1st Edition

Modernizing the Public Sector
Scandinavian Perspectives

ISBN 9781138675940
Published December 13, 2016 by Routledge
262 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

USD $185.00

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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


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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.