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The group’s activities focus on advanced research on public institutions at all administrative levels (municipalities, counties, state) and their interaction with non-public institutions, and on studies across multiple welfare sectors with a focus on change dynamics within local and regional government, Nordic health care and higher education. Prominent topics include:

  • Change and continuity: focusing on the design and function of public organizations, especially on “new” forms including inter-organizational coordination and cooperation, multilevel systems and complex network arrangements. Studying change processes at the micro level to understand the possibilities for, and limits to, planned change.
  • Comparative public policy: investigating similarities and differences across countries (e.g. reform dynamics), administrative layers, levels of analysis, modes of governance and sectors of activity, with a privileged focus on the Nordic countries and the wider European region.
  • Leadership and management: analyzing both the internal effects of government-led reforms (e.g. NPM and post-NPM) across the public sector as well as differences and similarities between leadership in public, private and hybrid organizations.
  • Cultural dimensions: shedding light on the intangible side of public governance, public management and public organizations by comparing values and norms across countries, levels of government, and between public and private sectors.
  • Political-administrative dynamics: Studying the interaction between the political and the administrative sphere to understand the dynamics of overlapping responsibilities, and to understand how interaction varies between different contexts (nation, administrative levels, formal structures). 

Empirical focus

  • Local and regional government
  • Health care sector
  • Higher education sector
  • Public organizations more generally, compared to private and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Hidden and marginal organizations

Analytical and theoretical perspectives

  • Organizational theory (including leadership theory)
  • Institutional theory
  • Network theory
  • Governance theory (NPM, post-NPM, new Weberian state, etc.)
  • Resource dependency theory
  • Stakeholder theory
  • Principal agent theory
  • Sociology of Science and of the professions
  • Systems theory
  • Culture theory
  • Organisational Symbolism theory
  • Theory of Representative Bureaucracy

Recent and ongoing Projects

  • Sustainable communities in the Kattegat-Skagerrak region — Welfare reforms, collaborative governance and changing managerial roles
  • The Public Health Coordinators role, function and impact in Norwegian local governance (2020- )
  • Assessing the performance effects of changes in leadership in management structures in Nordic Higher Education, 2014-2017 (Norwegian research council). 
  • Nordic Gender Equality Policy in a Europeanization Perspective, 2015-2017 (NIKK - Nordic Information on Gender, cooperation with Linköping University, University of Copenhagen, NTNU, University of Aalborg)
  • Comparative Study of Mergers in Nordic Higher Education, 2013-2015 (Swedish foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • The global financial crisis and the public sector in the Nordic countries, 2014-2016 (Nordic joint council for social sciences and humanities)
  • Micro-level Socialization and the Role of the Institutional Environment in Civic Engagement, 2011-2016 (Flemish Science Foundation; cooperation with Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Comparing leadership in public, private and hybrid organizations (cooperation with the Norwegian School of Economics/AFF, Bergen)
  • Strategic Management in local Government (cooperation with Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Tampere University, Ghent University, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  • Causes and consequences of diverging organizational culture (cooperation with the Norwegian School of Economics/AFF, Bergen, and Telenor)

Selected Academic Partners

  • Norway: Oslo (Oslo University, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo and Akershus University College for Applied Sciences), Tromsø (The Arctic University), Bodø (Nord University), Bergen (Norwegian School of Economics, University of Bergen).
  • Finland: Tampere, Lapland and Eastern Finland
  • Sweden: KTH, Royal Institute of Technology and Lund
  • Denmark: Copenhagen, Aarhus and Aalborg
  • Germany: Bremen
  • Netherlands: Twente, Rotterdam
  • Belgium: Ghent, Brussels
  • UK: University College London, University of East Anglia.
  • Estonia: Tartu Institute of Technology
  • Czech Republic: Charles and Center for Higher Education Policy
  • Poland: Cracow University of Economics, Nicolaus Copernicus and Poznan
  • North America: Stanford, Michigan, Toronto…
  • South America: Sao Paulo and Campinas (Brazil)
  • Russia: National Research University/Higher school of economics
  • Africa: Wits, Eastern Cape and Pretoria (South Africa), Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique).
  • Indonesia: Gadjah Mada University

Regional Partners

  • Kristiansand Municipality
  • Øst- and Vest- Agder counties
  • Agderforskning
  • Southern Norway Hospital

Relevant PhD-programmes

Social Science, PhD programme,
Specialization in Public Administration

Members in the group