Helsinki, 11 November, 2005
New Publication: Finnish Business Scholars Behind Nordic Countries in U.S. Mobility
The Long Divide: Finnish-U.S. Mobility and Business Studies by Dan Steinbock, Director, FCIBER/Academy of Finland, provides a concise introduction to Finnish-U.S. mobility trends among Finnish business scholars and students.
Unlike other Nordic countries, Finland is a relative latecomer in terms of U.S. mobility. In Scandinavian countries, these exchanges began around 1910s; in Finland, only in the late 1950s.
In addition to the Fulbright program, commencing in 1945, Finnish and American scholars have obtained funds from a fair number of other sources to finance their trips to each other’s country. Organized exchanges between U.S. and Finnish institutes of higher learning were consolidated during the 1960s. The U.S. influence on social sciences and various tech disciplines was strongest in the 1950s and weakest in the 1970s.
During the past 10-15 years, Finland’s role in European integration has brought about a view that the country is a natural part of continental Europe. Yet, it is the Nordic-Baltic heritage and the Anglo-Saxon cultural tradition that dominate the Finnish mobility. Furthermore, Finnish mobility trends do not reflect appropriately the critical role of Finland’s major trading partners, such as Germany, Russia, the emerging markets, and particularly the United States.
It is not just geography, but Finland’s political insularity through the Cold War that explains the relatively low number of Finns in U.S. exchange programs, as well as the role of Finnish students and scholars, particularly business researchers, in programs supported by the Institute of International Education (IIE), American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF), the Fulbright Program, and the Foundation for Economic Education (LSR).
The specter of the Cold War era continues to cast a shadow on Finnish mobility trends. The Finnish-U.S. exchange in higher education and research has been gradually ‘normalized’ only after the mid-1980s, as reflected by the initiation of scientific and technological cooperation agreements with the United States. Still, exchange remains marginal, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transition to the innovation-driven economy.
During the factor economy (1860s-1940s), the Finnish-U.S. mobility was at best minimal, at worst absent. During the investment economy (1950s-1980s), the relatively low level of Finnish business researchers in the United States was determined by the ‘special relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union.’ During the innovation economy (1990s-present), the momentum of exchange programs is in Europe. As a result, the Finnish-U.S. exchange suffers from a ‘triple whammy´.
In the absence of substantial reforms, the negative consequences are likely to accelerate with economic globalization.
FCIBER Strategic management society of Finland
For copies, please contact:
Academy of Finland
P.O. Box 99, Vilhonvuorenkatu 6
Telephone. +358 9 7748 8346
Telefax: +358 9 7748 8372