Call for applications: Further analysis of the MEADOW data

In 2012–2014, Tekes funded a survey that utilised extensive employer and employee interviews to examine topics such as the innovativeness and renewal of Finnish companies and public sector organisations, work and organisational practices, and how employees relate to their work and changes in that work.
Application period: Wed 10.09.2014 - Fri 17.10.2014

The survey was conducted according to a concept created in the MEADOW project (Measuring the Dynamics of Organisation and Work) 2012–2014, which was funded by the EU. The interview data was combined with register data from Statistics Finland. Based on the Finnish MEADOW survey, two reports have been published as Tekes surveys (the third report will be published in September 2014). Tekes is opening a call for applications that seeks new competence based on further analyses of the data. These analyses should contribute to the development of Tekes' proactive operation and innovation funding activities and, in particular, to the development of the Tekes Liideri – Business, Productivity and Joy at Work programme and the Working Life 2020 project coordinated by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

The call for applications is directed at universities, research institutes and polytechnics.

Based on the applications received, a maximum of EUR 500,000 will be allocated to public research projects.

Content description for the call for applications  

General objectives

Tekes funds and activates challenging research projects, development projects and innovation activities in companies, universities, polytechnics (universities of applied science) and research institutes. Our activities promote the international competitiveness of a company, assist the growth of both production and exports, and build a base for employment and social wellbeing. The call for applications is seeking new competence that is based on analysis of the MEADOW data, which will help Tekes to develop and renew its proactive and innovation funding activities in order to reach these objectives.

The objective of the Liideri – Business, Productivity and Joy at Work programme, launched in 2012, is to assist companies in renewing their business by developing management, forms of working and employee competence. The three focuses of the Liideri programme are management practices aimed at turning personnel initiative and creativity into a competitive edge, employee participation in innovation and new forms of working. The call for applications is seeking new competence based on analysis of the MEADOW data, which will help Tekes to develop and renew the activities, services and actual focus areas of the Liideri programme.

The vision of the Working Life 2020 project coordinated by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy is to make working life in Finland the best in Europe by 2020. Four focus areas are being used to improve Finnish working life: innovation and productivity, trust and cooperation, health and wellbeing at work, and a skilled workforce. The call for applications is seeking new competence based on analysis of the MEADOW data, which will help the Working Life 2020 project and its actors to develop and renew their activities to support achievement of the vision. http://www.tyoelama2020.fi/ (in Finnish)

MEADOW interview data

The data in the MEADOW survey consists of employer and employee interviews. Employer interviews were carried out in March–June 2012. They consist of 1,531 telephone interviews (net response: 76%). For the private sector, company was used as the unit of data collection. The number of interviews in industrial companies was 540 and in service companies 599. In the public sector, the corresponding units of data collection were either government office (N=136) or parish (N=134) and in the municipal sector – depending on the case – either municipality as a whole (N=62), administrative unit (N=124) or federation of municipalities (N=66). Growth companies were handled as a separate sampling unit (N=209). Companies whose staff had increased on average at least 15 percent annually in 2007–10 were defined as growth companies. The interviews were directed only to employer units who had at least 10 employees.

Employee interviews of the employer units whose management representative had been interviewed were carried out in September–December 2012. The employees to be interviewed were randomly selected from these units, based on the register data. The number of interviews carried out per unit was one or two depending on the size of the employer unit. The total number of interviews amounted to 1,711. Their distribution by sector was the following: industrial companies (N=591), service companies (N=502), municipal sector (N=315), state sector (N=170) and parishes (N=133). The employees interviewed do not, therefore, represent random sampling of all Finland's wage earners. The sample excludes, among others, those working in employer units of less than 10 persons and those who have worked less than 1.5 years in the unit in question. The purpose of the employee interviews was not to provide a statistically representative picture of the working conditions of Finnish employees, but to supplement the information that was obtained from register data and employer interviews about the employer units that were the target of the survey. For this reason, only people who had worked in the designated employer unit for at least a certain minimum period of time were selected as information providers from the employee side.

Two reports about the Tekes-funded project in which the data was compiled project have been published as Tekes surveys (a third report will be published in September 2014). In these reports, the interview data was combined with register data from Statistics Finland.

Report 1 (Tekes survey 299/2013, in Finnish) contains basic reporting of employer interview data, for example, according to the sector, industry and size of the employer unit. Based on an innovativeness classification system developed by the researchers, the report also examines how innovative organisations differ from others, how growth companies differ from others and how export companies differ from others.

Report 2 (Tekes survey 300/2013, in Finnish) contains basic reporting of employee interview data, for example, according to the sector, industry, size and innovativeness of the employer unit. Many sections of the report separate respondents who in a supervisor and non-supervisor role. The analyses also combine employer and employee data with each other.

Based on combinations of employer and employee data, Report 3 (to be published in September 2014) will contain analyses that classify employer units in terms of implementation of product and service innovation and incidence of work engagement. The report will also examine how common simultaneous occurrence of these elements is in relation to different background variables. The report also analyses the development activity of employer units and the role that employees play in development work. Furthermore, the report groups companies on the basis of latent categories that describe organisational and management practices and determines how these categories are connected to different background variables.  

The interview data is available in the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research, teaching and studying:

FSD2954 Työelämän käytännöt 2012: työntekijät (employees)

FSD2955 Työelämän käytännöt 2012: työnantajat (employers)

The methodology of the Finnish MEADOW project is based on work performed in a project funded by the EU. Research based on the MEADOW methodology has also been conducted in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. http://meadow-project.eu/

Question setting

Tekes does not want to specify unequivocal research questions for which it is seeking answers on the basis of the call. However, the studies that receive funding must, in as diverse a manner as possible, strive to produce new competence that generally serves Tekes activities and, in particular, development of the Tekes Liideri programme and the Working Life 2020 project coordinated by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

The following group of questions provide some direction concerning the issues to which new competence could be linked.

  •  How are the different work, organisational and management practices that describe the employer unit connected to the company's financial and/or operational indicators?
  • How is a company's innovation activity linked to the company's financial and/or operational indicators?
  • How are work engagement or other factors that describe personnel wellbeing or a company's social performance linked to the company's financial and/or operational indicators?
  • How are the different work, organisational and management practices that describe the employer unit connected to the wellbeing of the company's personnel or other indicators that describe social performance?
  • Do the above-mentioned links vary, and how do they vary in different company categories (e.g. sector, industry, size, growth orientation, export orientation)?
  • How are different innovations and organisational and operational renewals connected to each other in the employer units? Is it possible to identify innovation or change strategies that clearly differ from each other? What links can be found between different innovation and change strategies and the employer unit's financial/operational and social performance?
  • How can we gain a greater understanding of the areas that were the target of the employer and employee interviews and reported in the first two MEADOW research publications, for example, the use of workforce, personnel policy, utilisation of social media, cooperation and outsourcing, use of consultants, learning and development at work, the social functionality of the work community, etc.?

Application period and funding volume

The application process will be implemented in one phase, and funding will be granted to the projects that best fulfil the selection criteria (an estimated 3-4 projects), however, so that the overall entity formed by the approved projects covers the key focus areas of the Working Life 2020 project as comprehensively as possible. The four focus areas of the project are innovation and productivity, trust and cooperation, health and wellbeing at work, and a skilled workforce.

Applications must be submitted to Tekes during the application period via the Tekes online application system. The applications must be submitted by 17 October 2014 at 23:59 at the latest. In the application form, select "Associated with another entity" and add "MEADOW". The applications will be assessed and funding decisions made by the end of 2014. The approved projects will be part of the Tekes Liideri programme.

Assessment criteria for projects

In case of research organisations, Tekes funding share is generally 60% of the project’s eligible costs. For large project packages involving close international cooperation, Tekes funding share can be 70% of eligible costs.

General Terms and Conditions for Public Research Funding at Tekes

The following aspects will be emphasised when evaluating the research projects:

  • Applicability of the research project to the content of the call for applications
  • Scientific and theoretical grounds of the research questions and the plan that governs them
  • Scientific novelty value of the research results
  • Scientific expertise of the researchers
  • Diversity of research data utilisation (employer interview data, employee interview data, Statistics Finland register data)

Applicants are encouraged to become familiar with the MEADOW data and published reports before submitting their application.

For further information on the call for applications, please contact:

Tuomo Alasoini, tuomo.alasoini (at) tekes.fi, tel. +358 2950 55940

Asko Heikkilä, asko.heikkilä (at) tekes.fi, tel. +358 2950 55943

Elise Ramstad, elise.ramstad (at) tekes.fi, tel. +358 2950 55948   

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