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Student thesis: Master thesis


Tight budgets and increasing sickness absence. In the public sector a combination of problems like these is often treated with management technologies like stricter rules, standardization of processes, monitoring and documentation. With this thesis my ambition is to offer a view on why this type of governance is not always the right solution. I show how management based on new public management and bureaucracy in some cases become a disadvantage and what the consequences may be when fighting sickness absence with this type of management technologies. The thesis looks at the day-care sector in the Danish municipality Furesø, where focus on sickness absence has recently increased. Alongside with the increased focus a handful of standardized tools and more monitoring have been introduced in order for the day-care managers to decrease the sickness absence of their employees. The empirical data consists of qualitative interviews with six day-care managers. Inspired by Anne Reff Pedersen the thesis present three policy narratives that shed light on the managers’ perception of essential challenges and opportunities in connection to managing sickness absence. These results are then integrated in a second analysis focusing on how the day care managers use the new management tools. This analysis is performed by looking at data from the interviews through theory on trust, motivation and motivation crowding. The thesis shows that the managers’ perception on challenges and opportunities influences their view on the tools as either controlling or supportive. This significantly influences the way the managers are using the new tools. In this context the analysis shows how it is possible to manage the sickness absence in a more meaningful manner by focusing on the challenges and opportunities, that the daily managers experience when managing the employees’ sick leave. Based on my findings I suggest that such an approach will not only benefit the managers’ own work but potentially the municipalities’ budget and the overall goal on decreasing sick leave. Finally the thesis suggest four specific focal points that public organizations can focus on if they wish to establish a fixed politics for management of the sickness absence.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages94