DBA Dissertation: Learning to Resolve Interpersonal Conflicts more Efficiently through Transformational Leadership: A Study on Coaching

On November 23, 2018, Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff, MA (Education), will defend her dissertation completed under the Aalto Executive DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program.

Photo: Anu Buri


Lue suomeksi.

Interpersonal conflicts occur everywhere, in every organization, every day. And these conflicts can only increase with the transformation of business models, mergers and acquisitions, organizational turnarounds, and digitalization and robotics.

The dissertation by Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff investigates how leaders orient themselves when they encounter interpersonal conflicts and asks how they negotiate engagement and avoidance when called upon to resolve and manage such conflicts. It is drawn from a study carried out using action research to observe the development of three different leaders over different periods of time. In particular, it explores how leaders can be supported in their self-development and learning on conflict management through coaching, using the underlying concept of transformational leadership.

Based on the research findings, the study argues that transformational leadership as a concept is an unattainable goal for most leaders. But it is an important ideal, and the style of transformational leadership can be taught and learned. Adopting transformational leadership styles and striving for the ideal will not only greatly benefit the individuals involved in conflict situations, it will also benefit their organizations and the overall wellbeing of the people in them.

Based on the study, leaders’ development needs in the field of conflict management are evident; conflict evasion is typical due to the discomfort of conflict situations and leaders need practice and a mindset change to face them. Future leaders’ pivotal skills include understanding people, their feelings and behaviors together with the willingness to develop their own self-awareness.      

Defense of DBA dissertation

The DBA dissertation of Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff, MA (Education) ”Learning to Resolve Interpersonal Conflicts More Efficiently through Transformational Leadership: A Study on Coaching" is examined by Aalto University School of Business at 12.00 on Friday November 23rd, 2018 in the Aalto EE’s premises at the main building of the Aalto University School of Business. Address is Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki.

Professor Henrikki Tikkanen of Aalto University School of Business acts as the custos and Assistant Professor Joel Hietanen of Helsinki University and Dr. Kerttu Kettunen of Turku School of Economics are the opponents.

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 

Tha dissertation can be read in digital format from Aalto University publication series.


Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff
Coach, MA (Education)
Tel. +358 50 357 3549

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

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