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Reconstructing trust through a transformation process: The case of the Swedish Public Employment Service
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2308-2187
Handelshögskolan Örebro Universitet.
Stockhol Business School, Stockholms Universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7889-2331
2018 (English)In: IRSPM Conference in Edinburgh 11-14 of April. Panel 38. Strategic management and public service performance in the New Public Governance Era, 2018Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A strategic transformation process of a Swedish agency, i.e. the Swedish Public Employment Service, is discussed from a trust framework. Lately, the agency has been heavily criticized internally (by managers and employees) and externally (by different stakeholders) for failing in fulfilling its goals and deliver inadequate services. In 2014, the agency launched a new strategy – to become trustworthy and to deliver better services to its customers. It was the agency’s attempt to move away from the old authoritarian bureaucratic management style towards introducing trust-based management control. The old and the new way of managing the agency creates tensions that are difficult to overcome and where mistrust at different levels within the organization is a major obstacle affecting the ongoing transformation process. The aim of this paper is to shed light on how trust is reconstructed in vertical and horizontal relationships within a public service delivery agency that experiences an extensive transformation process. Drawing upon a processual case study approach, we have conducted 65 interviews, observations and document studies. The results show how the agency have suffered from low levels of trust in both vertical and horizontal relationships and that low levels of trust in vertical relationships seem to have negative impact on horizontal collaborations within the agency. The paper contributes to previous research in the following ways. First, the reconstruction of trust is discussed from a time perspective, pointing at the importance of discussing the development of trust in terms of a past, a present and a future. Second, within the paper, trust is discussed in both vertical relationships (i.e. relationships between employees/managers) as well as horizontal relationships (i.e. relationships between co-workers) within the same analytical framework, which enables a discussion about the impact of trust development in vertical relationships on the development of trust in horizontal relationships and vice versa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
trust, change, vertical relationships, horizontal relationships, case study
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-39058OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-39058DiVA, id: diva2:1200238
Conference
IRSPM Conference
Projects
AES - Akademin för ekonomistyrning i staten vid Stockholm Business SchoolAvailable from: 2018-04-23 Created: 2018-04-23 Last updated: 2018-05-31Bibliographically approved

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Höglund, Linda

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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