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A Small Cog in a Large Wheel? : Experiences of Swedish Local Government

Percival, Edward LU (2012) WPMM41 20121
School of Social Work
Abstract
The primary purpose to this study was to explore the role of local government in Sweden, primarily through the eyes of some of the people working within one. Consideration of some of the structural characteristics of local government in Sweden, in particular the privileges and responsibilities accorded to local municipalities there and in what context, lead the author to conclude that Swedish municipal governments enjoy a relatively strong position vis-à-vis the central government and a key, independent role in the Swedish welfare state and its delivery of services to citizens. Some of the main structural conflicts inherent to local government which have been expressed in the reform process are also discussed. From this base the study... (More)
The primary purpose to this study was to explore the role of local government in Sweden, primarily through the eyes of some of the people working within one. Consideration of some of the structural characteristics of local government in Sweden, in particular the privileges and responsibilities accorded to local municipalities there and in what context, lead the author to conclude that Swedish municipal governments enjoy a relatively strong position vis-à-vis the central government and a key, independent role in the Swedish welfare state and its delivery of services to citizens. Some of the main structural conflicts inherent to local government which have been expressed in the reform process are also discussed. From this base the study seeks to explore the essence of working within a Swedish municipality as experienced by management and politicians developing and interpreting social policy in these environments in order to gain a second perspective on their role. For this a phenomenological method is employed, and over the course of several interviews conducted in Lunds kommun, a medium sized municipality in the south of Sweden, themes of discussion are developed, analysed, and discussed, outlining the various aspects these workers had experienced before summarising and describing the essence is attempted. This essence is found to be largely concerned with notions of public service. Working in a local government is seen as markedly different from work in the private sector but its identity relative to other levels of government is not emphasised. A clear focus on efficient and effective welfare delivery was also present. These elements lead to the conclusion that the experiences of managers and politicians indeed reflect some of the concerns and structural elements discussed previously but that expressions of local democracy and independence are understated. (Less)
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author
Percival, Edward LU
supervisor
organization
course
WPMM41 20121
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Local Government Phenomenology Sweden kommun public servants
language
English
id
3054009
date added to LUP
2012-10-30 13:10:19
date last changed
2012-10-30 13:10:19
@misc{3054009,
  abstract     = {The primary purpose to this study was to explore the role of local government in Sweden, primarily through the eyes of some of the people working within one. Consideration of some of the structural characteristics of local government in Sweden, in particular the privileges and responsibilities accorded to local municipalities there and in what context, lead the author to conclude that Swedish municipal governments enjoy a relatively strong position vis-à-vis the central government and a key, independent role in the Swedish welfare state and its delivery of services to citizens. Some of the main structural conflicts inherent to local government which have been expressed in the reform process are also discussed. From this base the study seeks to explore the essence of working within a Swedish municipality as experienced by management and politicians developing and interpreting social policy in these environments in order to gain a second perspective on their role. For this a phenomenological method is employed, and over the course of several interviews conducted in Lunds kommun, a medium sized municipality in the south of Sweden, themes of discussion are developed, analysed, and discussed, outlining the various aspects these workers had experienced before summarising and describing the essence is attempted. This essence is found to be largely concerned with notions of public service. Working in a local government is seen as markedly different from work in the private sector but its identity relative to other levels of government is not emphasised. A clear focus on efficient and effective welfare delivery was also present. These elements lead to the conclusion that the experiences of managers and politicians indeed reflect some of the concerns and structural elements discussed previously but that expressions of local democracy and independence are understated.},
  author       = {Percival, Edward},
  keyword      = {Local Government Phenomenology Sweden kommun public servants},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {A Small Cog in a Large Wheel? : Experiences of Swedish Local Government},
  year         = {2012},
}