DBA dissertation by Eeva Ahdekivi: Non-profits are a type of investor that stabilizes capital markets


On 23 September 2016, Eeva Ahdekivi (M.Sc.Econ.), Managing Director at Hartwall Capital Oy Ab, defended her dissertation completed under the Aalto Executive DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program. The subject of her DBA dissertation is the interactions between non-profit finance, governance and investments. Her groundbreaking DBA dissertation complements research on the financial industry, by engaging in the world's first empirical documentation of the behavior of non-profit investors.

The study demonstrates a connection between the governance and financing base of non-profit organizations, showing that non-profits reliant on external financing (e.g. non-profits funded by donations, business activities or public funds) concentrate less decision-making authority with their boards of trustees than those active on the stock markets.

Another important finding shows that non-profit investors can operate with a long-run focus in capital markets and carry relatively large risk positions in their equity portfolios. Non-profits engage in less stock trading than the other types of investors, such as equity mutual funds and pension funds, investigated in previous studies. They also tend to hold onto individual stocks, not just so-called legacy assets, for long periods. Non-profits may also take a strong view regarding their investments (rather than simply tracking the composition of a market index) and bear significant investment risks in their equity portfolios.

“Because investment regulations, short-term reporting obligations and pressure to win customers do not apply to non-profit organizations, they can operate independently on the stock market and balance occasional abnormal market movements," says Eeva Ahdekivi.

Non-profits are of growing economic importance to society

The study is divided into two parts. The first part explores the connections between a non-profit's financing base and chosen form of governance, using material from 890 non-profits. The second part utilizes anonymous equity portfolio data provided by 530 non-profit organizations, covering the years 2000-2013.

The research opens up new approaches to the economic study of non-profits. The third sector is of growing importance to society and non-profits are accumulating substantial assets, which is turning them into economic players.

In her DBA research, Eeva Ahdekivi drew on her experience with various ownership types in the financial and investment industry. Prior to her current position as a Managing Director, she has worked in investment banks, Pohjola Asset Management Ltd and as an investment director in the state-owned investment company Solidium Ltd.

Defense of DBA dissertation

The DBA dissertation of Eeva Ahdekivi (M.Sc.Econ.) "Interactions between Non-Profit Finance, Governance and Investments" was examined by Aalto University School of Business at 1 pm on Friday 23 September 2016 in the Nelimarkka hall (Floor 2, A-wing) in the main building of the Aalto University School of Business, on the premises of Aalto University Executive Education.

Professor Seppo Ikäheimo of Aalto University School of Business acted as the custos and Professor Steen Thomsen of Copenhagen Business School were the opponent.

What is the Aalto Executive DBA - Doctor of Business Administration program?

The Aalto Executive DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program is designed for experienced executives who wish to complete a doctoral degree alongside their work.  This working-life oriented program involves applied research. The DBA, which is recognized around the world, is offered by several leading institutions, such as Harvard Business School.

Like the Aalto Executive MBA and Aalto MBA degree programs, the DBA is not part of the Finnish degree system. However, it is conferred by the accredited Aalto University School of Business. The Aalto Executive DBA program can be completed, alongside work, in three to six years. This fee-based program was launched at the beginning of 2013.

Henrikki Tikkanen, Professor of Marketing at Aalto University, is the academic director of the DBA program.

DBA dissertation orders and inquiries  

The DBA dissertation can be read in electronical format in Aalto University Library pages »

Eeva Ahdekivi
Managing Director at Hartwall Capital Oy Ab
Tel. +358 50 5235840

Additional information

Mikko Laukkanen
Academic Director, D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus.Adm.), Aalto University Executive Education
Tel. +358 10 837 3732

Henrikki Tikkanen
Professor, D.Sc. (Econ.), Aalto University
Tel. +358 50 5734174

Program website

Aalto University Executive Education Ltd

Aalto University Executive Education Ltd offers high-quality leadership development services (Aalto EE), professional development services for specialists and managers (Aalto PRO) and creative solutions covering the whole life cycle of entrepreneurship (Aalto ENT). Aalto University brings to our offering a multidisciplinary approach, together with innovative learning methods; this provides a unique combination of practical expertise with the latest research.

Aalto University Executive Education’s strengths lie in its global operating model and diverse offering. In addition to Finland and Singapore, Aalto University Executive Education offers education programs in China, Indonesia, Iran, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and the Baltic countries. As a part of Aalto University, it holds three respected business university accreditations – AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS – which places it among the top 0.5% of institutions in the world.