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Manager and civil servant: exploring actors' taken-for-granted assumptions in public administration
Lund University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0779-3360
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Lund University , 2014. , p. 300
Keywords [en]
Public Sector Reforms, Management, Civil Service, Taken-for-granted assumptions, Institutional Theory, Structuration Theory
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Economy, Business administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-38122ISBN: 978-91-7473-979-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7473-980-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-38122DiVA, id: diva2:762396
Public defence
2014-06-03, 15:45 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-11-13 Created: 2014-11-11 Last updated: 2016-05-30Bibliographically approved

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Karlsson, Tom S.

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf