From Social Movements to Identity
Transformation: Comparison of
Estonian and Finnish Management
Iiris Aaltio, Lembit Turnpuu and Mari Kooskora
Students studying management in universities hope to acquire the knowledge and skills required in the positions they will hold later on. Countries characterized as transition economies face especially important questions of identity transformation, because their business life is being shaped in close connection with the political and intellectual developments in society. Estonia is one of the countries currently in transition; its former leaders and managers are giving way to their younger counterparts. The decisions made and the values adopted by the latter will not only affect organizations but also society as a whole. The discussion concerning values is gaining increasing attention in the media and academic journals. Value change is a topic of current interest also among the managers themselves. Education and training are seen to be fundamental means by which values can be affected.
What kind of insights are called for in education to ensure that what we call ‘tomorrow's managers’ will be able to carry out their work in ways that are both productive and but also meet the cultural requirements of the environment? The crucial elements in our discourse involve questions like ‘What is needed?’ and ‘What are we striving to do?’ This requires not only clear thinking about what values to adopt but also a decision about the processes by which such values could become operational.
First, we argue that the basic aim of education is to affect the values, attitudes and capabilities of management students with the view to help them to adapt to the requirements of the new post-Soviet environment. This of course raises many dilemmas such as what rate of