Innovasjonens spll om velferd: En analyse av kommunal velferdsledelse

Mari Standerholen Berg & Ulrikke Nedregård

Student thesis: Master thesis


The last couple of years we have seen how innovation increasingly has been communicated as the solution to major challenges related to future maintenance of the Danish welfare system. Innovation is communicated as the way to provide welfare of an increasingly good quality, while at the same time saving money. While innovation is a relatively new solution, management is not. Since the Danish public sector started demanding management around 1987, the leader has been perceived as the solution to a growing number of challenges and problems. This thesis brings innovation and public management together and asks; what happens when the welfare leader is given the shape of innovation? By taking a theoretical approach inspired by Michel Foucault, the thesis regards innovation as a new ideal for providing welfare-­‐‑service and regards the ideal as being a result-­‐‑ and a part of a discourse; the innovation discourse. It regards ideals as a part of a rationality-­‐‑ a truth about the provision of welfare and claims that the rationality is conditioning for the welfare leader-­‐‑ it creates an ideal welfare leader and thereby create certain conditions for management. Inspired by Foucault’s theoretical apparatus the thesis makes an historic analysis of ideals and rationalities regarding the provision of welfare. With its interest on provision of welfare the thesis focuses on municipalities and their organization of welfare, when they are the main provider of welfare in the Danish society. The historical analysis reveals several ideals and rationalities for the provision of welfare through the history and with Foucault’s concept of discourse concludes that they all coexist in present time, creating certain paradoxical conditions for the welfare leader. The welfare leader has to “be” different, contradictory ideal leaders at the same time and this installs a specific form of complexity into welfare management. The thesis further investigates how concrete welfare leaders deal with the complexity in their own management -­‐‑ How they, inspite of the contradictory ideals, make sense of their own management. Based on these findings, the thesis concludes that the modern welfare leader constantly has to address its own function and decide which ideal leader to be and in the process decide what kind if welfare-­‐‑service to provide. Innovation has therefore made municipality welfare-­‐‑ management a political exercise in determining what provision of welfare is and should be.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages180