Velfærdsledelse under pres: Rapport fra hjemmeplejen

Signe Mie Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The welfare provided by the Danish government has always been a subject of debate. Politicians, unions, tax payers, welfare receivers and their next-of-kins, the media, experts - are all trying to define what welfare is and how much welfare the state should provide. When there seem to be no consensus on what welfare is: how should the production of welfare be managed? Leading to the question of, what implications does this lack of consensus have for the people facilitating the welfare? These questions form foundation for this thesis, that investigates the potential challenges surrounding managing the production of welfare. The empirical data for this investigation is the observation of a consultant whom worked on improving the efficiency of the employees and the managers’ leadership skills. The observations were done over a period of seven months in the welfare area of home help in the Danish municipal Tønder. The paradigm sharping the analysis and its conclusions is Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems. Welfare managers are met with a complexity of demands, demands that are often conflicting. This conflict was exemplified by the analysis of the empirical field, which showed a conflict between the judicial, professional care and financial coded demands. Both welfare managers and their employees felt that the frame provided through financial and judicial demands, many of which have origins in the political system, did not leave enough room for the professional care. As result “civil disobedience” had become a popular term among the home-helpers and, to a certain extent, their managers. Analysis show, that the use of the term is the symptom of an exaggerated interpretation of the judicial frame for professional care, which was a reaction to the intensified complexity in the field. The pressure on employees and complexity has been intensified, through the fear of becoming the subject of scandal in the media. Further analysis also showed that the home-helpers have differentiated into their own communicative system, interpreting input only through a care perspective. The conclusions of the thesis suggest that the challenge of welfare managers is to navigate in a world of conflicting demands from; the political system, the recipients of welfare, the society and to manage their employees in a productive way – all within a tight and complex frame. To do this, managers must be able to reflect upon how input and output is interpreted by all these different communicative systems in the field of welfare.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages94