En blogg från centrumbildningen Förvaltningsakademin vid Södertörns högskola.

De små medlens betydelse: Om meningsskapande, mångtydighet och styrning i offentlig förvaltning

Lindgren, Christofer

Stockholms universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-0393-48912018 (Svenska)

Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)Alternativ titel

The significance of the little measures : On sensemaking, ambiguity and steering in public administration (Engelska)

Abstract [en]

Some policy work within public administrations these days seems to rely heavily on individual officials’ efforts to make sense of new policy proposals and practices to other groups in their organizations. This is the case especially with local work on cross-cutting issues such as gender and equal treatment policies, children’s rights issues, sustainability and climate policies etc. Typically, work on these matters are meant to be carried out in all parts of the public sector. However, operations in many parts of this sector are guided by managerial models giving little weight to what is usually perceived as “side issues”. Also, new policy proposals in these areas tend to be formed in complex boundary-spanning practices, involving partnerships and collaborative work, not easily compatible with administrative ideals of clear divisions of tasks and mandates. As a result, the officials responsible for work with these issues often seem to have to invest time in explaining both why certain steps ought to be implemented, and by what legitimate processes they have come about. 

In this study, such micro-level attempts to gain support for new policy proposals or practices in the administration through efforts to influence the meanings ascribed to them, is seen as a form of steering. The aim of the thesis is to investigate them as such, with the help of governance theory and Karl Weick’s sensemaking perspective. Thereby, the study seeks to provide insights into questions of how this micro-level steering may be analyzed, as well as issues of what they may mean for public administrations’ capacity to make sense of conflicting demands. 

Theoretically, the study arrives at an analytical model based on two arguments. The first is that attempts to mobilize other members of an administration in complex practices via means of influencing their understanding of these practices, could be seen a project with two thresholds. One concerns the need of explaining what type of situation or practice members are faced with, and how it fits into the order of the administration. The other concerns the need to visualize its aims in such a way that it appears desirable to groups targeted for mobilization. The second argument is that micro-level attempts to influence meaning-making processes in public administrations could be undertaken in both direct and indirect ways. They may come in the form of words and “talk” directly intended to enact certain images in the organization, but also in the form of efforts to stabilize or reinforce the social dynamics holding such images in place. The study discusses several ways in which attempts to manage this dynamic may be carried out.

Empirically, the analytical model is applied to two case studies focusing on officials working in Swedish municipalities. The task set out for the cases is to investigate the officials’ attempts to gain support for an EU-funded partnership, with the objective of changing recruitment routines in their administrations. The results show that the officials indeed used both direct and indirect means to influence other members understanding of this practice. But also that there appeared to exist a certain dynamic between these means, underlining the need to apply a broad analytical framework when studying this steering, and on a more general note that such steering should be thought of as a product of both communicative and organizing skills.      

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor

Stockholm: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Stockholms universitet , 2018. , s. 298


Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 177

Digitalisering i den offentliga förvaltningen: IT, värden och legitimitet

Andréasson, Ester

Linköpings universitet, Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling, Statsvetenskap. Linköpings universitet, Filosofiska fakulteten.2015 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)

Abstract [sv]

Vi lever i ett samhälle där elektronisk information och kommunikation får en allt större betydelse både i vardags- och arbetslivet. I föreliggande avhandling studeras den utveckling som innebär att offentliga organisationer digitaliseras, det som kan kallas för e-förvaltning. Utgångspunkten för dessa studier är en vilja att undersöka vilka betydelser värden har i digitaliseringsprocesser i offentliga organisationer. Tre kvalitativa, tolkande, studier har genomförts. En av dessa var en studie av svenska e-förvaltningspolicyer. De två andra delstudierna var fallstudier av digitalisering som företogs i dels Landstinget i Östergötland, dels på Försäkringskassan. Fallstudierna har baserats på intervjuer, dokumentstudier och observationer. Teoretiskt bygger avhandlingens analyser på teorier om offentliga värden, legitimitet samt samspelet mellan teknik och organisation. Analyserna visar på vilka värden som ges betydelse i digitaliseringsprocesser i det offentliga och hur digitaliseringen kan påverka grundläggande demokratiska värden i offentliga organisationer. Avhandlingens resultat kan sammanfattas i tre övergripande slutsatser: 1) Digitaliseringen av den offentliga förvaltningen är kontextberoende och sker i ett samspel mellan teknik, policy och förvaltning samt de värden som är knutna till dessa. 2) Utvecklingen mot e-förvaltning ger uttryck för en mångfald av värden, och inspireras och formas av tankegods från olika värdegrunder. 3) Digitaliseringen kan påverka de demokratiska värdenas ställning i offentliga organisationer, och därmed ha betydelse för förvaltningens legitimitet. Avhandlingens centrala kunskapsbidrag är en större förståelse för vilka implikationer e-förvaltningsreformer kan ha för förvaltningens demokratiska och byråkratiska värden och dess legitimitet. Digitaliseringsprocesser är inte värdeneutrala, utan både formas av och formar värden i samspelet mellan teknik, politiska målsättningar och förvaltningens unika organisatoriska och verksamhetsmässiga förutsättningar. En medvetenhet kring digitaliseringens värden är därför betydelsefull när e-förvaltningsreformer initieras och genomförs. Ytterligare forskning om hur de processer ser ut där värden hos teknik och offentliga organisationer formar och präglar varandra kan bidra till att upprätthålla den offentliga förvaltningens legitimitet i en digitaliserad värld.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor

Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , s. 336

The transformation of public officials: from democrats to meritocrats


Författare Vicki Johansson |Förvaltningshögskolan Publikationsår2019

Publicerad iEuropean Group of Public Administration (EGPA) 11-13 September, Belfast


A meritocracy like all other ”cracies” aside from democracy is a stratification system in which one group of citizens is given greater legitimacy than others to participate in society’s collective decision-making processes. Nevertheless, as societal decision-making systems meritocracy and democracy are entirely incompatible. Is a society a meritocracy (those with knowledge govern and make decisions) it is not a democracy (all members regardless of knowledge govern and make decisions). Here, it is necessary to point out that meritocracy as a societal decision-making system does not equalize with meritocracy as a recruitment system. In contemporary political-administrative systems meritocratic and democratic decision-making principals are at work parallel and simultaneously at the same time as both meritocratic and democratic values are cherished and regarded as legitimate. One reasonable proposition is that when two basic values are conflicting with time one value will be strengthened on the expense of the other; Are democratic values strengthen meritocratic values are weekend and vice versa. In this paper changing values among managers and senior public officials and managers in Swedish municipalities is analysed. The analysis is based on two identical surveys conducted 1980 and 2016 (i:e before and after the implementation of NPM-inspired reforms) where a representative sample of municipal managers and senior officials were given the opportunity to answer questions about their tasks, working conditions, as well as attitudes and values. Theoretically the paper takes its departure in theories of meritocracy and democracy as well as management theories. The analysis shows that NPM-inspired reforms have changed the context within which managers and senior municipal officials perform their tasks affecting both their role perceptions, interaction patterns and values. In comparison with their colleges from 1980, the municipal officials of 2016 to a higher degree cherish meritocratic and elitist democratic values. The changes are most profound within the care and education sector.

Statstjänstemannarollen ur ett förvaltningspolitiskt perspektiv

Sundström, Göran

Stockholms universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.2019 (Svenska)Ingår i: Nordisk Administrativt Tidsskrift, ISSN 0029-1285, Vol. 96, nr 1, s. 57-72

Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor

2019. Vol. 96, nr 1, s. 57-72

Nationell ämneskategori

Studier av offentlig förvaltning




URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176962OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176962DiVA, id: diva2:1377467