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Striving for spontaneity - bureaucracy strikes back
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2006 (English)In: Problems and Perspectives in Management, ISSN 1810-5467, Vol. 4, no 2, 144-158 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the intertwined relationship between order (bureaucracy) and spontaneity (through the organisational modes of competition and co-operation respectively). The purpose is to explore what happens when spontaneity attempts are confronted to the bureaucratic order, and why is this? The empirical setting is the public sector, which seems to be an exceptionally suitable environment to investigate spontaneity attempts in bureaucratic orders. More specifically, the article rests upon two qualitative case studies from Sweden, one in the County Council of Stockholm (where competition was introduced in health care) and one in the county of Västerbotten (Where interagency co-operation was aimed for in health care and social service). From the theoretical notion that competition and co-operation share an underlying assumption of spontaneity, we empirically identify two bureaucratic forces replying to spontaneity attempts, corresponding to "what happens" in the purpose: new structures and formalised devices, which frame the rebureaucratisation processes in both cases. A detailed analysis of the particulars of the rebureaucratisation process, corresponding to the "why" in the purpose, reveals three underlying dimensions of re-bureaucratisation - structural bureaucracy, ontological bureaucracy and habitual re-bureaucratisation. To conclude, if organisational modes attempting at spontaneity are introduced without careful reflection, bureaucracy will strike back.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 4, no 2, 144-158 p.
Keyword [en]
spontaneity, bureaucracy, competition, co-operation, health care
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-16736OAI: diva2:156409
Available from: 2007-01-24 Created: 2007-01-24 Last updated: 2011-09-12Bibliographically approved

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Jensen, TommyNylén, Ulrica
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