Finnish Business Structures


Finland differs from its Scandinavian neighbours in a number of ways. In business, probably the most striking is the lack of dependency on consensus as a means of reaching important decisions. This is not to say that Finns are massively hierarchical or that they are non-consultative - it is more that Finns like to know exactly the perimeters of their responsibilities and will expect to be allowed to take the decisions which fall naturally within those perimeters.

Thus, Finns will complain just as bitterly (probably even more bitterly) than other nations about the slowness of the Swedish decision-making process. The structures of the organisation are supposed to be defined in such a way that everybody knows what is expected of them and the organisation trusts that employees (who are amongst the best educated in Europe) will have the requisite levels of skill to perform their allotted tasks.

Finland has experienced many years of comparatively calm industrial relations and there is little, if any, antagonism between shop floor and management.

Outside the metropolitan centre of Helsinki (where more than 20% of the total population live), many companies have traditionally taken on an active social role within the community, quite rightly seeing themselves as mainstays of the local area. Therefore, outside Helsinki, employees have been very loyal to employers with little job-hopping taking place.