Faith-holders as Social Capital of Finnish Public Organisations
Luoma-aho, V. L. (2005) Faith-holders as Social Capital of Finnish Public Organisations. PhD thesis, University of Jyväskylä.
Official URL: http://julkaisut.jyu.fi/?id=951-39-2262-6
This research focuses on stakeholder relations in Finnish public organisations. With the introduction of neoliberalism, the welfare state faces a challenge of legitimacy; most public services are intangible, hence difficult to prove effective. This research addresses the questions of what factors exist in the relationship between the public organisations and their frequent stakeholders, whether stakeholder assessments legitimate the Finnish public organisations and what the frequent contacts of the public organisation should be considered: stakeholders, customers, citizens or something else. Focusing on stakeholder theory (Freeman 1984, Näsi 1995, Mitchell, Agle & Wood 1997), applying systems theory (Hatch 1997, Luhman 1984) and institutional theory (Meyer & Rowan 1977, Scott 1995) the present study analyses the present situation of Finnish neutral- and order-type public organisations, concentrating on intangible concepts such as social capital (Lin 2001, Kumlin & Rothstein 2004), trust (Misztal 1996, Sztompka 1997) and reputation (Bromley 1993, Fombrun 1996). The mainly quantitative empirical study consists of three parts; a pilot study, the main study and a post study, collecting altogether over 2100 assessments by frequent stakeholders. A tool is tailored for measuring public organisations’ stakeholder assessments. The results yield five reputational factors for Finnish public organisations: Authority, Trust, Service, Esteem and Efficiency. These factors describe stakeholder assessments of public organisations. The results show that the relationship between public organisations and frequent stakeholders is based on neutral reputation and high trust; hence the frequent stakeholders are described as Faith-holders. Faith-holders with their frequent contacts and high trust are here seen as social capital for Finnish public organisations.
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