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Managing Multiplicity: On Control, Care and the Individual
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This is a thesis about managing multiplicity. It analyses how people working in municipalities are managing, controlling, and caring for the complex and contradictory world they live in. Building on more than 100 interviews and observations, the thesis examines the multiple realities of those who work in public sector organisations. By studying (1) the work of managers on different organisational levels, controllers, professionals responsible for the care of others and, to a lesser extent, politicians; (2) the management control systems that are used in the work, and (3) the ongoing debates and legislations directed towards the management of care practices, the thesis makes an effort to analyse how the realities of these individuals; those active in controlling and caring, are constructed.

The thesis makes several contributions to the literatures on management control and public management. Where earlier studies are either based on a functionalist conception of management control and public management (in which performance measures and control systems are tools in the hands of managers, that enable them to control other practices), or focused on understanding how control contributes to the construction of reality (making reality ontologically coherent, and therefore controllable), the present thesis argues that management can be approached and analysed as a practice devoted to managing ontological multiplicity, rather than as an activity devoted to control other practices or making reality controllable.

By using the concept of ontological politics, the thesis shows that control often fails to make reality controllable, which makes the practice of management reliant on alternative ways to manage. The alternative to control that is analysed in the thesis is care, and the thesis argues that care could be seen as a way to manage, rather than as something that should be controlled: care is complementary to control when it comes to management. The thesis explicates how management by care is done in relation to management by control, and how they may become resources for each other in managing the complex and contradictory public sector.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University , 2015. , 82 p.
Keyword [en]
Management control, Local governments, New Public Management, Ontological politics, Care
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117034ISBN: 978-91-7649-171-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-117034DiVA: diva2:809860
Public defence
2015-06-11, Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Roslagsvägen 101, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Accepted. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-05-20 Created: 2015-05-05 Last updated: 2017-01-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. From ‘either or’ to ‘both and’: organisational management in the aftermath of NPM
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From ‘either or’ to ‘both and’: organisational management in the aftermath of NPM
2015 (English)In: Offentlig Förvaltning. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, ISSN 2000-8058, E-ISSN 2001-3310, Vol. 19, no 2, 7-25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the next phase of public management: the era of paradox. As new public management (NPM) policies and practices were shown to be inadequate to solve the problems of public management, they began to be complemented – rather than replaced – with new reforms and practices. These reforms and practices are often contradictory to existing ones, leaving managers in a difficult position. By extending the debate about contradictions and paradox from the policy level to the organisational level, we show how public sector managers work to resolve these contradictions in a situated manner, keeping the contradictions alive rather than resolving them permanently.

Keyword
New public management, Post-NPM, Managing contradictions, Local governments, Municipal management
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117030 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-05 Created: 2015-05-05 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. Client Focus, Cooperation and Coherence: (Re)professionalising Processes for Elderly Care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Client Focus, Cooperation and Coherence: (Re)professionalising Processes for Elderly Care
2017 (English)In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408, Vol. 33, no 1, 3-26 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper suggests the study of professionalism and the professionalising processes within public sector organisations. Sociologists propose that professionalism is changing into a new variant developing under the premise of organisational management and control. This paper disputes the perspective that the use of management control leads to deprofessionalisation in terms of the routinisation of reflective professional tasks or weakened professional values. This paper proposes that, with client focus, professionals and accountants can cooperate and create coherence between management control system elements and professional values. This dynamic contributes to the retention of professional values and more reflective work procedures.

Keyword
professionalising processes, organisational management, management control systems, deprofessionalisation
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137842 (URN)10.1111/faam.12103 (DOI)000397252700001 ()
Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-12 Last updated: 2017-05-02Bibliographically approved
3. Sources of dissension: The making and breaking of the individual customer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sources of dissension: The making and breaking of the individual customer
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is well known that both management and professional work in areas such as health and aged care rely upon division of individuals into categories of for example diagnoses or costs and revenues. The present paper, however, wish to turn this around and ask: what happens if individuality, the indivisible wholeness of the person, is taken seriously in such practices? When every human being is interpreted as unique and special, and her wholeness is supposed to be realised in the relationship between professionals and the individual customer? The paper analyses two rivalrous programmes – the programmes of efficiency and individuality – and their operationalisations in the Swedish aged care, and show how these programmes and their corresponding technologies are sources of dissension that can be used to problematise how aged care should be conducted. However, such dissension also opens up spaces of freedom, which allows care practitioners to conduct their work differently.

Keyword
Management Control, Governmentality, Dissension, Individualisation, Aged care
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117032 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-05 Created: 2015-05-05 Last updated: 2015-05-06
4. Determining care quality: On the strength and weakness of management control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Determining care quality: On the strength and weakness of management control
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main arguments in this paper are that management control succeeds because it fails, that it fails because it succeeds, and that accounting numbers work because they are problematic. It is when accounting succeeds in gaining support of powerful allies, silencing other voices, and appears as immutable; a conveyor of truth, it undermines the activities it is supposed to represent and control. When accounting fails to convince, however; when it produces ambiguity, fails to speak for everyone, and makes up a contestable element in the fabric of reality, it contributes to new problematisations, new solutions and new activities. These claims can be made by complementing earlier analyses of management accounting and control with recent writings on multiple practical realities, fluid technologies, and mattering. The analysis of this paper shows that the power to control matters does not necessarily lie in the ability to handle or control certain kinds of matters, such as inscriptions. Instead there are always on-going struggles over controlling the mattering practices that keeps the world going.

Keyword
Management control, accounting inscriptions
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117033 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-05 Created: 2015-05-05 Last updated: 2015-05-06

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