Raimo Lovio and Liisa Valikangas
Helsinki School of Economics
Finland, a Nordic republic with 5.2 million inhabitants bordering Sweden, Norway, and Russia, has been a member of the European Community since 1995. Finnish economic performance has been lauded as highly competitive (WEF, 2006a). This has been attributed to respect for the law (TI, 2006), competent government (Lopez-Claros, cited in WEF, 2006b), effective collaboration between public institutions and private companies (EU/CIS, 2007), and a high level of general education (Dahlman, Routti, and Ylä-Anttila, 2006). Equality is a closely held value in the Finnish nation-state. Women have played an important role in public life since emancipation in 1906; 66% of 15 to 64-year-old women work full-time outside the home (as compared with 56% in other EU countries). Social equality is sought through everyone's right to education and health care Together with redistributive wealth policies.
Finns are considered pragmatic (Lilja, 2005, p. 79), hard-working (work is seen as intrinsically important although Finns also like their long vacations), determined, and ethical. Innovation and creativity are regarded as key qualities to future success. Design is valued: its manifestations can be seen in Alvar Aalto's functionalistic architecture or in Marimekko's colorful textiles. Finland has produced a number of world-leading musicians, including orchestra conductors ...