The Relational Nordic Welfare State
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The Relational Nordic Welfare State

Between Utopia and Ideology

Edited by Sakari Hänninen, Kirsi-Marja Lehtelä and Paula Saikkonen

The success of the Nordic welfare state is well known, but the key drivers of its remarkable expansion are not. This book explores the relationships between citizens that constitute the normative groundwork of Nordic societies, arguing that the quality of relations steers welfare development.
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Chapter 10: Civilizing business enterprises: the search for a new Nordic growth and development model

Peer Hull Kristensen, Eli Moen and Kari Lilja


Peer Hull Kristensen, Eli Moen and Kari Lilja approach sustainability from a different angle. They start by presenting how the Nordic welfare states, strong unions and various institutions providing patient capital have promoted forms of enterprises that have secured participatory forms of work organization and are oriented towards developing socially and environmentally responsible practices which are unknown to most countries. However, these regimes have become weaker since the late 1980s. The authors ask whether this change means a digression from the most civilized form of capitalism. The chapter takes a relational approach. It shows how the relation between the state, labour market, distinct actors in the market and enterprises can create sustainable embeddedness of firms in the first place, and how this relational configuration can continue, even when an actor such as the state seems to withdraw from the configuration.

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