The importance of building strategic intent for Finland and the discursive practices to pursue it - A critical discourse analysis of Finnish Government Programmes

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School of Business | Master's thesis
International Design Business Management (IDBM)
International Design Business Management (IDBM)
Degree programme
The main objectives of this thesis are to validate the importance of creating strategic intent for the public sector and to investigate the discursive practices by which this intent can be built. As a multidisciplinary study combining literature from various fields of science, the aim is to also suggest connections between existing knowledge from different disciplines. A rather elaborate context review is constructed in order to carry this out: the narrative runs from the ultimate aim of pursuing sustainability to dealing with wicked problems by managing transitions. Transition visions are contrasted with the concept of strategic intent, leading back to the main research questions. The empirical study is constructed in two parts. The first method used is an online questionnaire that was submitted to public sector employees across organizations. Its aim is to validate the importance of building strategic intent in the context of Finnish governance. The second method used is critical discourse analysis, where the Government Programmes of Finland are explored in connection to the key discourses of building strategic intent. The study results suggest that while building strategic intent for Finland is a pressing and important issue, the Government Programmes fail to use discursive practices to support this. Discourses of creating strategic intent should be considered as guidelines for communication in matters related to strategy in the public sector. These discourses should be paid special attention to in the preparation of Government Programmes, as their role as the overarching strategy document of the whole of nation is rather unique.
wicked problems, public governance, transition management, strategic intent, strategy-as-practice, critical discourse analysis
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