Systemic Business

Symposium on Inter-Organizational Relations
"A New Base for Corporate Relations: From Strategic Deceit to Trustworthy Action"
Espoo, Finland, June 3-4, 2003

[Prospectus] | [Content] | [Organizations] | [Participants] | [Tuesday, June 3, morning] | [Tuesday, June 3, afternoon] | [Wednesday, June 4, morning]


The symposium brings a select group of individuals together around the topic of relationships. Relationships among and between organizations and people have reemerged as critical to business formation and care. Relationships are now viewed as fundamental to what an organization is, does and desires to become.

Viable organizational relationships are essential to organizing the resources needed for successful economic exchange. They are also essential to giving purpose and direction to individual who will initiate and manage the organizations. It is in the nature of relationship differences to motivate or discourage human actions. A key to success is to match the right relationship forms and tones with what is what is seen as desirable and, on the other hand, undesirable.

Despite their now accepted importance, social relationships are not well understood nor are their differences widely appreciated in business transactions and management. This may partially be due to a decades-old faith in simply concentrating on a technological imperative for business success, where all routes to future wellbeing were defined by associating with advancing technologies and success arrives from picking the most strategic of technologies. Those linking their success to this singular dream lost most of their convictions between 2000 and 2001. This business world has become more complicated since 2001, with success being found in relationships with contexts, environments and others. With these points in mind the symposium is organized to discuss:

Results of the symposium are to describe in clear contemporary terms, and via interesting examples, the value of relationships in managing economic exchange in increasingly complex business environments. This objective will be complemented by various presentations and follow-up discussions. The presentations will give emphasis to stories about from where the renewed interest in relationships comes, which values support valuable relations and what activities best support realization of the economic value represented by relationships.

Relationships have long been presumed be to part of the conduct of business, but recently have been seen by some business leaders as critical to their organization's survival and transformation. The participants represent a sample of these organizations and an array of profound experiences on the topic. Many of the attendees were selected based on their having commented on the considerable economic value that hangs in the air during a business exchange yes much of it is generally left hanging after the exchange is concluded. The fact that mutual wealth is created through exchange is clear. That there is potential for further wealth creation and that it is largely untapped is clearly attractive, yet how to proceed in its capture is ambiguous. There do appear to be clearly identifiable impediments to wealth creation in relationship management. Some of these will be raised during our discussions along with means to manage relationships that can reduce the role of such impediments as:

The agenda is set to encourage each participant to bring their considerable wisdom to this topic that appears critical to current and future corporate operations. Each participant is expected to present information that reveals aspects of their thoughts on the subject, even if it is done via the powerfully silent Finnish tradition.

As is the case with most successful relationships, the symposium is a means to access the untapped potentials found in interactions that can become profound via encouraging thoughts about what is right as well as candid comments on what is wrong and what might be done to change it. While insights can never be formally guaranteed they can clearly be encouraged. Liberal amounts of Socratic discourse will be used to arrive at the essence of the symposium theme, and how best to manage it into our futures.

The management traditions of seeking ever deeper truths, even more magical bullets and wider platforms for guru worship will be kept to a minimum. Those strategies are best left for other kinds of forums.

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Successfully communication will rely on examples and stories of relationship successes and failures. Participants are encouraged to consider their own set of helpful stories prior to the meeting. We will use examples from practice to build a theory for better realizing the value in relationships. An array of ideas, concepts, tools, and principles will be brought to the table by the participants during the meeting.

Brief presentations of some historic theories of relationships will be presented early in the symposium. These will include the classic 1965 theory of Emery and Trist, which introduced the concept of engineering turbulence into social organizational behavior. Turbulence is now seen as a central rationale for pushing firms into new relationships, or for breaking an old relationship. Their paper also introduced the importance of tactical and strategic thinking to initiating problems that ultimately could only be unraveled via trust. Their work went on to suggest, in 1965, why and how strategic thoughts might only complicate business thinking and could lead to significant problems down the road. Down the road seems to have now arrived.

Another theoretical classic, of Anatole Rappaport, examines the creation and refinement of the Prisoner's Dilemma game approach to human relations. This will be offered as a companion base for seeing and appreciating the shortcomings in current thinking about strategic formulation of relationships. His early 1950s work warned us of attempts to be "to smart", or at least smarter than others, and suggests we might better invest our scarce relationship resources in "doing the right thing." This can include taking actions that may appear obvious, humane, risky and humble, yet can also make relationships more enduring and enduring.

The emphasis will be on the integration of theory and practice, consistent with Kurt Lewin's 1930s dictum: "There is nothing so practical as a good theory." These and other materials will be sent to the participants prior to the facial phase. Significant intellectual and experiential resources are offered by this group. The most important content will emerge from the value changes that take place via real time discourse. The final phase of this endeavor will be to formalize what was learned at the symposium by documenting its ideas, discussions and findings.


This symposium was organized by David L. Hawk, Minna Takala and Annaleena Parhankangas.

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Name Organization Position / Title Affiliation
Pertti Aaltonen Corporate Strategic Marketing,
Schering AG
Manager ExIMa
Tuula Antola Corporate Image
Espoo, Finland
Dr. JT Bergqvist IP Mobility Networks, Nokia Networks,
Helsinki, Finland
Executive VP and General Manager
Kristiina Fromholtz-Mäki Nokia Corporation Senior Human Relations Manager ExIMa
Ilkka Gramen Large Corporate Customers,
Solution Sales, Sonera Oyj
Sales Group Manager ExIMa
David Hawk New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA
Visiting Professor, Helsinki University of Technology
Espoo, Finland
Leena Hellfors Large Corporate Customers
Telia Sonera Finland
Vice President ExIMa
Juhani Hintikka Broadband Wireless Access, IP Mobility Networks,
Nokia Networks, Helsinki, Finland
General Manager
David Ing IBM Business Consulting Services, Canada
IBM Advanced Business Institute, New York, USA
Marketing Scientist
Pïäivi Karjalainen Business Development, Large Corporate Customers,
Telia Sonera Finland, Sonera Oyj
Development Manager ExIMa
Marianne Kosits Relationship Alignment Solutions,
IBM Global Services, New Jersey, USA
Seija Kulkki Center for Knowledge and Innovation Management
Helsinki School of Economics
Aki Laiho Advanced Development, Supply Solutions,
Nokia Business Infrastructure,
Nokia Group, Helsinki, Finland
Lisa Kreeger Relationship Alignment Solutions
IBM Global Services, Seattle, WA USA
Practice Methodology Owner,
Executive Consultant
Olli Lötjönen Telecom & Media Business Area, TietoEnator Corp. CTO ExIMa
Simo Makkonen ExIMa, Executive School of Industrial Management
Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
Program Director
Annaleena Parhankangas Strategy and International Business Unit,
Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
Assistant Professor
Ville Saarikoski Telia Sonera Finland,
Sonera Oyj
Vice President ExIMa
Merja Saura Nokia Corporation Relationship Manager
Minna Takala DSN Academy, Supply Solutions,
Nokia Business Infrastructures, Helsinki, Finland
Competence Development Manager
Satu Teerikangas Strategy and International Business Unit,
Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
Heikki Toivanen Metso Corporation Business Development Manager
Taina Tukiainen Nokia Ventures Business Development Manager ExIMa
Kari Tilli Finnish Technology Fund - TEKES,
Helsinki Finland
Director, Telecommunications and Electronics

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