Lederen som oversætter og vejviser

Rikke Pihl Hedelund

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


This Masters project is about public managers’ conditions and options in relation to translation of ideas from one context to another. My motivation for investigating this topic springs from my role as an area manager for 5 daycares, where I metaphorically speaking am situated in a communication space between different levels in the organization. In this space I often experience divergent logics and expectations. Many employees express that they feel an increase in demands from outside or from above them. I find myself in a dilemma where on one hand it seems like some employees finds this very de-motivating whilst there is an un-negotiable demand of implementation to me. Thus I investigate how to understand the communicative encounter between the pedagogical operational institutions and the rest of the organization in relation to new initiatives, ideas and logics and what options I possess as a manager to ensure the engagement of the employees and avoid decoupling. During the process of thesis writing I got a new job and I am about to start as a District Manager 1st of January in a different municipality at the same management level as in my present job. This means that my interest in good communication in relation to new initiatives is general and not just connected to the context I am in presently. Therefore the thesis has a normative purpose as I wish to become more knowledgeable on the communicative encounter between front employees and the other part of the organization and bring this knowledge with into my new work place and put it to action from day one. The empirical data is produced by way of qualitative interviews where I speak with informants at all levels of the organization and in various communes. As the topic can seem a little vague to some informants I have also developed a jigsaw as a tool to illustrate communication in the organization. The point of the jigsaw is that the parts can be put together according to the informant’s perception of the communication. The project uncovers that the communicative encounter between the pedagogical operational institutions and the rest of the organization is an expression of the encounter between different management logics and systems which form the organization’s understanding of itself. These are self referential in the communication and therefore as a starting point not possible to observe from the inside of the organization. Today the different management logics are embedded in the welfare institutions and this means that non comparable values clashes within each daycare when trying to balance different considerations. Furthermore the project uncovers how communication about new ideas, initiatives and logics can be seen as a translation of an idea as a verbal representation from one context to another. The idea can be picked up and represented in a more or less concrete form with more or less knowledge at the base and in different forums. This has consequences for the implementation. This means that the manager must possess translation skills to avoid that the idea is rejected and perhaps decouples. The manager should also know about the factors that promote or inhibit ideas spreading. Finally it is made clear that managers cannot dissolve the pressure of management but must act within it by noticing the difference which every management technology describes with the purpose of being able to evaluate the effects of this technology and the action and management space they create but also by attempting to dissolve the paradoxes through laboratories that open for new opportunities. The manager can also attempt to affect discourses through rhetoric intervention and suggest relevant and meaningful room for action for the self managing employees. Central concepts of the thesis are: Management paradigms, The functionally differentiated society, Autopoiesis, The heterophone organization, Translation as idea transfer, Spred of ideas, 2nd order management, Dissolution of paradoxes, Discourse theory, Rhetoric, Management of self managing employees

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages90