1st Edition

Modernizing the Public Sector Scandinavian Perspectives

Edited By Irvine Lapsley, Hans Knutsson Copyright 2017
    278 Pages
    by Routledge

    278 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    As policymakers and scholars evaluate possible ways forward in the reform and renewal of public services by governments caught up in a recessionary environment, this book aims to offer something different – a comprehensive analysis of the development of the ‘Scandinavian’ way of modernizing public-sector management. No book has yet provided an inside view of the development and character of New Public Management (NPM) in Scandinavia. Although there is a general perception that there is a clear-cut ‘Scandinavian’ model of public policy and management, this book offers a more nuanced interpretation, illuminating subtle distinctions in political, social and economic context which are significant in identifying receptive contexts for the adoption of modernization policies.

    Organized into three main themes in the modernization of the welfare state – management, governance and marketization – the contents revolve around unique empirical accounts, revealing distinctive Scandinavian characteristics of reform initiatives. The received wisdom may be a hesitant follower of the UK and the USA. But this book offers an alternative interpretation, revealing an edginess in certain Scandinavian settings, particularly in Sweden, which is a largely unrecognized.

    Without compromising the welfare state, it may be a bold frontrunner in the development of New Public Management.

    1. Making Sense of Public Sector Reforms: Scandinavian Perspectives

    Irvine Lapsley

    2. New Public Management in a Scandinavian Context

    Hans Knutsson, Ola Mattisson, Salme Nasi, Kari Nyland & Peter Skarbak

    Part 1: Management

    3. Shaping NPM: Social Democratic Values at Work

    Tom S. Karlsson

    4. Challenging the Myth of NPM in Denmark – An Argument from the Health System

    Nikolaj Kure and Margit Malmmose

    5. Process-orientation and Management Control in Health Care Organizations

    Gert Paulsson

    6. The Welfare Sate that Wanted to Keep Track of its Citizens: Personal Identity

    Numbers as Administrative Technology

    Alexander Paulsson

    Part 2: Governance

    7. The Unfolding of Agency Autonomy over Time: The Swedish Social Insurance

    Agency 2003-2015

    Louise Bringselius

    8. Audit in a Trusting Climate

    Age Johnsen, Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud, Thomas Carrington, and Kim Klarskov


    9. Local Government Cooperation – A Better Way to Respond to Conditions?

    Ola Mattisson

    10. What About the Boards? Issues of Transparency and Accountability in Board


    Anna Thomasson

    11. Leadership and Strategy in a Transforming Academic Field.

    Christine Blomqvist

    Part 3: Marketization

    12. Market Solutions

    Fredrik Andersson

    13. Introducing Quasi-markets in Primary Care: The Swedish Experience

    Anna Hager Glenngard & Anders Anell

    14. Managing Profits and Professionalism in the Swedish School System

    Robert Wenglen

    15. Welfare Choices: A Story of Market Forces and Social Progress



    Irvine Lapsley is director of the Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research at the University of Edinburgh Business School, UK.

    Hans Knutsson is a senior lecturer at the School of Economics and Management at Lund University, Sweden.

    It is a common mistake to equate ‘New Public Management’ with the ideas and practices of the Anglo-American world. This book provides a valuable corrective to that view by analysing the development of New Public Management from a Scandinavian perspective. It brings out the Scandinavian historical roots of some important ideas about modern public service management, traces their dynamics and brings out the special social context that shapes their outcomes. Anyone interested in how to make public services work effectively should read this book.
    Professor Christopher Hood, Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford, UK