinki is offering a three-year PhD position on the STRAWOCO-project, which studies how worker cooperatives manage strategic resources.

Worker cooperatives are a paragon of worker democracy, and thus, hold a potential of working as a cornerstone of sustainable economy. During recent years, these organizations have been suggested as a solution to decreasing work precariousness, as platform organizations such as Uber have replaced permanent employment contracts with gig work in many industries. However, previous research presents contradictory views on worker cooperatives´ capabilities to create and manage strategic resources to survive in the increasing competition.

As a doctoral researcher you will use qualitative methods to study how Finnish and Dutch worker cooperatives build and manage strategic resources. The supervision of the thesis will be done in collaboration between University of Helsinki and Utrecht University. Therefore, during your doctoral thesis trajectory, you will travel for a research visit to Utrecht University to study the local worker cooperatives. The international collaboration allows you to build networks in two top European universities, and thus, is an excellent basis for starting and promoting a career in research.

Profile of the applicant

We seek a highly qualified and motivated doctoral student. We expect you to

  • have a relevant master´s degree (e.g., business administration, management, sociology, or innovation studies),
  • have an interest or preferably proven experience in utilizing qualitative methods, and
  • have excellent oral and writing skills in English

Also, Finnish, and Dutch language skills and former affinity with cooperatives are considered as merits in the application.

Salary and benefits

The first two years and four months of the thesis trajectory are funded by a grant from Wihuri Foundation. Additionally, the Ruralia Institute has budgeted funds for eight months salary for a doctoral researcher. Thus, altogether there is funding for three years.

The monthly grant of the Wihuri foundation is 2330 EUR. The applicants should read the documentation related to the pension and insurance as these will affect the net amount of the grant. However, the grant is mostly exempt of taxes (see the links at the end of the ad).

The working space and equipment will be provided by the university. The workplace is primarily at the Ruralia Institute´s Mikkeli office or in the office located in the premises of Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry in Viikki in Helsinki. However, different kinds of hybrid and remote work arrangements are possible based on common agreement. The research visit to Utrecht University will be facilitated by the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development.

About the organization

You will work at the research group on Sustainable Economy and Cooperatives, which is led by University Researcher Taneli Vaskelainen. The research group examines how and in which conditions alternative organizational forms, especially cooperatives, can contribute to a more socially and environmentally sustainable economy.

The group operates in the Ruralia Institute of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of University of Helsinki. The institute offers high-quality research and innovation partnerships for rural development. The focus areas of the Institute are local development, sustainable food systems and new bioeconomy. The Institute performs extensive international, national, and regional cooperation with about 50 experts in the University Consortiums of Mikkeli and Seinäjoki.

The University of Helsinki is a community of research, learning and bold thinking. We work to solve the big challenges of the world through basic research, curiosity, and cooperation. Together, for the world! We employ ca 8,000 experts of teaching and research, as well as various specialists and support staff. We value responsibility and want to be the best possible employer for our staff.

How to apply

Applicants are requested to enclose with their application the following documents in English:

  1. A cover letter explaining the applicant’s motivation and qualifications for the position.
  2. Curriculum vitae (CV) showing your education, completed qualifications, methodological skills, work experience, possible list of publications and contact details of 2 referees (up to 3 pages).
  3. Copies of Master's and Bachelor's degree certificates and official transcripts of the records, and their translations, if the originals are not in Finnish, Swedish or English.
  4. Two samples of your writing, for example a sample of your master´s thesis or an essay or case study completed during your studies.

All attachments should be packaged to a single pdf file that is named as follows: STRAWOCO_surname_first name and submitted to ruralia-instituutti(at)helsinki.fi by 5 March 2023 at 23.59.

Additional information

For more information, please contact
General information for international candidates

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