Ohjelmakeskeisestä kehittämispolitiikasta yksilökeskeiseen kehittämispolitiikkaan harvaan asutulla maaseudulla : elämänurasopimus kunnan ja kehittäjäyksilön välillä

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Aalto-yliopiston teknillinen korkeakoulu | Doctoral thesis (monograph)
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Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management doctoral dissertation series, 2010/3
About 62 per cent of the area of Finland consists of sparsely inhabited countryside, which accounts for about 11 per cent of the total population. These country areas are now experiencing a further decline in population, jobs and the proportion of young people. What should be done? A model for regional development in a sparsely inhabited rural area is elaborated in the first part of this thesis and applied in practise in the second part. The model was perfected to its final format on the basis of the empirical experiments. A change-over from programme-centred to individual-centred development policies in sparsely inhabited rural municipalities is proposed, and the main outcome of this work is an entirely new tool for this purpose, life-long rural career agreements. The local actor space of sparsely inhabited rural regions, including the people who live and work there and are consequently able to improve the region's affective, intellectual and economic welfare, has weakened during the past decades. An individual-based rural development policy is one that involves systematic identification, training and supporting of key persons who are needed in development. The model of basic success factors for a municipality or area developed here includes the finding of new and renewable entrepreneurs, resources, know-how and internationalization. The finding of new entrepreneurs is examined in terms of affective, conative, cognitive and situational factors. The resources of the area or municipality that are examined are natural resources, physical action resources, workforce resources, financial resources and action environment resources. Know-how is discussed in the model from the point of view of the know-how required in entrepreneurship, and its dimensions include economic know-how, marketing know-how, production know-how and cooperative know-how. Internationalization is important nowadays for sparsely inhabited country areas, too, because it is through this that new markets and products can be found and enterprises can specialise and obtain advantages of scale in their production. In addition, internationalization increases one's knowledge of different cultures and it can offer new sources of financing and know-how and new stimuli for developing business activities. The target area in this research is the typical sparsely inhabited rural municipality of Soini situated on the border of the provinces of Southern Ostrobothnia and Central Finland. Empirical material for the study was collected in six stages between the years 1997 and 2006: a questionnaire for ninth-graders at the Soini Comprehensive School, a study for the developing of the municipality of Soini, a survey of the development and training needs of industrial enterprises in Soini, a project for the training of a business team, a series of interviews aimed at planning for life-long rural career agreement and the signing and implementation of life-long rural career agreements. The questionnaire was aimed at investigating young people's attitudes and views on rural development, while the study of development prospects for the municipality of Soini and the survey of the developmental and educational needs of its industrial enterprises was partly aimed at targeting suitable actors for the investigation concerning life-long career agreements. At the same time the groundwork was done for the project of training a business team for the municipality, which amongst other things, was able to create new enterprises. The interviews enabled the possibilities for making life-long rural career agreements to be analyzed and the model of basic success factors for a municipality or area to be transferred to the level of the individual. Differences were found between men and women, between entrepreneurs and other people, and between those who were or were not interested in life-long rural career agreements. Those who were interested in making a life-long rural agreement wanted to make their own future, were attached to their home district, had firm roots there and wanted to do something to benefit it. They differed most from the other people interviewed in terms of affective and conative factors. The present findings suggest that life-long rural career agreements can enhance entrepreneurship and indigenous development in a municipality or an area and thereby promote its development. The implementation of life-long rural career agreement will be a long process, however, requiring many years of persistent and systematic work, the dispelling of prejudices, a thorough consideration of the life situations of the people who enter into such agreements, advancement under conditions determined by the subjects themselves, continuous dialogue with them and continuous adjustment to changing circumstances. The following were identified in the course of the study as key groups for development activities: entrepreneurs in existing enterprises, people who are interested in starting a company of their own, key people in enterprises, those who are in charge of development activities and other inhabitants of the municipality who are particularly interested in local development. When municipalities in sparsely inhabited rural areas are to be developed, people with a love of nature, social entrepreneurs, developers who are fond of their home district and life-long learners should be continuously sought as potential for engaging in life-long rural career agreements. Similarly, people who have already moved elsewhere to look for work or to continue their studies should be tempted to return in order to strengthen the local actor space. People who have moved elsewhere and who work as business managers, act as key persons in enterprises or are experts in various fields can form an integral part of the non-local actor space for a sparsely inhabited rural municipality. Clearers of new land for agriculture are not needed in the sparsely inhabited countryside any longer, but instead the accent should be on entrepreneurial pioneers who can establish business teams and stimulate foci of development.
Supervising professor
Kauranen, Ilkka, Prof.
Thesis advisor
Kauranen, Ilkka, Prof.
aluekehittäminen, yksilöpohjainen alue- ja kehittämispolitiikka, paikallinen toimija-avaruus
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