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FSD2572 Rural Finland 2009: Business Executives

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Authors

  • Kurunmäki, Seija (Kuule)
  • Leppänen, Anne (Kuule)
  • Hellström, Eeva (Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Landmarks Programme)
  • Aho, Pauliina (Taloustutkimus)

Keywords

businesses, image, rural areas, rural environment, rural policy, rural sociology, telework, top management

Abstract

The survey studied opinions on economic life and business opportunities in rural areas in Finland. The respondents were top-level managers of Finnish enterprises. The barometer was developed for the Landsmarks Programme carried out by the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra).

First, the respondents were asked to what extent a number of factors increased business opportunities in rural areas. The factors mentioned included, for instance, global demand for natural resources, increase in holiday housing, better opportunities for telework, privatisation of public services. The respondents were also asked to what extent a number of factors were a barrier to utilising business opportunities in rural areas. Factors mentioned included lack of competent staff, long distances, difficult access to services, insufficient infrastructure etc.

One theme pertained to teleworking (telecommuting). Questions covered telework in the respondent's own organisation, and potential barriers to teleworking such as, for instance, more complicated communication between co-workers, insufficient data security, more complicated employee supervision.

The respondents were presented with pairs of statements relating to the countryside, its image and services and asked which statements were closer to their own views. Some questions explored what kind of business ventures they though could have potential in the countryside (e.g. logistics services, organic production, renewable energy production), and what they saw as the most important goals for rural development in terms of their own industry. The goals mentioned included, for instance, better coordination of rural development, improved telecommunications network, preserving cultural heritage.

Further questions studied what the respondents believed the countryside would be like in 2020 and what they hoped it would be like in 2020. The possible future images mentioned included, for example, 'many people live and telework in the countryside', 'its tourism flourishes', 'it is depopulated'.

Background variables included the number of employees, industrial sector and revenue of the enterprise, region (NUTS3) and municipality.

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