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Mer eller mindre byråkratisk - en studie av organisationsförändringar inom Kronofogdemyndigheten

by Espersson, Malin, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
Extensive changes in public organizations have been carried through since the end of the 20th century as a way of achieving higher efficiency. Inspiration came from the private sector. The Swedish Enforcement Authority carried through several organizational changes during this time. The authority was during 1997-2006 organized in ten independent authorities subordinated to the National Tax Board. This thesis deals with the organizational changes within the Malmoe authority, which from 2001 organized its personnel in teams in order to increase productivity and improve the work environment. Almost at the same time a new computer system and a new production target were introduced. This thesis focuses on the impacts and consequences of the organizational changes in an authority with large demands on legal rights. In particular it analyzes what the changes meant for the bureaucratic organizational principles as well as for the ‘bureaucratic values’. The empirical material is composed of interviews with the staff, internal documents and observations of various meetings and seminars. The theoretical framework is based on Max Weber’s concept of bureaucracy and on a perspective of organizational change inspired from new institutionalism. It is argued that the Enforcement Authority was both more and less bureaucratic as a result of the organizational changes. In several respects the team organization, the computer system and the production target proved to be compatible with the bureaucratic structure of the Enforcement Authority rather than replacing it. In some ways the changes increased the bureaucracy of the system. For example, the new computer system facilitated a more intensive bureaucratic control of the employees where production rates of each team were able to be monitored and measured on a weekly basis. A priority order meant using stricter rules than those previously relied upon for determining which cases would be treated first thus decreasing the use of discretion by individual employees. In other ways the organization became less bureaucratic. Organizing the staff in teams meant a collective instead of a individual responsibility for the cases and for fulfilling the production target. A collective responsibility, however, also meant that the bureaucratic values were fulfilled to a higher extent as the executing officers were able to control each other. As the members of the teams got greater insight into each others work as a consequence of the new computer system and the team organization they were more inclined to make decisions strictly by the book. This could be seen as a form of self-control promoting a more uniform behavior towards the clients. The maintenance of the bureaucratic organization did not stop the institutionalization process of the team organization. The bureaucratic organization turned out to be firmly institutionalized, but also adaptable both to the sharpened demands for increased efficiency as well as the demands following a re-organization of work into a non-bureaucratic collectively organized team work. In some respects the bureaucratic order even became stronger. Various aspects of Weber’s criterions for the bureaucratic ideal type including bureaucratic values such as legal rights were strengthened. The Enforcement Authority was de-bureaucratized as well as re-bureaucratized through the institutionalization- and re-institutionalization processes.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Lunds universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Enforcement Authority; Organization; organizational changes; new institutionalism; bureaucracy; bureaucratic values; legal rights; work environment

ISBN:91-7267-315-X

Date of Publication:01/01/2010

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