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Implementing public management trends: Policy diffusion in the establishment of municipal service centers in Sweden
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (Center for Democratic Government in Change)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9599-7776
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Establishing one-stop shops is an ongoing global trend and research on the topic has been published since early 00s until today (c.f. Shahaida, Jayasimha, and Nargundkar, 2005; Bhatti et al., 2011; Poddighe and Ianniello, 2011; Turner, 2012 & Bernhard and Wihlborg, 2014). This management trend focused in the beginning to a great extent on the e-perspective and has shifted more and more towards a broader service perspective and face-to-face interactions.

In Sweden, we are now witnessing the fast spreading of municipal service centers (MSCs) also called contact centers, customer service, and citizen centers. Today there are at least 76 centers and more are opening shortly. The municipal service center is a particular form of one-stop shop on the local level, with the aim to create a new kind of local government-citizen interaction. The two main motives for establishing MSCs are to provide equal opportunities for all citizens to obtain high-quality service and to make citizen–government interaction more efficient and cost-effective. The central idea is to gather all arenas for interaction, in one geographical location accessed via one phone number and one website, etc.

The question is why this trend is spreading quickly in Sweden at this point in time. Is it something qualitatively different than other one-stop shops in other national contexts or more or less the same trend? Policy diffusion could be a conscious or a more subtle process of incorporating innovative ideas into an ordinary public sector activity There are at least three main mechanisms such as; (i) calculations of economic and other gains and consequences of adopting a certain policy innovation, for instance benchmarking (ii) sheer imitation; and (iii) more direct and sometimes coercive ways to incorporate ideas into a specific context (Marsh & Sharman, 2009). It is quite clear that we are witnessing a diffusion of an idea and this article concentrates on describing and understanding the diffusion process in the establishment of service centers in Sweden. Theories on policy diffusion, learning and transfer are used to frame the topic. What happens when a seemingly global reform trend lands in the Swedish urban context? Does it take a different shape, does it involve learning from similar processes, or is it simply a question of imitating other proclaimed success stories?

The article is based on a survey sent to the 76 service centers mentioned and on a case study in the municipality of Örebro performed during 2014-2015.

References

Bernhard, Irene Cecilia & Wihlborg, Elin (2014) Policy entrepreneurs in networks, International journal of entrepreneurship and small business, 21 (3): 288-302.

Bhatti, Yosef; Olsen, Asmus Leth; & Pedersen, Lene Holm (2011) Administrative Professionals and the Diffusion of Innovations: The Case of Citizen Service Centers, Public Administration, 89 (2): 577–594.

Marsh, David & Sharman, J.C. (2009) ‘Policy diffusion and policy transfer’, Policy

Studies, 30 (3): 269-288.

Poddighe, Francesco & Ianniello, Mario (2011) Lean Production and One-Stop Shop for Municipal Services, Public Administration & Management, 16 (1): 1–20.

Shahaida, P, Jayasimha, K. R & Nargundkar, R. (2005) Bangalore One: A One Stop Shop for Government Services, South Asian Journal of Management, 14 (4): 138–154.

Turner, Mark (2012) Decentralization, Politics and Service Delivery. The introduction of one-stop shops in Mongolia, Public Management Review, 12 (2): 197–215.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-50233OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-50233DiVA: diva2:926923
Conference
The annual Conference of the Swedish Political Science Association (SWEPSA), Stockholm, Sweden, October 14-16, 2015
Available from: 2016-05-10 Created: 2016-05-10 Last updated: 2016-05-11Bibliographically approved

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Kristianssen, Ann-Catrin
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School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden
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CiteExportLink to record
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