Abstract: Technology Management and Investment Decisions in a Mature Industry: The Leap of the Nordic Companies to Global Players from the 1960s to 2000

Jari Ojala


The technological leap made in the paper and pulp companies in the Nordic countries during the 1970s and 1980s by huge investments in modern production capacity and new products with a high degree of processing enabled the companies to grow during the 1990s into global, multinational players. This paper aims to analyze the unique institutional arrangements that profoundly affected the possibilities and outcomes of the Finnish wood processing industry from the late 1960s until the early 1990s. Under investigation are the investment restriction agreements made between the Finnish government (Bank of Finland) and the companies of the forest industry (through their interest group, Finnish Forest Industries Federation). The paper argues that these agreements, officially aimed at protecting Finnish raw wood supply, were among the main reasons for the rapid technological change within the Finnish paper and pulp industry. On the one hand, this technological change was one of the main reasons for the successful leap of the Finnish companies to becoming global players from the 1960s onward; on the other, the agreements constrained the possibilities for technology management and investment decisions within the individual companies.