Finding a niche. Social enterprises and the public service reform in Finland

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of Social Policy

Doctoral candidate: MPolSc Harri Kostilainen

Date and venue: 26.4. at 12 noon, auditorium TTA, Tietoteknia, Kuopio campus

Language of the public examination: English

Language of the dissertation: English

The aim of this study is to determine in what way social enterprises are included in the European policy agendas and how they emerged in Finland. This PhD study discusses the extent to which social enterprises in Finland could find their niche in welfare state reform and provides an overview of the Finnish social enterprise development by identifying the roots, characteristics and the enabling and hindering factors to social enterprise with reference to the EU operational definition on social enterprise. The study brings structured information regarding the size, dynamic and profile of social enterprises active in Finland, and discusses the specific challenges they face and their development perspectives.

Data are collected from reviews of various policy and European Social Fund (ESF) programmes, previous research and interviews with staff of social enterprises. This study uses qualitative research methods including inductive thematic analysis, a theory driven content analysis and a case study approach to obtain rich empirical data.

The Finnish social enterprise landscape is still emerging. However, the reform of the Finnish welfare state employment and social welfare services has provided some opportunities for social enterprise growth. The study presents two scenarios for social enterprise development in Finland.

The doctoral dissertation of MPolSc Harri Kostilainen, entitled Finding a niche. Social enterprises and the public service reform in Finland, will be examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The opponent in the public examination will be Professor Peter Herrmann of the University of Lodz, and the custos will be Professor (Emeritus) Juhani Laurinkari of the University of Eastern Finland.

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