The Impact of the Hidden Cultural Differences in Knowledge Transfer and Diffusion of Innovations in EU Cross Border regions

  • Weidenfeld, Adi (Project participant)
  • Björk, Peter (Project participant)
  • Williams, Allan (Project participant)

Project: Externally funded project

Project Details


Cross-Border Regions (CBRs) often show great dissimilarities in various aspects such as economic histories, technological trajectories, different social dynamics, and political visions, mix of cultures, ethnicities, languages, and regional identities. Such differences can be both a key source of innovation and knowledge transfer but also major obstacles. The study focuses on the more hidden and subtle cultural and cognitive differences, which influence learning and knowledge transfer between cross border residents from both sides of the border and between them and visitors (who are non-cross border residents). More specifically, the study focuses on cross border knowledge transfer and diffusion of innovations in the service industry in general and on the influence of the hidden and subtle differences between managers and customers (shoppers) from both sides of the border in the twin cities of Tornio and Haparanda in particular. The city of Tornio in Finland is in the municipality of Lapland, covering an area of 1,348.55 square kilometres (520.68 sq mi) with a total population of 22,546 (31 January 2011) and the adjacent town of Haparanda in Norrbotten County, Sweden has a population of approximately 4,800 (and an area 3.94 km²) of out of a municipal total of 10,200 inhabitants (Haparanda as a local municipality).

The two cities have seen various forms of official cross border collaboration, including transport (cross border bridges, joint public services e.g. tourism, education, leisure facilities, sport clubs, health care, refuse disposal) since the 1960s with the twin cities project of Tornio and Haparanda, the Eurocity of TornioHaparanda, as the cross border flagship project. The private sector has also contributed to cross border linkages shaping its landscape, particularly with the opening of an Ikea store in Haparanda in 2006, close to the border, which created new images of cross-border collaboration. Several other new stores have been opened in Haparanda besides Ikea increasing the cross border image as a cross border tourism shopping destination even further and further cross border shopping centres are being built on the border area these days. The aim of the study is to provide some policy implications for EU policies in cross border innovation systems, which will complement those addressing cross border collaboration.
Effective start/end date15.09.201015.09.2012


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