The place of place in Northern Rural SME strategies

Markku Jaakko Vieru, Suvi Lenita Hietanen, Helgi Gestsson, Svein Tvedt Johansen, Ögmundur H. Knútsson

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The current paper investigates the role of place in SME‐strategies. The paper briefly reviews how the strategy‐literature has treated places as either strategic resources, liabilities or institutional constraints. The paper distinguishes between a conventional view, which sees the context as external to the company as something firms “have”, and an alternative perspective, which sees strategies forming around a conception of place and locality, in which place, becomes something firms “are”. The paper draws on a series of Finnish, Norwegian and Icelandic cases to show how different conceptions of place and the firms’ relationship to locality, shape and give meaning to everyday actions, decisions and strategies. More specifically the paper looks at how companies’ conception of place and the relationship between place or locality and firm shape decisions at different stages in the life of the companies. The paper shows how actions, inactions and decisions relating informed by firm’s ideas about place influence the subsequent trajectory of the firm The paper concludes with a call for a stronger focus on place and the subjective meaning of place in studying SME‐strategies and shows how a stronger emphasis on place has theoretical as well as practical pay‐offs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2016
Event4th Biannual Conferencer on Nordic Rural Research: Nordic Ruralites - University of Akureyri, Akureyri, Iceland
Duration: 22 May 201624 May 2016


Conference4th Biannual Conferencer on Nordic Rural Research

Field of science

  • Social and economic geography


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