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Dilemmas and value-priorities when establishing a municipal service center: for what and for whom?
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (Center for Democratic Government in Change)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9599-7776
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3602-1837
2014 (English)Conference paper, (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the basic tasks in governing our society is to identity and to build an efficient and well-functioning system for public administration. Therefore it is rather natural that we see a constant flow of public administration reforms and re-organization trends. These trends can take different forms and the challenges in the implementation and legitimation processes varies depending on which level we are examining. Reforms within the municipal administration are often affected by local preconditions concerning for instance geography, demography, local culture, and local politics. Nonetheless, municipalities are also recipients and producers of ideas in a global diffusion of reform trends.

Citizen-local government interaction is one of those areas under constant scrutiny. How municipalities communicate with and deliver service to citizens have always been areas of constant development, influenced by for instance democratic and technological innovations. The interaction has been guided by different organizational trends over the years such as community centers located in different geographical areas, citizen centers located in municipal buildings such as libraries, or reception desks at every administrative unit. These organizational forms have often been combined with a traditional switchboard. In recent years, municipalities have absorbed a new organizational form of communicating and interacting with citizens – citizen service centers – CSCs. The idea is to gather all reception desks, switchboards, and various citizen centers to one geographical location, one phone number and one home page. This is a major re-organization of citizen-government interaction and in such a process a number of choices have to be made, often related to various dilemmas and values.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges and dilemmas during the process of establishing a municipal service center in a medium sized Swedish municipality. What are the main values at stake during the process? What is the relation between problem framing, motives and solutions along the way? The focus of the paper is threefold: to overview the process of establishing a municipal service center; to explore what values prevail during the process and why; and to discuss the dilemma of executing the re-organization without having solved all the relevant problems. This paper aims to contribute mainly to the field of public management reform.

The conclusions are based on 29 semi-structured interviews with municipal politicians on several levels, managing directors of all the administrative units, and other key actors in this process of re-organization. The interviews were performed during 2013 and 2014.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-42580OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-42580DiVA: diva2:787692
Conference
Statsvetenskapliga förbundets årsmöteskonferens, Lund, Sweden, October 8-10, 2014
Available from: 2015-02-11 Created: 2015-02-11 Last updated: 2015-03-05Bibliographically approved

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Kristianssen, Ann-CatrinOlsson, Jan
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School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden
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  • apa
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