Potentialization: Loosening Up Relations Between Public Organizations and Societal Function Systems

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This article provides a historical perspective on the relations between public organizations and function systems using Denmark as case. Current concepts like ‘public value’, ‘co-creation’, ‘relational coordination’ and ‘inter-professional management’ promises new coherence and shared communities in the single public organization. The present article argues that rather than building up communities the concepts function as a form of creative cutting. The concepts work by cutting up or at least loosening up previously given relations between public organizations and societal function systems. These are relations such as schools/the educational system, social work/the care system and hospitals/the health system. The concepts function in order to make relations between organizations and function systems a medium of potentialization. What is lost because of this is legal coherence and professional certainty.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalManagement and Organizational History
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)65-89
    Number of pages25
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: 7. September 2020


    • Conceptual history
    • Form and medium
    • Form of law
    • Functional differentiation
    • Inter-professionality
    • Looseness
    • Organizations vs. function system
    • Public administration
    • Systems theory

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