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Building the boat while at sea: public values and organizational dilemmas when launching a municipal service center
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Center for Democratic Government in Change)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9599-7776
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Center for Democratic Government in Change)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3602-1837
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Reforms and re-organizations in public administration are today common features in our society. One particularly popular form of re-organization is that of the municipal service center gathering communication activities, such as reception desks and customer services at various administrative units/sectors, in one location, physically as well as on the Internet and social media. Some proponents of this organizational reform point to democratic gains and others to efficiency and effectiveness. The purpose of this article is to scrutinize the process of organizing and implementing a municipal service center in a mid-size Swedish municipality. The empirical data consists of public documents and 29 semi-structured interviews with politicians, managing directors and other key actors. The results show that the studied MSC had a relatively narrow NPM-inspired design, which does not represent the municipality as a political-democratic organization. Values like efficiency and easy access were prioritized, while democratic values were not properly addressed as expected in a democratic organization. The article examines the process from initiation to the opening of the service center, and discerns four essential dilemmas. These dilemmas concern the value-priorities made such as focusing on the re-organization process or the product, customer or citizen, politicians or bureaucrat, and efficiency or deliberation. The process of prioritization led to a municipal service center that lacked some of the main ingredients such as e-services and satellite offices. The MSC can thus be viewed as a boat that will be completed and possibly rebuilt at sea.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keywords [en]
Municipal service center, public values, new public management, public administration, public management reform
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-42383OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-42383DiVA, id: diva2:785918
Conference
NOPSA 2014 XVII Nordic Political Science Congress, Göteborg, Sweden, August 12-15, 2014
Projects
Örebro kommuns servicecenterAvailable from: 2015-02-04 Created: 2015-02-04 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Kristianssen, Ann-CatrinOlsson, Jan

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • 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