Reflecting on Work Values with Young Unemployed Adults in Finland

Keywords: Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Employment, Wages, Unemployment & Rehabilitation, Work/Life Balance, Identity, Meaning & Culture


In this article, we explore the internal conversations about the work values of young unemployed adults in Finland. We draw on the theoretical concept of internal conversation by Margaret Archer in order to shift the focus from the individual work values to the interplay between subjective concerns and structural circumstances. The data consist of six group interviews conducted among 29 young unemployed adults. We argue that the internal conversations on work values of young unemployed adults constitute five significant concerns: self-realization and opportunity to contribute to society; sufficient income to live independently; social expectations; challenges of finding employment; and unsustainability of the employment system. These diverse concerns demonstrate that young unemployed adults are constrained agents in a changing context of global environment, Nordic labor market, and activation policies. The results contribute to the explanations for unemployment by emphasizing both the structural factors and reflective agency of young unemployed adults

Author Biographies

Tuuli Hirvilammi, University of Jyväskylä


PhD, Postdoctoral researcher, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius. E-mail:

Marianne Väyrynen, University of Jyväskylä



Ingo Stamm, University of Jyväskylä


PhD, Postdoctoral researcher, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius

Aila-Leena Matthies, University of Jyväskylä


PhD, Professor, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius

Kati Närhi, University of Jyväskylä


PhD, Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences

How to Cite
Hirvilammi, T., Väyrynen, M., Stamm, I., Matthies, A.-L., & Närhi, K. (2019). Reflecting on Work Values with Young Unemployed Adults in Finland. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 9(2).