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Mergers of semi-autonomous central agencies: The Swedish trajectory and the case of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency

Bringselius, Louise LU (2012) EGPA (European Group for Public Administration)
Abstract
As the number of autonomous executive agencies increases, some countries have started merging agencies, thereby aiming to reduce fragmentation and cut public spending. These mergers have passed conspicuously unnoticed in research. In Sweden, the current wave of agency mergers started in the 1990ies. This paper aims to (1) give a background to the Swedish trajectory with agency mergers and to (2), based on a case study, explore some key problems which have hampered implementation. Finally (3), the paper suggests a set of constraints for managerial discretion in agency mergers. The case study is focused on the reformation of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (SSIA) during the 9 year period 2004-2012. The paper suggests that the mergers in... (More)
As the number of autonomous executive agencies increases, some countries have started merging agencies, thereby aiming to reduce fragmentation and cut public spending. These mergers have passed conspicuously unnoticed in research. In Sweden, the current wave of agency mergers started in the 1990ies. This paper aims to (1) give a background to the Swedish trajectory with agency mergers and to (2), based on a case study, explore some key problems which have hampered implementation. Finally (3), the paper suggests a set of constraints for managerial discretion in agency mergers. The case study is focused on the reformation of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (SSIA) during the 9 year period 2004-2012. The paper suggests that the mergers in Sweden not only represent institutional changes, but also an ideological change, where agencies become more formalized, centralized and distanced in relation to both clients and employees – but closer in relation to the principal. Observations from the SSIA also support this suggestion. Finally, a key problem in the SSIA merger was a controversy between the agency management and the ministry concerning whether policy changes should be given precedence over internal restructurings or not. The priority of policy implementation is one of the four constraints suggested in the paper. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Agency mergers, mergers, public reform, policy implementation, change management, agencification
conference name
EGPA (European Group for Public Administration)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bf40dff2-241e-48f2-b161-904cc180eb09 (old id 2968080)
date added to LUP
2012-08-06 10:36:59
date last changed
2016-04-16 12:49:34
@misc{bf40dff2-241e-48f2-b161-904cc180eb09,
  abstract     = {As the number of autonomous executive agencies increases, some countries have started merging agencies, thereby aiming to reduce fragmentation and cut public spending. These mergers have passed conspicuously unnoticed in research. In Sweden, the current wave of agency mergers started in the 1990ies. This paper aims to (1) give a background to the Swedish trajectory with agency mergers and to (2), based on a case study, explore some key problems which have hampered implementation. Finally (3), the paper suggests a set of constraints for managerial discretion in agency mergers. The case study is focused on the reformation of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (SSIA) during the 9 year period 2004-2012. The paper suggests that the mergers in Sweden not only represent institutional changes, but also an ideological change, where agencies become more formalized, centralized and distanced in relation to both clients and employees – but closer in relation to the principal. Observations from the SSIA also support this suggestion. Finally, a key problem in the SSIA merger was a controversy between the agency management and the ministry concerning whether policy changes should be given precedence over internal restructurings or not. The priority of policy implementation is one of the four constraints suggested in the paper.},
  author       = {Bringselius, Louise},
  keyword      = {Agency mergers,mergers,public reform,policy implementation,change management,agencification},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Mergers of semi-autonomous central agencies: The Swedish trajectory and the case of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency},
  year         = {2012},
}