From survival to renewal: Managing learning and innovation in a workplace crisis – UUDIS

The ability of an organization to learn and produce new ideas is emphasized during a time of crisis. This study highlights the factors that have helped educational workplaces to maintain their functional capacity in a crisis situation, as well as the solutions that have been desired or developed during the crisis.
Kolme henkilöä keskustelevat vakavin ilmein.




When a work community faces crises, it is important to be able to renew and innovate new ways of working at the individual, group and organizational level. We study the management of the reform of work practices during a crisis situation in the educational sector. The study can help in solving future crises by providing information and the means to successfully focus on the development of operations and to quickly move from the survival phase to renewal.

The objectives of the study are:

  • To produce research data on the requirements of cognitive work in times of crisis, especially on the characteristics of cognitive work tasks and the experiences of stress which a crisis can exacerbate.
  • To produce new understanding on the connection between leadership and well-being in a work community that faces a crisis.
  • To produce new understanding of the factors of leadership that promote innovation and learning in a crisis.
  • To identify development targets for leadership that promotes innovation and learning in a crisis and to provide recommendations for action at the individual, team and organizational level.

Data and methods

The study is based on data collected during the pandemic, as well as new interview data. The FIOH substudies utilize survey data collected during the pandemic, including the Cognitive Demand Survey and longitudinal data from the Kunta10 survey.  In addition, education sector survey data by the University of Vaasa from the pandemic period is used, and new interview data will be collected. 



Results and impact

The results will highlight the obstacles and opportunities connected to the functional capacity of Finnish work life in challenging situations. In future crises, the results can be used to facilitate the rapid innovation and learning of new solutions in a sustainable way, so that the work pressure created by the crisis and the strain associated with learning and developing remain reasonable and under control.

The project will produce practical policy recommendations, especially for the education sector. the recommendations can also be directly applied to other sectors of expert work that is independent in nature, involves responsibility, is characterized by a high level of interaction with clients (such as students) and operating in digital work environments. On the level of the workplace, the recommended measures can help supervisors identify their own role in providing support and promoting innovation and learning.

We will organize two workshops in April 2024 for further processing of the recommended practical measures for supporting leadership and supervisory work. The workshops are intended for supervisors, managers and teaching staff, as well as planners and experts of management practices in educational institutions, organizations and educational administration. 

Inquiries: Senior Specialist Sari Käpykangas, firstname.lastname [at] (firstname[dot]lastname[at]ttl[dot]fi)

Study group

Virpi Kalakoski, Research Manager, Project Manager

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health UUDIS group: Maarit Kauppi, Research Manager; Heidi Lahti, Researcher; Sari Käpykangas, Senior Specialist; Susanna Kalavainen, Leading Consultant; Hilpi Kangas, Specialist Researcher.


The UUDIS study is carried out by a research consortium of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Vaasa.

The University of Vaasa sub-study is managed by:

Postdoctoral Researcher Laura Urrila

University of Vaasa, School of Management, Human Resource Management Research Group

laura.urrila [at] (laura[dot]urrila[at]uwasa[dot]fi)

The LEADIS research team:


Finnish Work Environment Fund, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, University of Vaasa

Contact our experts

Henkilökuva Virpi Kalakoski

Virpi Kalakoski

virpi.kalakoski [at]
+358 30 474 2242