Doctoral Dissertation

10.11.2018 M.A. Hanna Laitinen (Facul­ty of Hu­ma­ni­ties and Social Sciences, Sociology)


10.11.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki , S212
M.A. Hanna Laitinen defends her doctoral dissertation in Sociology: "Nuorten, valtion vai markkinoiden asialla? Nuorisojärjestöjen hybridit toimintalogiikat".

Opponent Docent Leena Suurpää (Finnish Red Cross) and Custos Professor Markku Lonkila (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.


Finnish third-sector organizations (TSOs) have typically been characterized by ideal-typical features such as uniting people as members, working voluntarily, promoting civic ideals, being independent of the state, and having a clearly nonprofit orientation. However, recent decades have shown an increasing tendency among TSOs to adopt characteristics from the public and private sectors, i.e., to become hybrids.

In order to better understand this phenomenon, this dissertation scrutinizes Finnish youth TSOs operating nationwide and asks how they define their missions, tasks, and reasons for existence as part of the changing third sector and as actors in the Finnish field of youth work.

The analysis is based on a mixed-methods approach and four different da-ta sets: a survey, websites, annual reports, and interviews. It describes the mul-tifaceted field of Finnish youth organizations by dividing them into five clas-ses: interest, activist, leisure time, religious, and social reinforcement and youth education organizations.

These youth TSOs legitimate themselves most often to their sponsors or members; their arguments are based on moral justification common to the youth work field as a whole, where the TSOs play complemen-tary roles in enabling civic participation opportunities for young people, reach-ing out to specific target groups, or showing effectiveness in a managerialistic manner.

The organizations frame young participants as agents, learners, targets of support, customers or as being in need of facilitation. These roles also reflect differences in how much influence young people can actually have in the or-ganization itself.

An interpretation of the results using the framework of institutional logics theory shows that Finnish youth TSOs apply six institutional logics in their descriptions of what they do and why. State, market, and professional logics are commonly used, which shows the inherent hybridity of these organi-zations.

The logics of community, of democracy, and the logic of ideology and altruism introduced here as a new institutional logic, include elements under-lining the characteristic features of these organizations as distinct from the other two sectors. These three institutional logics also enable young people to play key roles in the TSO. The last chapter of the dissertation introduces a self-assessment tool for TSOs to analyze which of the various institutional logics are applied in them.

Keywords: Hybrid Organizations, Institutional Logics, Third Sector, Youth Organizations, Youth work