Social Innovations, Institutional Change and Economic Performance
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Social Innovations, Institutional Change and Economic Performance

Making Sense of Structural Adjustment Processes in Industrial Sectors, Regions and Societies

Edited by Timo J. Hämäläinen and Risto Heiskala

This book examines the nature of social innovation processes which determine the economic and social performance of nations, regions, industrial sectors and organizations.
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Chapter 5: Policy Implications: How to Facilitate the Structural Adjustment and Renewal of Advanced Societies?

Timo J. Hämäläinen


Timo J. Hämäläinen Major crises help socio-economic systems make radical changes to their collective mental frames, strategies and structures. However, producing a crisis is not a real policy option for decision makers concerned about their country’s or corporation’s structural adjustment problems. Instead, they should try to understand the mental and structural change processes of their system well enough to avoid structural adjustment crises by proactive and timely adjustment measures. Following Donald Schön (1973: 116), we can vision a socio-economic system that can continuously reflect upon and question its established mental frames, structures and practices, and adjust them when the changing environment or the system’s declining performance requires. In this chapter, we will show how policy makers can play an important role in creating and supporting such self-reflective learning systems. EXPERIENCE, INFORMATION AND COLLECTIVE LEARNING The mental and structural change capacity of socio-economic systems ultimately depends on collective learning processes. Without such learning processes there will be no change in shared mental paradigms nor sustainable changes in socio-economic structures. Collective learning processes take place among members of various communities such as: the citizens of nations (for example Finns, Swedes, Americans), inhabitants of particular regions (Carelians, Welsh, Basque), members of business organizations (divisions, departments, teams), occupational groups (nurses, teachers, carpenters), civic organizations (rotaries, lions, political parties), recreational clubs (golf, fishing, sports, and so on) and various informal social groups. 95 96 Perspectives to structural change Collective learning processes are based on the shared experiences and information...

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