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Manager and Civil Servant: Exploring actors' taken-for-granted assumptions in public administration

Karlsson, Tom LU (2014)
Abstract (Swedish)
Manager och Civil Servant är en utforskning av aktörers förgivet tagna antaganden vilka styr uppfattningar kring hur offentlig förvaltning ska ske i samtida välfärdsstater. Det hävdas att mer än 30 år av pågående och riktade reformer gentemot den offentliga förvaltningen har orsakat dilemman att uppstå. Dessa dilemman har resulterat i en förskjutning av balansen kring några fundamentala pelare inom den offentliga förvaltningen. Dessa reformer har dessutom lett till en framväxt av utmanande sociala system, vilket inneburit att nya föreställningar och praxis kommit att framträda. Forskningsfrågan är "hur gör aktörer som är engagerade i offentlig förvaltning för att förstå de dilemman de står inför". Teoretiskt innehåller denna avhandling... (More)
Manager och Civil Servant är en utforskning av aktörers förgivet tagna antaganden vilka styr uppfattningar kring hur offentlig förvaltning ska ske i samtida välfärdsstater. Det hävdas att mer än 30 år av pågående och riktade reformer gentemot den offentliga förvaltningen har orsakat dilemman att uppstå. Dessa dilemman har resulterat i en förskjutning av balansen kring några fundamentala pelare inom den offentliga förvaltningen. Dessa reformer har dessutom lett till en framväxt av utmanande sociala system, vilket inneburit att nya föreställningar och praxis kommit att framträda. Forskningsfrågan är "hur gör aktörer som är engagerade i offentlig förvaltning för att förstå de dilemman de står inför". Teoretiskt innehåller denna avhandling såväl institutionell teori som struktureringsteori. Dessa kombineras i ett ramverk, genom vilken agentur och struktur används för att karakterisera manifestationer av förgivet tagna antaganden. Ramverket är utarbetat genom konceptuella perspektiv på Management samt Ämbetsmannarollen i syfte att modellera en ram för den offentliga förvaltningen. Empiriskt innehåller denna avhandling en användning av kvalitativa såväl som kvantitativa metoder. Öppna intervjuer kombineras med självadministrerade enkäter, statistisk analys och fokusgrupper. Två viktiga bidrag är markerade. För det första, visas det hur aktörer som är engagerade i offentlig förvaltning avvisar tanken på en polarisering som inneboende i den offentliga förvaltningsverksamheten genom vilken dilemman kan accentueras. Som så minskas behovet kring begripliggörande till följd av aktörers omedvetna antagande av mening och sanktion vilka förkastar närvaron av dilemman. För det andra visar aktörers förmåga att avvisa polarisering, och därmed dilemman, på en kompartmentalisering av ömsesidigt beroende perspektiv. Å ena sidan antar aktörer ett internt perspektiv där Management är begripligt. Å andra sidan antar aktörer ett externt perspektiv i vilket instanser av Ämbetsmannaskap är begripligt. Separationen och uppdelningen av dessa perspektiv gör det möjligt för aktörer att avvisa dilemma samt att anta till synes olika roller samtidigt. De blir både Managers och Ämbetsmän. (Less)
Abstract
Manager and Civil Servant is an exploration of actors’ taken-for-granted assumptions that govern perceptions concerning how public administration should be undertaken within contemporary welfare states. It is argued that more than 30 years of continuous reforms directed towards public administration have caused dilemmas to arise. These dilemmas have resulted in a shifting of balances regarding the underpinning pillars of public administration. These reforms have furthermore resulted in an emergence of challenging social systems, entailing new beliefs and practices. The question posited is “how do actors engaged in public administration make sense of the dilemma(s) they face”. Theoretically, this dissertation entails institutional theory as... (More)
Manager and Civil Servant is an exploration of actors’ taken-for-granted assumptions that govern perceptions concerning how public administration should be undertaken within contemporary welfare states. It is argued that more than 30 years of continuous reforms directed towards public administration have caused dilemmas to arise. These dilemmas have resulted in a shifting of balances regarding the underpinning pillars of public administration. These reforms have furthermore resulted in an emergence of challenging social systems, entailing new beliefs and practices. The question posited is “how do actors engaged in public administration make sense of the dilemma(s) they face”. Theoretically, this dissertation entails institutional theory as well as Structuration Theory. These are combined in a framework, wherein agency and structure are used in order to characterise manifestations of taken-for-granted assumptions. The framework is furthermore elaborated through conceptual perspectives concerning Management as well as Civil Service in order to model a framework for public administration. Empirically, this dissertation entails a use of qualitative as well as quantitative methods. Open-ended interviews are combined with self-administered surveys, statistical analysis, and focus groups. Two important contributions are highlighted. Firstly, actors engaged in public administration reject the idea of polarisation concerning inherent public administrative activities and that the dilemma being accentuated within public administration. As such, instances of making sense are reduced due to an unconscious enactment of meanings and sanctions that reject the presence of dilemmas. Secondly, actors’ ability to reject polarisation, and thus dilemma, can be explained through compartmentalising interdependent perspectives. On the one hand actors enact an internal perspective wherein instances of Management make sense. On the other hand actors enact an external perspective wherein instances of Civil Service make sense. The separation and compartmentalisation of these perspectives not only enable actors to reject dilemma, they are enabled to enact seemingly different roles at once. They become both Managers and Civil Servants. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Gerdin, Jonas, Örebro University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Public Sector Reform, Management, Civil Service, Taken-for-granted Assumptions, Institutional Theory, Structuration Theory
pages
308 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
Holger Crafoords Ekonomicentrum, EC3:207
defense date
2014-06-03 10:15
ISBN
978-91-7473-979-4
978-91-7473-980-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e9060498-ef25-46b7-b749-f5ba7b66d5e1 (old id 4434199)
date added to LUP
2014-05-12 16:58:17
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:05
@misc{e9060498-ef25-46b7-b749-f5ba7b66d5e1,
  abstract     = {Manager and Civil Servant is an exploration of actors’ taken-for-granted assumptions that govern perceptions concerning how public administration should be undertaken within contemporary welfare states. It is argued that more than 30 years of continuous reforms directed towards public administration have caused dilemmas to arise. These dilemmas have resulted in a shifting of balances regarding the underpinning pillars of public administration. These reforms have furthermore resulted in an emergence of challenging social systems, entailing new beliefs and practices. The question posited is “how do actors engaged in public administration make sense of the dilemma(s) they face”. Theoretically, this dissertation entails institutional theory as well as Structuration Theory. These are combined in a framework, wherein agency and structure are used in order to characterise manifestations of taken-for-granted assumptions. The framework is furthermore elaborated through conceptual perspectives concerning Management as well as Civil Service in order to model a framework for public administration. Empirically, this dissertation entails a use of qualitative as well as quantitative methods. Open-ended interviews are combined with self-administered surveys, statistical analysis, and focus groups. Two important contributions are highlighted. Firstly, actors engaged in public administration reject the idea of polarisation concerning inherent public administrative activities and that the dilemma being accentuated within public administration. As such, instances of making sense are reduced due to an unconscious enactment of meanings and sanctions that reject the presence of dilemmas. Secondly, actors’ ability to reject polarisation, and thus dilemma, can be explained through compartmentalising interdependent perspectives. On the one hand actors enact an internal perspective wherein instances of Management make sense. On the other hand actors enact an external perspective wherein instances of Civil Service make sense. The separation and compartmentalisation of these perspectives not only enable actors to reject dilemma, they are enabled to enact seemingly different roles at once. They become both Managers and Civil Servants.},
  author       = {Karlsson, Tom},
  isbn         = {978-91-7473-979-4},
  keyword      = {Public Sector Reform,Management,Civil Service,Taken-for-granted Assumptions,Institutional Theory,Structuration Theory},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {308},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x813b628)},
  title        = {Manager and Civil Servant: Exploring actors' taken-for-granted assumptions in public administration},
  year         = {2014},
}