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Political Entrepreneurship in Swedish: Towards a (Re)Theorization of Entrepreneurial Agency
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences. (RCR)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7316-4899
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Public policies affect all of us, regardless of who we are or where we live. The study of public policymaking necessarily entails the study of the entire political system and to this end, researchers employ a multitude of frameworks, theories, and models, which tend to be complementary rather than mutually exclusive. The focus of this dissertation is on political entrepreneurship as an actor-based framework to examine and understand policy change. The dissertation’s main aim is to conceptually enhance entrepreneurship and the entrepreneur in the polis by leveraging them in the Swedish political context. In this research, political entrepreneurship and the political entrepreneur are examined in the background of the Swedish corporatist policymaking system with its consensual sensibilities. The five (two theoretical and three empirical) papers as well as the cover essay comprising this dissertation attempt to answer the following questions: first, how do contextual factors inform the realization of entrepreneurial agency? Second, how do contextual factors inform the strategies entrepreneurial actors use to affect change? Third, what is the role of political entrepreneurship and the political entrepreneur in macro-level theories such as critical junctures and policy transfer? Contextual factors here are understood to be the general political system; the level of governance; the substantive policy sector, and the stage of the policy process. Predominantly qualitative methods and a variety of analytical tools, ranging from formal social network analysis (SNA) to process tracing are used to investigate the research questions in the national, regional, and local levels of governance and in the fields of crisis management, risk governance, and economic development respectively. Findings suggest that overwhelmingly, political entrepreneurs come from the ranks of public officials and thus political entrepreneurship is a feature of the policy implementation stage rather than the agenda setting stage of policymaking. There is not a place for the outsider, single issue entrepreneur in the Swedish consensual system, which provides for extensive inclusion, but of actors organized in interest groups. Political entrepreneurs are action-oriented, problem solving doers, characterized by perseverance and resourcefulness and are key in consolidating policy change in the aftermath of a crisis. Though in broad terms the strategies political entrepreneurs use in the Swedish context are concomitant with the ones used in pluralistic contexts, specificities diverge. In the Swedish corporatist consensual system, political entrepreneurship becomes a conduit facilitating interconnections among a multitude of actors; opens up additional channels of communication, while the political entrepreneur is a network maker. Finally, political entrepreneurship is focused on forging a consensus rather than winning the competition: the art of quiet cooperation and collaboration. 

Abstract [sv]

Den offentliga politiken berör alla medborgare, oavsett vem man är och var man bor. Forskning om policyskapande och politiskt beslutsfattande omfattar det hela politiska systemet. Därför använder sig forskare av ett stort antal komplementära ramverk, teorier och modeller. Denna avhandling använder politiskt entreprenörskap som ett aktörsbaserat ramverkför att undersöka och förstå policyförändring. Avhandlingens huvudsyfte är att utveckla de teoretiska begreppen ”politiskt entreprenörskap”och ”politiska entreprenörer” genom att undersöka dem inom det svenska politiska systemet. Avhandlingen består av en kappa och fem artiklar, varav två är uteslutande teoretiska och tre omfattar analys av empiriskt material. Alla fem söker att besvara följande forskningsfrågor: Först, hur påverkar kontextuella faktorer möjliggörandet av entreprenöriell agens? För det andra, hur präglar kontextuella faktorer de strategier som entreprenöriella aktörer använder sig av för att åstadkomma förändring? För det tredje, vilken roll har politiskt entreprenörskap och politiska entreprenörer i makroteorier, särskilt critical junctures och policy transfer? Med kontextuella faktorer avses här det politiska systemets karaktär; governance-nivå; policyområde, och stadie i policyprocessen. Forskningsfrågorna undersöks huvudsakligen genom kvalitativa metoder; data analyseras med formell social nätverksanalys, innehållsanalys och process-spårning. Studierna behandlar olika politiska områden på olika politiska nivåer: krishantering på den nationella nivån, risk-governance på den regionala nivån och tillväxt på den lokala nivån. Resultaten visar att  politiska entreprenörer huvudsakligen återfinns bland byråkrater, vilket innebär att politiskt entreprenörskap sker i implementeringen av policyer snarare än i det politiska agendasättandet. Svensk korporatism kännetecknas av en omfattande inkludering av aktörer som organiserar sig inom intressegrupper. Däremot finns litet utrymme för enskilda politiska entreprenörer. Politiska entreprenörer beskrivs ofta som handlingsinriktade problemlösare, uthålliga och rådiga. Efter samhällskriser  är  de viktiga  i  förändringen av policyer. Även om de strategier som svenska politiska entreprenörer tillämpar i stort sett liknar de som används inom pluralistiska  system, finns det också flera  skillnader. Inom den svenska korporatismen, blir politiskt entreprenörskap en kanal som underlättar kopplingar mellan flera olika aktörer–entreprenören blir en nätverkskapare. Politiskt entreprenörskap i Sverige tycks handla om att skapa konsensus snarare än att vinna i konkurrens: det är det tysta samarbetets och samverkans konst.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2017. , p. 80
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 252
Keywords [en]
political entrepreneurship, policy; crisis management, risk governance, economic development
National Category
Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29683ISBN: 978-91-88025-82-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-29683DiVA, id: diva2:1057901
Public defence
2017-01-20, F234, Kunskapens Väg 1, Östersund, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 3 inskickat, delarbete 4 accepterat, delarbete 5 inskickat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 3 submitted, paper 4 accepted, paper 5 submitted.

Available from: 2016-12-21 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2017-01-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Theories of the Policy Process: Contemporary Scholarship and Future Directions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Theories of the Policy Process: Contemporary Scholarship and Future Directions
2014 (English)In: Policy Studies Journal, ISSN 0190-292X, E-ISSN 1541-0072, Vol. 42, no Supplement issue s1, p. s12-s32Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The object of policy research is the understanding of the interaction among the machinery of the state, political actors, and the public. To facilitate this understanding, a number of complementary theories have developed in the course of more than two decades. This article reviews recent scholarship on the established theories of the policy process, mostly published in 2011 and 2012. Additionally, scholarship extending these theories is identified and new theories of policy process are discussed. This review finds that the established theories have generated substantive scholarship during the period under review and have also been the springboard for much of the recent thinking in policy research.

Keywords
established theories of policy process; new theories of policy process; policy subsystems; policy networks; policy entrepreneurs
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-21959 (URN)10.1111/psj.12054 (DOI)2-s2.0-84900421226 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-05-26 Created: 2014-05-26 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
2. Entrepreneurial Resilience: Role of policy entrepreneurs in the political perspective of crisis management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Entrepreneurial Resilience: Role of policy entrepreneurs in the political perspective of crisis management
2015 (English)In: Organizational Resilience: Concepts, Integration and Practice / [ed] Ran Bhamra, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015, p. 67-81Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-26081 (URN)
Available from: 2015-10-14 Created: 2015-10-14 Last updated: 2016-12-20Bibliographically approved
3. For safety’s sake: the strategies of institutional entrepreneurs and bureaucratic reforms in Swedish crisis management, 2001–2009
Open this publication in new window or tab >>For safety’s sake: the strategies of institutional entrepreneurs and bureaucratic reforms in Swedish crisis management, 2001–2009
2017 (English)In: Policy & Society: Journal of public, foreign and global policy, ISSN 1449-4035, E-ISSN 1839-3373, Vol. 36, no 4, p. 556-574Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on the bureaucratic reforms in Sweden which resulted in the creation of the Secretariat for Crisis Management and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. We investigate the mechanisms that lead to divergent change through the critical juncture analytical approach. The study’s findings suggest that the bureaucratic reforms were the result of the critical juncture between 2001 and 2009, which included, inter alia, the release of a commission of inquiry report, a major political crisis and a national election. Moreover, we situate entrepreneurial agency in this analysis while we contribute to the theorization of institutional entrepreneurship by focusing on the implementation stage of institutional change. In order to overcome the institutional resistance stemming from an attempt to preserve the existing power structures, institutional entrepreneurs use the following three strategies: (i) the strategy of listening; (ii) the strategy of advertising early success and (iii) the strategy of picking up the phone.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2017
Keywords
Institutional entrepreneurship, critical junctures, crisis management, process tracing, Swedish politics
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29700 (URN)10.1080/14494035.2017.1369677 (DOI)000418689000006 ()2-s2.0-85045634463 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-12-21 Created: 2016-12-21 Last updated: 2018-05-16Bibliographically approved
4. Policy Entrepreneurship and Policy Transfer: Flood Risk Governance in Northern Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Policy Entrepreneurship and Policy Transfer: Flood Risk Governance in Northern Sweden
2017 (English)In: Central European Journal of Public Policy, ISSN 1802-4866, E-ISSN 1802-4866, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 1-12Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Central to policies relating to risk governance at the regional and local levels is the interactions between the public and private sectors also referred to as networked governance. At the same time, the role of political actors in general and policy entrepreneurs in particular in terms of policy change has gained considerable traction in recent policy scholarship. The purpose of this study was to investigate the change in governance arrangements resulting in the formation of a coordination network in regional flood risk management—the first of its kind in Sweden. Our research is guided by the following questions:  first, would the policy change (the establishment of the networks) have taken place if a policy entrepreneur were not part of the policy transfer process? Second, what is the role of policy entrepreneurship in the implementation of the policy after its nationwide adoption? Third, what other factors played a role in the variation of the results in the implemented policy that is, the enforced networks? We find the role of a policy entrepreneur key in the policy transfer from the regional to the national level. In order to investigate the resultant networks, we draw from B. Guy Peters (1998) and his conceptualization of factors which affect the politics of coordination. In addition to the presence of a policy entrepreneur, we compare: (i) pluriformity of network members; (ii) member interdependence; (iii) redundancy of structures, and (iv) degree of formality (in terms of meetings). Our findings suggest that entrepreneurs contribute to the variation in the functionality of the enforced river groups, though other factors play a significant role as well. Most importantly, perhaps, we did not identify entrepreneurs in any of the river groups which were not functional.

Keywords
Policy entrepreneurs, policy transfer, networks, risk governance, implementation, coordination
National Category
Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29681 (URN)10.1515/cejpp-2016-0028 (DOI)2-s2.0-85021324112 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-12-19 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
5. Entrepreneurship in the Swedish municipal polis: the case of Mer [*] Östersund
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Entrepreneurship in the Swedish municipal polis: the case of Mer [*] Östersund
2018 (English)In: Policy Studies, ISSN 0144-2872, E-ISSN 1470-1006, Vol. 39, no 1, p. 70-89Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Scholars in political science and policy studies have been paying increasing attention to a specific kind of actor, the policy entrepreneur, as an agent of change. Less attention has been paid to the contextual factors that may shape entrepreneurial action as most of the extant research is performed in pluralistic systems and in high complexity policy sectors. This is a study of a routine planning process in the municipality of ostersund in Northern Sweden with the purpose of studying the kind of actors that may act entrepreneurially (the who); the kind of strategies they use; and what contextual powers facilitate these strategies (the how). This two-and-a-half-year routine, low-complexity process was analyzed with in-depth interviews and a survey, participant observation, document analysis, and formal social network analysis. Findings suggest that professional administrators acted entrepreneurially by employing a set of six strategies while the members of civil society were central - though not entrepreneurial - participants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
Policy entrepreneurship, community planning, economic development, municipal government, social network analysis, Swedish politics, policy-making, governance
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29702 (URN)10.1080/01442872.2018.1434872 (DOI)000425790900005 ()
Available from: 2016-12-21 Created: 2016-12-21 Last updated: 2018-07-19Bibliographically approved

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