Embracing Evidence-based Management as an Empowerment for Value Creation and Improvement of Public Administration in Copenhagen Municipality

Gritt Helbert Hansen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This master’s thesis is about evidence-based management in Copenhagen Municipality. The overall research area is inspired by the Joint Municipal Digital Strategy 2016-2020, which argue that public organizations to a higher degree should use data as a resource to knowledge and as a means to efficiency. From this perspective, the focus of the thesis is to investigate how the municipality have embraced evidence-based management as an approach to a smarter use of data, and as a strategy that will facilitate decision-making. Evidence-based management focus on using the best available evidence – evidence from internal and external sources – to enable the most qualified decision-making. The approach herewith encourages organizations to make decisions based on thoroughly assessed data instead of basing decisions on experience.
Because of the increased digitisation in public administration, Copenhagen Municipality has access to vast amount of data which they should seek to exploit to find efficiency potentials. In Copenhagen Municipality, the Welfare Analysis Unit is the primary driver behind evidence-based decision-making. The unit consists of a combination of analysts and key employees from the municipality’s administrative departments. The key task of the unit is to create an overview of the municipality’s large datasets and analyse it with the purpose of finding indications for financial savings and areas where case management can be more efficient.
The thesis is guided by the social-constructivist research philosophy, an approach that believes that reality and the beliefs which we consider as real, is socially constructed and thereby embedded in our social interactions and relationships. This philosophy has been adopted as the emphasis of the thesis is on how the welfare analysis unit gather, interpret and distribute data. With this in mind, the following research question was formulated: How is evidence-based management incorporated in Copenhagen Municipality and how does that affect the strategies for business development?
In order to answer the research question, three interviews have been conducted as well as an examination of the corporate strategy, a report made by the welfare analysis unit, and other relevant case materials. To fuel and structure the analysis, a theoretical framework has been created which processes literature related to the implementation of evidence-based management in organizations. Moreover, theories from the field of knowledge management have been applied with the purpose of illustrating that knowledge boundaries within an organization needs to be considered, to enable a successful interpretation and distribution of evidence.
The analysis and research findings illustrate that the welfare analysis unit is successfully interpreting and distributing evidence because the key employees from the administrative departments acts as a mediator and know how to ensure that evidence is presented in a way, that is comprehensible and useful to the decision-makers in the administrative departments. In the same sense, the analysis argue that evidence- based management is successful in Copenhagen Municipality, because they are involving all relevant actors in the decision-making process, and therefore, the administrative departments are willing to share data with the Welfare Analysis Unit, and opposite they have a positive attitude towards their analyses and results.
The analysis furthermore present an example of how transverse data have resulted in an innovative approach to case management, where the focus is to provide vulnerable citizens with a holistic intervention. Based on similar research from other municipalities, a holistic intervention has proven to generate more welfare to vulnerable families, as well as avoiding overlapping financial services. benefits. This acts as a successful example of how evidence-based decisions as well as transverse collaboration can enhance value creation and a cost-efficient public administration. The future of evidence-based management in Copenhagen Municipality entails an implementation of modern IT tools like artificial intelligence, which will enable the Welfare Analysis Unit to easier find and focus on relevant data, or find combinations of data, which apparently does not seem interesting. Evidence-based management might be a showdown with the previous silo-thinking of managing public administration, which will benefit both the municipality, but especially also the citizens of Copenhagen.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages130
SupervisorsHelle Zinner Henriksen