The PAWWS Project

What is PAWWS?

PAWWS develops multidisciplinary collaboration between animal organisation research, veterinary medicine and social and health sciences to promote human and animal well-being in a new and integrated way.

PAWWS demonstrates exceptional novelty by fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration between Animal Organization Studies (AOS), Veterinary Science, and Social and Healthcare Sciences to study human-animal work relationships in novel, groundbreaking, and more integrated ways than has previously been done, focusing on the interests of the dogs who are seen as individuals with their own prior experiences and personalities and that co-work with us humans. PAWWS investigates human-animal relationality and wellbeing at work building on the new field of Animal Organization Studies.

PAWWS involves moving away from the traditional understanding of animals as tools, resources or objects for humans to exploit, towards a posthumanist thinking of particular, ethical forms of relating and co-being with animals at work and in society.

Knowledge and discussion about how we relate to and treat animals, is key to creating more aware organizations and societies. Animals are a marginalized group intimately involved in human societies, even today. Building on the One Health/One Welfare approach and posthuman theorizing as outlined above, the cross-disciplinary project PAWWS develops novel, in-depth knowledge of the interconnections between human and animal wellbeing in human-animal work contexts, including building new guidelines and reforms that aim to promote multispecies wellbeing and ethical treatment of animals.

The Team

Astrid Huopalainen

Aalto University

Astrid Huopalainen works as Assistant Professor (tenure track) in the position of ‘Leadership for Creativity’ at Aalto University (Finland). This position is shared between the Department of Management Studies and the Department of Art and Media. Astrid serves as the Consortium PI of project PAWWS.

She is a qualitative researcher with scholarly expertise in posthumanist perspectives, human-animal relations, ‘more-than-human’ organizing as well as gender- and diversity-related inequalities in organizations. Her previous research interests have included topics that are largely considered marginal in organization theory, and in 2022 she was awarded the Chancellor’s Prize at Åbo Akademi University (Finland) for extending and renewing organization theory.

In project PAWWS, Astrid’s research will develop the emerging scholarly field of Animal Organization Studies especially by drawing on insight from gender- and diversity theorizing, disability studies, artistic research and post-qualitative methodology. Empirically, she will focus on multispecies inequalities at work through multispecies ethnographic methods.

Astrid has published her work, for example, in Human Relations; Organization; Gender, Work and Organization; Culture and Organization; and ephemera. Astrid’s family includes the two fantastic Labrador retrievers Saga and Selma.

Linda Tallberg

University of Lapland

Linda Tallberg works as Senior Lecturer at University of Lapland (Finland). Her research has exclusively focused on human-animal relations in business and society on questions of ethics, care, and justice. Her PhD, “Processing puppies: an animal shelter ethnography” (2014) was the first, and to date only, dissertation on nonhuman animals at her university.

In general, her work revolves around creating a post-anthropocentric agenda in business, management, and organization that includes nonhuman interests and in 2022 Linda set the foundation for a new academic discipline with Lindsay Hamilton in the edited book “The Oxford Handbook of Animal Organization Studies”.

She is an organizational ethnographer, develops multispecies arts-based post-qualitative methods (such as crystallization), and has advanced stakeholder theory, dirty work, emotional labour, human-animal work, as well as business pedagogy – often through feminist, posthuman, and post-anthropocentric lenses to include nonhumans.

In PAWWS, Linda continues to work on these topics and serves as a Principal Investigator. Linda’s published in business journals such as: Journal of Business Ethics; Work, Employment and Society; Journal of Organizational Ethnography; Management Learning, authored several book chapters, and served in editorial roles at human-animal studies journals such as Society & Animals and TRACE. She lives with her companion, Beau, a rescue-dog from the Australian animal shelter in her PhD.

Anna Hielm-Björkman

Helsinki University

Adjunct Professor and senior clinical teacher Anna Hielm-Björkman is an innovative and multidisciplinary researcher and has been PI of a dozen clinical projects at the department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, UH.

Dr Hielm-Björkman is a sought after international speaker on chronic pain, adjunct therapies, dog health and nutrition, and scent detection dog topics. Dr. Hielm-Björkman has been an active member of the Finnish association of pain studies since 2000, she initiated the pain and rehabilitation clinic at the University animal hospital at UH in 2006, she sits on the board of the Finnish Guide dog Association since 2016, she initiated the scent detection dog research in 2016 and initiated the screening of COVID-19 at the Helsinki Airport in 2020, all important for the PAWWS study. She has attracted more than 1 million € in research fundings for her projects.

She has her own research group called DogRisk at the University of Helsinki, with 8 researchers.

Suvi Satama

Aalto University

Suvi Satama works as a Senior Researcher in project PAWWS (at the Department of Management Studies, Aalto University (Finland)) since January 2024. Suvi is a leadership scholar with a background in management and organisation studies. Suvi works within the perspective of organisational aesthetics and embodiment at work, and she draws strongly on approaches that integrate interdisciplinary and creative research. She is excited to research silenced or otherwise untouched research topics, like animals at work, entwined with the theoretical framework of embodiment at work.

Recently, Suvi’s curiosity has led her to studying relational vulnerabilities in contemporary working life. She is interested in applying creative research methods, such as multispecies and visual methods, to the study of organizational phenomena. Her past studies are distinctive in that she has based much of her research ideas on her personal life and empirical observations of those around her.

She has published her work, for example, in Human Relations; Organization; Management Learning; Gender, Work and Organization; Leadership; and Organizational Aesthetics. Suvi has always had love for dogs, and she has kept Golden Retrievers for 20 years. Currently, she has her 15-year-old Golden, Helmi, at home.

The PAWWS project is a dream project for her, as it allows her to combine her expertise on organizational aesthetics and multispecies research to her intimate experience of living with dogs.

Nona Borgström

Helsinki University

Nona Borgström acts as a project planner at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Dept. of Equine and Small Animal Medicine at the University of Helsinki. She is especially interested in social rehabilitation with professional competence and university education in dog ethology, AAT, scent detection training, animal assisted pediatric and elderly care, neuropsychiatric animal handling.

Nona is part of the DogRisk research group lead by Anna Hielm-Björkman at the University of Helsinki. She is the project planner on the research on dogs that discriminate pain. This project is a multidisciplinary study conducted at the Orton pain hospital in Helsinki, together with DogRisk and the dog training NGO InnoMediDogs ry. There is also an objective to develop the knowledge on the human-animal bond in a multidisciplinary context.

Nona is also developing the medical scent dog working strategies for animal assisted interventions and ethics, fitting them into a university setting. 

Tiamat Warda

University of Lapland

At the University of Lapland (Finland), Tiamat Warda works as a Postdoctoral Researcher in project PAWWS since April 2024. Previously, Tiamat completed her MA and PhD in Anthrozoology at the University of Exeter. Her focus rests at the intersection of Animal Organization Studies and emotion management to develop awareness of and establish sustainable emotional labour practices that bring together academic knowledge with practitioner expertise.

As a former practitioner, with over a decade professionally in the assistance dog sector, Tiamat has worked extensively both as a guide dog instructor, dog behaviour consultant, research consultant to develop a curriculum for assistance dog professionals as part of an Erasmus+ grant from the Federal Ministry for Education in Germany, and an assistance dog team exam supervisor for the Assistance Dog Foundation (Stiftung Assistenzhund). One of her publications, which highlights the current realities and needs of assistance dog professionals with disabilities, was awarded the 4th Society & Animals Early Career Research Prize for 2022.

In project PAWWS, Tiamat continues to develop current understandings concerning how to establish roadmaps toward sustainable, regulated work for humans and dogs in Finland within the discipline of Animal Organization Studies. She currently lives with Inka, her humorous and caring dog companion.