En blogg från centrumbildningen Förvaltningsakademin vid Södertörns högskola.

The impact of new public management through outsourcing on the management of government information: The case of Sweden

Svärd, Proscovia

2019 (Engelska) Ingår i: Records Management Journal, ISSN 0956-5698, E-ISSN 1758-7689, Vol. 29, nr 1/2, s. 134-151

Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published

Abstract [en]

Purpose: Using a case study method, the article investigates the impact New Public Management (NPM), through outsourcing has had on the management of government information at the Swedish Transport Agency. In April 2015 the Agency outsourced its IT-operations to IBM company. Some of the IBM sub-contractors had not been cleared by the Swedish Security Service. This exposed the Agency’s information to risk. By outsourcing the IT operations, the General Director of the Agency deviated from the laws governing government information such as the Swedish Security Protection Act, the Personal Data Act and the Publicity and Secrecy Act. Design/methodology/approach: The researcher has applied a case study method as the investigation focuses on a phenomenon in a real-life setting. The case study method entails the use of past studies, which facilitates the exploration and understanding of a complex issue. The phenomenon under investigation is NPM’s impact, through outsourcing, on the management of public information at the Swedish Transportation Agency. Findings: Outsourcing should be foregone by well-formulated contracts that should put into consideration the management of government information and the involvement of all stakeholders such as records managers/archivists, IT personnel, heads of departments, lawyers and business analysts. Outsourcing risks to compromise the two tenets of democracy that is, accountability and transparency which are central to Swedish public administrations’ operations. Research limitations/implications: The study is limited by the fact that it only presents the views of the archivists. This was, however, purposely done because their voice was missing during the discussions that followed after the data breach scandal had become public knowledge. Additionally, archivists are supposed to play a major role in the management of government information at Swedish institutions. Further research that will involve different categories of employees might give a deeper and better understanding of the impact that NPM, through outsourcing, is having on the management of government information and what implications this might have on issues of trust, transparency and accountability. Practical implications: The study demonstrates the need for well-formulated outsourcing contracts that will include information management clauses. It is of crucial importance in a democratic society that access to government information is not compromised as institutions endeavor to achieve efficiency and high-quality service delivery. Social implications: It is government information that gives citizens knowledge about the various processes of government institutions. It is therefore of paramount importance that government information is not left in the hands of unauthorized companies that are involved in the outsourcing activity but should be securely managed and guarded, as the opposite might pose privacy and national security challenges and hence undermine the trust that citizens have in government institutions. Originality/value: The search that the author conducted confirmed paucity in research that discusses issues related to NPM, outsourcing and the management of government information. This paper is therefore a contribution to the discourse from an archives and information management perspective.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor

Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019. Vol. 29, nr 1/2, s. 134-151

Perceived Barriers to Decision Quality in Three Swedish Public Authorities

Författare Ilkka Salo Carl Martin Allwood Institutionen för psykologi

Göteborgs universitet


Barriers to decision quality were reported by 473 administrative officers and investigators in three Swedish national public authorities: the Tax Agency, Social Insurance Agency, and Police Authority. In line with previous research, we assumed that limited possibilities to plan one’s work would hinder decision quality. Both disruption of workflow and high workload were reported to inhibit work planning, especially by police and social insurance workers. Moreover, time available (especially for tax and social insurance workers) and other actors involved in decision processes (especially for police and social insurance workers) were reported to inhibit decision quality. Differences between the organizations relate to organizational regulations, stipulated workload/time frames, distribution of responsibilities between actors, and urgent unplanned situations.

International Journal of Public Administration

Objectifying trustworthiness: Market formation in the transport policy field

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift,

Författare Emma Ek Österberg |Förvaltningshögskolan

Publikationsår 2020 Publicerad i Financial Accountability and Management, 36 (1), 3-19


This paper addresses market formation in the public sector, particularly questions of how and why market arrangements for public services change, and what it means in terms of governance. The paper presents an in-depth empirical study of a case in the Swedish transport sector, building on sociological research into market formation, particularly the work of Callon, Méadel, and Rabeharisoa on the qualification of products. Given the demand for process-oriented research into market relations, especially in the public sector, this study empirically illustrates how and why roles, relations, and objects are maintained and transformed, and how these features are cocreated in practice. Although previous research has paid relatively little attention to product qualification, this paper demonstrates that it is useful to put this process at the center of the analysis. The present findings emphasize that how products came to be objectified, in terms of provider qualities rather than technical specifications, was the compromise that enabled various logics to be at stake simultaneously. The paper also contributes by demonstrating that NPM reforms of marketization can accommodate far-reaching attempts by public organizations to influence the market, which is especially relevant in markets in which public-sector organizations are dominant purchasers. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons LtdLänkar

Public Administration in transition: Studying understandings and legitimations amongst middle managers within a government agency

FörfattareTom Karlsson |Förvaltningshögskolan

Publikationsår2019Publicerad iJournal of Language and Politics, 18 (1), 107-130


This article focuses on how common-sense knowledge is enacted by middle managers in order to make sense of contemporary public administration. Specifically, the article demonstrates how managerialization and market logics is embedded in actors’ perceptions of public administration and becomes manifested through understandings and legitimations. The article presents an analysis of conversational data from middle management positions within a Swedish government agency. The analysis demonstrates how actors categorize a traditional hierarchy together with contemporary ideas of consumerism. It is also demonstrated how actors draw on legitimations of authority and mythopoesis in order to make sense of and to understand their managerial role within the agency. As such, the article contributes to contemporary public administration literature and its discussion regarding the effects of embedding marketization logics on actor and organizational levels as well as to ethnomethodologically informed literature within the social science and humanities.



Searching for managerial discretion: How public managers engage managerialism as a rationalization for increased latitude of action

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 

FörfattareTom Karlsson |Förvaltningshögskolan Publikationsår2019Publicerad iPublic Management Review, 21 (3), 315-333


This article focuses on the managerial discretion that public managers experience. More specifically, it discusses how managerialism is an embedded ideological stance that influences understandings of public sector governance. I argue that managers’ perceptions of discretion are affected by these understandings. The analysis draws on empirical data from a longitudinal study, demonstrating how public managers engage discourses emanating from managerialism in order to rationalize increased discretion. The findings suggest that customer perspectives functions as a rationalizing factor for engaging public managers’ transition towards increased discretion. As such, this article contributes to knowledge about managerial discretion as well as managerialism.



Den offentliga verksamhetens villkor

Ahlbäck Öberg, Shirin

Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.

Texten ingår i Snabbtänkt – reflektioner från valet 2018 av ledande forskare (Nord, Lars, Grusell, Marie, Bolin, Niklas och Falasca, Kajsa (red.), där närmare 100 forskare bidrar med 80 texter som analyserar och reflekterar över 2018 års val och valrörelse. Texterna är samlade i en gratis nedladdningsbar rapport, publicerad 10 dagar efter valet 2018.

Snabbtänkt är ett initiativ från forskningscentret DEMICOM vid Mittuniversitetet.

Abstract [sv]

I Sverige arbetar en tredjedel av arbetskraften i statlig eller kommunal regi. Väljarnas kontaktyta med den offentliga verksamheten är således stor, och ändå skulle jag säga att en sammanhållen diskussion om den offentliga sektorns arbete och organisation – s.k. förvaltningspolitik – har lyst med sin frånvaro i årets valrörelse. För vad vet vi om partiernas hållning till statsförvaltningen och den kommunala förvaltningen?

Ort, förlag, år, sidor

Sundsvall: Mittuniversitetet , 2018. , s. 1

Att göra rätt – även när ingen ser på

Ahlbäck Öberg, Shirin

Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.

Widmalm, Sten

Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.

2016 (Svenska)Ingår i: Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, ISSN 0039-0747, Vol. 118, nr 1, s. 7-17

Lund, 2016. Vol. 118, nr 1, s. 7-17

Professions under Siege

Ahlbäck Öberg, Shirin

Bull, Thomas

Hasselberg, Ylva

Stenlås, Niklas

2016 (Engelska)Ingår i: Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, ISSN 0039-0747, Vol. 118, nr 1, s. 93-126

Abstract [en]

The purpose of this article is to analyse the effects of New Public Management (NPM) reforms on three specific professional groups. From this investigation it is clear that the assumptions inherent in the NPM reforms have resulted in a clear breach of what we theoretically refer to as the professional contract between the state and the professions. We show in this analysis that our studied professional groups have lost central aspects of their professional autonomy. We problematize the perception that an ever-increasing demand for steering and control of professionals within the public sector should be perceived as something exclusively good. In addition to the costs of monitoring, the centrally important paradox of accountability should be taken into consideration, i.e. responsible interpretation and application of external accountability demands rest on the cultivation of the virtues that support good administrative judgement, the type of judgement that is threatened by the control-schemes presented in this article.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor

Lund, 2016. Vol. 118, nr 1, s. 93-126

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