Anerkendende ledelse i det offentlige

Lene Votborg & Louise Pedersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Recognition as a management strategy in the Danish public sector has gained importance in recent years. The background of this thesis is a scepticism concerning whether recognition as a management strategy can live up to the positive impression that it conveys. Following this scepticism, the thesis sets out to obtain a more nuanced understanding of how this management strategy actually works. Applying Michel Foucault‟s analytical concept of dispositif, which can be characterized as a prescriptive social logic, the thesis clarifies and explains this management strategy‟s mode of operation and sheds light upon the possible consequences of this strategy. The application of Foucault‟s concept of dispositif has thus enabled the thesis to obtain an analytical distance to this contemporary public management strategy, and to consequently diagnose it. By applying four dimensions of the dispositif, the thesis has observed and analyzed the management strategy as a recognition dispositif, which shapes management in the public sector according to its own logic. The four dimensions of the dispositif are 1) lines of light (what is made visible in the dispositif) 2) lines of enunciations (produces the truth of the dispositif) 3) lines of power (the technologies in the dispositif) and 4) lines of subjectification (the way subjects in the dipositif are dispositioned). The thesis has observed the mode of operation of the recognition dispositif in the following way: 1) In the recognition dispositif, management in the public sector is observed as an area which is facing the challenge of unifying work efficiency and a healthy work environment, and recognition as a management strategy becomes visible as the solution to this challenge. 2) The management strategy is founded in extensive practical and theoretical knowledge which supports the strategy and guides the application of the strategy. The strategy is primarily founded in a social constructivist approach and in the method of positive psychology. 3) The management strategy works through a variety of technologies, which operate by a) committing the employees to the organization through a range of „implementation technologies‟ and by b) increasing employee responsibility through a variety of „dialogue technologies‟. 4) The „result‟ of the recognition dispositif is an empathetic, authentic and socially intelligent and facilitating leader, an employee who takes responsibility for the organization and invests him- or herself one hundred percent in the organization, and an organization which emerges as an shared authentic culture of recognition. The above illustration of the mode of operation of the recognition dispositif has revealed possible implications of this management strategy. These implications or consequences concern: 1) the authenticity of the strategy 2) the mechanism of exclusion of the strategy, 3) time consumption and increased pressure on the organization following the implementation of the strategy, 4) possible unfulfilled expectations to the strategy and 5) increased employee responsibility as a consequence of the strategy. The thesis concludes that recognition as a management strategy can be observed as a normalization strategy which disciplines the organization, the employer and the employees according to the social logic of the recognition dispositif, and thus, the recognition dispositif emerges as a disciplinary norm which shapes how subjects can act in the dispositif.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages136