Henna Syrjälä

Senior Researcher

Tilte of Docent, D. Sc. (Econ & Bus. Adm.)
School of Marketing and Communication, Marketing
+358 29 449 8483
Wolffintie 34, 65200 Vaasa
Ankkuri 1. floor

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Current and previous projects

I am an Associate Professor in Marketing, and hold the Title of Docent in University of Helsinki in Consumer Economics. Currently, I lead sub-project of University of Vaasa as well as one of the workpackages in the consortium decarbon-home that is funded by Strategic Research Council. The key idea of the project is to support socially equitable climate-wise housing and construction. Our workpackage conctrates especially on citizen agency. The consotium is lead by University of Helsinki and other partners are Syke, Luke and TalTech.

Furthermore, I manage projects "Consumers' everyday practices as bellwethers for digitalization", and marketing sid of the "Place sexiness of the rural"

Priorly, I was a project manager in "Co-Creative Snacks – Gamification as a Tool for Developing Snacks Products" –project that was funded by Tekes (The Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation). In this project, we examined the everyday consumption practices related to snacking and playing digital games. The aim was to provide tools, such as gamification and social media usage, for growth and development of the snacking sector. The core idea was to support consumption of healthy snacks. The project was carried out in co-operation with University of Turku (Functional Foods Forum and Technology Research Center) and several central Finnish food companies.

Previously I have worked in a project "Consumers and Responsibility as Business innovators", funded by the Academy of Finland. In this project, we studied from several – fresh – angles the meanings and practices of responsibility in our consumer culture. For instance we elaborated the meanings of necessity consumption, anti-consumption practices and consumption in poverty.

I wrote my doctoral thesis on pet-related consumption; especially, I was interested in the many ways pets provide consumers with the chances for identity construction. After my defense, I worked in a Tekes-funded project "Petnets – Orchestring Networks for Better Pet Services" in University of Helsinki, in Consumer Economics.



I teach Master-level courses:

Cultural Consumer Marketing

Qualitative Methods in Marketing Research

Responsible Decision Making in Business

Master thesis in Marketing Management


For Phd-students:

Consumer Marketing



My research interests revolve around two acronyms: CCT (Consumer Culture Theory) and TCR (Transformative Consumer Research). This means that from the theoretical viewpoint I am interested in examining transformations that take place within cultures, communities and in individuals as a part of larger collectives (e.g. Syrjälä, 2016), and/or that ideologically I aim to study areas that have potential and/or need to transform the lives of consumers for better, examples include poor circumstances (e.g. Leipämaa-Leskinen, Syrjälä, Laaksonen, 2014; Syrjälä, Leipämaa-Leskinen & Laaksonen, 2014), and young consumers (e.g. Syrjälä, Leipämaa-Leskinen & Laaksonen, 2015) or elder care centers (von Koskull, Skålén & Syrjälä, 2016). It seems that I am usually entwined with pondering things that are "in flux", "in constant shift" or "changing process". Especially, as a marketing researcher, I direct my attention to research ideas that enable innovating and developing business such as service design in a way that is grounded on profound understanding on consumers' mundane practices and meaning-making (e.g. Jaskari, Leipämaa-Leskinen, Syrjälä, 2015; Syrjälä, Kuismin, Kylkilahti & Autio, 2014; Syrjälä et al., 2017). Methodologically, I have employed a variety of tools, although qualitative methods ranging from (auto/n)ethnographic and practice-based studies to interviews and narratives are most suitable for the culturally-oriented research questions that I am mostly interested in. In particular, one of my key expertise area is autoethnography, which I have developed towards its utilization in digitalized settings (Syrjälä & Norrgrann, 2018). Some of my key topics include pet-related consumption, consumption in poverty, responsible consumption, games and gamification, youth consumption and food consumption, and theoretical discussions such as consumer identity, (non)human agency, anti-consumption and consumer empowerment, everyday practices, consumer communities, spatial aspects of consumption, and value co-creation.

Our research group: Consumption Research and Customer Value Creation


Some of my key studies

  • Honkaniemi, Tuomas, Syrjälä, Henna, Lundström, Niklas & Rajala, Arto (2021). Neolocalism and beyond: Sexing up rural places. Rural Sociology, 86(2), 326-356. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ruso.12368
  • Wünderlich, Nancy, Mosteller, Jill, Beverland, Michael, Downey, Hilary, Kraus, Karen, Lin, Meng-Hsien (Jenny), & Syrjälä, Henna (2021, onlinefirst). Animals in our Lives: An Interactive Well-Being Perspective. Journal of Macromarketing. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0276146720984815
  • Syrjälä, Henna, Hannele Kauppinen-Räisänen, Harri T. Luomala, Tapani N. Joelsson, Kaisa Könnölä & Tuomas Mäkilä (2020). Gamified package: Consumer insights into multidimensional brand engagement. Journal of Business Research, 199, 423-434. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.11.089
  • Alhonnoro, Lotta, Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen & Henna Syrjälä (2020). Distributed agency in food waste – A focus on non-human actors in retail setting. In Elina Närvänen, Nina Mesiranta, Malla Mattila and Anna Heikkinen (Eds.). Food Waste Management: Solving the Wicked Problem. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Syrjälä, Henna & Anu Norrgrann (2019). "When your dog matches your decor". Object agency of living and non-living entities in home assemblage. In Domen Bajde, Dannie Kjedgaard, and Russell Belk (Eds.). Consumer Culture Theory: Research in Consumer Behavior. Emerald Group Publishing Limited: Bingley, UK, 20, 39-54. https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/S0885-211120190000020006?af=R

Selected for publication in an edited volume of the best papers from the 2018 Consumer Culture Theory Conference.

  • Syrjälä, Henna, Luomala, Harri & Autio Minna (2017). Fluidity of places in everyday food consumption: Introducing snackscapes. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 41(6), 761-768. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijcs.12389
  • Syrjälä, Henna, Tapani N. Joelsson, Kaisa Könnölä, Harri T. Luomala, Saara Lundén, Mari Sandell & Tuomas Mäkilä (2017). Foodscapeista gamescapeiksi: Välipalat pelaamiskäytännöissä. [From foodscapes to gamescapes: Snacks in the game playing practices]. Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja, 32-48. Toim. Koskimaa, Raine, Jonne Arjoranta, Usva Friman, Frans Mäyrä, Olli Sotamaa, Jaakko Suominen. Suomen Pelitutkimuksen seura ry: Tampere. http://www.pelitutkimus.fi/vuosikirja2017/foodscapeista-gamescapeiksi-valipalat-pelaamiskaytannoissa
  • Syrjälä, Henna (2016). Turning point of transformation: Consumer communities, identity projects and becoming a serious dog hobbyist. Journal of Business Research, 69 (1), 177–190. DOI:10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.07.031
  • Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen, Henna Syrjälä & Pirjo Laaksonen (2016). Conceptualizing non-voluntary anti-consumption: A practice-based study on market resistance in poor circumstances. Journal of Consumer Culture, 16 (1), 255-278. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1469540514521082
  • Syrjälä, Henna, Minna-Maarit Jaskari & Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen (2016). Object agency of a living/non-living entity: The case of horse/horsemeat. In Diego Rinallo, Nil Özça?lar-Toulous and Russell Belk (Eds.). Consumer Culture Theory: Research in Consumer Behavior. Emerald Group Publishing Limited: Bingley, UK, 18, 65- 92. DOI: 10.1108/S0885-211120160000018005

Selected for publication in an edited volume of the best papers from the 2016 Consumer Culture Theory Conference.

  • Kylkilahti, Eliisa, Syrjälä, Henna, Autio, Jaakko, Autio, Minna & Kuismin, Ari (2016). Understanding co-consumption between consumers and their pets. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40 (1), 125-131. DOI: 10.1111/ijcs.12230
  • Jaskari, Minna-Maarit, Leipämaa-Leskinen, Hanna & Syrjälä, Henna (2015). Have you ever eaten horsemeat? Illustrating paradoxes of horsemeat consumption in Finland. In Film Festival of the Association for Consumer Research, North American Conference, New Orleans, 1-4.10.2015. https://vimeo.com/131649443

  • Syrjälä, Henna, Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen & Pirjo Laaksonen (2014). Money Talks: Reproducing deprivation and empowerment in poverty through discursive practices. In John W. Schouten, Diane M. Martin and Russell Belk (Eds.). Consumer Culture Theory: Research in Consumer Behavior, 16, 155-172. Emerald Group Publishing Limited: Bingley, UK. DOI: 10.1108/S0885-211120140000016008

Selected for publication in an edited volume of the best papers from the 2014 Consumer Culture Theory Conference.

  • Jyrinki, Henna (2012). Pet-Related Consumption as a Consumer Identity Constructor. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 36, 114-120.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2011.00995.x

More of my publications: ResearchGate; GoogleScholar

Publications and expert tasks

» SoleCRIS Research Database