Trust and Control in Public Sector Reform: Complementarity and Beyond

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This paper provides an analysis of trust-based management reform in the Danish public sector from the point of view of the trust–control nexus. Based on a qualitative case study of home care in the municipality of Copenhagen we argue that a complementary view of trust and control is superior to a substitution view when it comes to accounting for public sector reform as structure and process. Also, we propose a widening of the theoretical lens in the form of an emergent view of how trust and control, instead of being beforehand determinable and more or less stable identities, emerge in multiple and singular ways from multiple events in the organisation. Noticing a dearth of research that explicitly addresses trust issues with regard to public sector management and organisation, the paper is a response to the call for more studies of trust as an institutionally embedded phenomenon.
TidsskriftJournal of Trust Research
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)150-169
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2017


  • Trust
  • Control
  • New Public Management
  • Organisation
  • Public sector management
  • New public governance