Når man sidder bedst mellem to stole: Om bureaukrati, responsivitet og legitimitet hos Borgerrådgiveren i Københavns Kommune

Johan Brandgård Busse

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


What happens to the legitimacy of an organization when the organization changes its methods, procedures and routines and thereby departs from the traditions that prevail? That is the question of this thesis, which examines the standards, values and preconceptions that exist among lawyers and politicians in a field of public complaint boards and supervision. Specifically the study considers The Citizens Advice Bureau in the City of Copenhagen (a municipal ombudsman) with a special focus on how the professions perceive changes in working methods, procedures and routines. The thesis seeks to answer what the consequences are for the legitimacy of the Citizens Advice Bureau when introducing a new method for solving complaints, which is partially unchained from legal traditions and more responsive towards the needs and expectations of the citizens. In short it is the case of a classic showdown between bureaucracy (rule of law) and responsiveness. The question is important because it determines the possibilities for further developing the Citizens Advice Bureau. The study is based on interviews and documents and is based neoinstitutional theory from the late 1970s until today. The thesis includes concepts of rationality and looks at the importance of individual intentionality. The study identifies standards, values and preconceptions that, in the form of rationalized myths, are affecting the actions and support for the Citizens Advice Bureau. These rationalized myths are examined to get closer to assess how these myths affect the legitimacy of the Citizens Advice Bureau. Finally, the paper considers how conditions can influence the existing institutional myths towards change for a greater acceptance of responsiveness. The study shows a risk that the legitimacy of the Citizens Advice Bureau is unfavourably affected by perceptions of the profession regarding resolution of conflicts and proper methods of appeals when a new method is applied. These perceptions comes in the form of social structures on conflict resolution, the rule of law, justice, etc., which are embedded in the lawyers' perception of reality as something they deem appropriate, socially binding or simply take for granted. Others may also be affected by the perceptions of the professions, but the study indicates that this effect is less extensive and more flexible towards other values, for example regarding responsiveness. However the survey also shows that the professions could be affected by external pressure on the organization, personal involvement in developing the new methods and socialization in a way that may make them open to absorb competing institutional myths on responsiveness. This seems to be applicable at least to the extent that the alternative method may co-exist with the perceptions of the profession. The study shows that profession perceptions are not static, but to some extent sensitive to other perceptions and that it is possible to introduce new methods even if they are not based on professional recognized standards. The analysis confirms that a profession is a source of establishing social meaning, but the case shows that the professions' conservative influence can be exaggerated. The survey points out that organizations should be aware of the preconceptions of the professions when innovations are introduced and provides suggestions as to which managerial strategies that could be applied to prevent resistance from the professions and so maintain their support.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages73