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Normer eller nytta?: Om de politiska drivkrafterna bakom Regeringskansliets departementsindelning
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Norms or utility? : On the Political Forces Behind the Ministerial Division in the Swedish Government Offices (English)
Abstract [en]

Existing theories on administrative reorganization point in two opposite directions. Some scholars suggest that the machinery of government is altered through comprehensive planning and intentional design. Other scholars, on the other hand, interpret administrative reorganization as merely symbolic actions undertaken in accordance with norms and values within an organizational context. This dissertation confronts these two theoretical approaches in an empirical investigation of reorganization activities in the Swedish core executive during the 1990s. The central question is whether the government’s organizational behaviour is best understood as rational or normative?

In an attempt to assess which logic of action provides the most accurate characterization of administrative behaviour two explanatory models are specified: a Rational Actor Model (RAM) and a Normative Organization Model (NOM). The inquiry is conducted through a process-oriented method were decision-making processes affecting the ministerial division within four different policy areas are reconstructed. The four policy areas are housing policy, agricultural policy, industrial policy and European Union policy.

The results reveal that the Social Democratic government from 1994 and onwards has been committed to realizing a comprehensive organizational reform in the Swedish Government Offices. The purpose has been to strengthen the coordination between different ministries and units within ministries. This review of the machinery of government has involved among other things the creation of a “super ministry” for growth policy. The inquiry concludes that in all policy areas examined in the study the decision-makers have made primarily rational calculations of expected organizational outcomes. Administrative behaviour is predominantly a rational activity, and the Rational Actor Model does, accordingly, provide a more accurate picture of the decision-making processes. Nonetheless, it is important to stress that normative considerations were present in each of the cases. This demonstrates that the theoretical cleavage that has nourished the debate between rational choice theorists and its opponents has been exaggerated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Universitetsbiblioteket , 2003. , 293 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Statsvetenskapliga föreningen i Uppsala, ISSN 0346-7538 ; 154
Keyword [en]
Political science, Administrative reorganization, Rational Actor Model, Normative Organization Model, ministerial division, ministry, Government Offices, Prime Minister, Social Democracy
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-3494ISBN: 91-554-5639-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-3494DiVA: diva2:163029
Public defence
2003-06-06, Brusewitzsalen, Gamla Torget 6, Gamla Torget 6, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2003-05-15 Created: 2003-05-15 Last updated: 2012-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Persson, Thomas
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