|dc.description.abstract||ln recent years Finnish societal discussion has been dominated by a talk about structural change in economy and breaking down the structures of the welfare state. Thus, flexible production and the so called industrial networking have been forwarded as central ideals in the organisation of production. As a part of these themes, entrepreneurs have again become popular figures.
ln societal and political parlance entrepreneurship has been brought forward as a solution for the problems confronting Finnish economy. Now, in this kind of parlance, entrepreneurship is more and more referred to from two aspects: ln one place as being an activity of the entrepreneur, and, in a wider sense, as an economical way of thought, action and attitudes. On the one hand unemployed people are encouraged to establish new firms, and on the other hand, it is attempted to bind paid labour to the demands of the flexible production model by a new economic attitude of the individual, now called entrepreneurship.
ln this study entrepreneurship is examined from two different types of practical languageuse: On the one hand politico-administrative parlance of entrepreneurship has been examined. On the other hand practices told by the entrepreneurs themselves have been studied. The basic idea is that language does not just reflect or represent our world, but discourses categorise the social world and so they bring phenomena into sight. The aim of this study is to understand the relation between social change and entrepreneurship parlance by analysing both politico-administrative language-use and the entrepreneurs ·own language-use and the tensions between them.
As an example of politico-administrative entrepreneurship discourse, the Finnish rural strategy outlined by the authorities in the 1990"s will be referred to. Discourse data of entrepreneurs has been collected in interviews among six entrepreneurs working in rural areas of Northern Finland. These discoursive formations will be compared to the idea! type concept of entrepreneurship outlined by Max Weber and Joseph A. Schumpeter. ln their ideal type concept of entrepreneurship, the task of the individual is, with its specific economical ethos, to break the stagnation of the economy.
The results of the study show that discourse emphasising the necessity of a new entrepreneural spirit is part of a transition into liberalistic individualism and self-help. The individual should be more responsible for his own well being and not ask the state to offer social and welfare services. The most important factor as regards economical dynamics is the specific economic motivation of the individual, the weberian economical ethos. That is the basis of the innovations and the competitiveness. At the same time it enables the government to withdraw from economic regulation and the provision of social and welfare services.
The discourse of the entrepreneurs, however, is quite different. Their discourse rather rejects or ignores the spirit of capitalism. The most important thing for the entrepreneur is to earn his and hisfamily's living in his own native place. Entrepreneurs stress independence very strongly, they want to earn their livelihood themselves. Thus, they do not easily turn to the social and welfare services of the state. ln this sense they at !east passively carry out the demands of flexibilisation. Being independent also at the same time comprises the idea of liberty. Entrepreneurs want to be free from engagements connected with paid labour. That dream of liberty also makes it difficult for the entrepreneur to form new models of cooperative networks which are emphasised in the governmental rural strategy. Entrepreneurs are not interested in expanding their business and they feel no need to develop new marketing and cooperative strategies. As a price for their liberty they have to make their working hours and conditions as flexible as possible. However, they are hardly willing to adopt the task of solving our economic problems and giving an impetus to economic growth.
As a conclusion of this study, it is possible to say that entrepreneurship and small firms working through cooperative networks are no exhaustive solution to the crises of Finnish rural areas. The ethos to be independent and to manage by oneself seems to be a remarkable obstacle to the formation of new cooperative networks.
The demands of networking are somehow contradictory: On the one hand entrepreneurship as an economic ethos, should be based on individualism and the individual's own attitude. On the other hand, participation in the networks implies rejection of pure individualism. ln this model the achievement orientation of the individual is not enough. lt should now be combined with commitment, confidence and partnership. ln the data of this study these do not meet; social individualism has not been born.
lt is quite clear that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship also in the future will have a central position in economic and social development. Entrepreneurship however, should spring spontaneously from people and their own orientations, not from flexibility strategies of the core sector companies which are trying to increase the numerical flexibilisation of labour by making everybody an individual entrepreneur. Appealing to entrepreneural spirit in the sense that authorities do, is somewhat questionable. lf one starts conceiving entrepreneurship as being vastly pledged to the objectives and values of economic organisations, it will hollow out as regards contents. There is a risk that entrepreneurship as an extended concept will become an insignificant tautology (somewhat like the 'work heroism'associated with socialism) rather than spontaneous economic action of entrepreneurs.||fi