Embracing the Knowledge Economy

Embracing the Knowledge Economy

The Dynamic Transformation of the Finnish Innovation System

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Gerd Schienstock

In an astonishingly short period of time, Finland has developed into one of the world’s leading knowledge societies whilst retaining a comprehensive welfare state. The book traces this rapid transformation from a resource-based to a knowledge-based society. The authors describe the country’s strengths and weaknesses in the new economy and demonstrate how Finland has been able to catch-up with the leading industrial countries by exploiting new techno-organizational opportunities. Experts from different fields provide rich empirical material on Finnish industries, firms, regions and institutions, and the role they have played in the transformation process. The book also details the business and economic restructuring which was required, and explores new trends in the country's science, technology and innovation policy.

Chapter 12: Education as an asset in the labour market

Asko Suikkanen and Ritva Linnakangas

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


Asko Suikkanen and Ritva Linnakangas 12.1 INTRODUCTION Many scholars assert that the past decade has seen the emergence of a newly structured labour market in many European countries. The phenomenon at hand is the prolonged fragmentation of employment and, in Finland for example, a differentiation of participation in employment that began back in the 1980s. Researchers of working life speak of an intensification of selection and a shift in the functional nature of the labour market with respect to the character of the employment relationship, the expansion of informational work and heightened competition in working life. In broad terms, what is at issue is the significance of society’s different subsystems and a transition to a social order that is more relative in many ways. This order has also rendered labour market citizenship (on the concept see Barbalet 1988; Marshall 1950; Suikkanen and Viinamäki 1999) more contingent than heretofore. This chapter proceeds from the assertion that these developments signal a change in the societal relationship between working life and different actors. We reflect on the interaction between working life and education. The topic is a significant one, for the question of how education can best support individuals’ entry and return to working life has become an increasingly central concern. The issue has become topical in a new way because one can no longer rely on the old ‘certainties’ to cope in working life. At the societal level, the new structures are with us already, but for many people participation in...

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