At være netværksmanager!

Anders Clausen, Jørgen Skov & Mette Bechmann

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


In this thesis we focus on a current trend within governance in the public sector, namely partnerships and co-creation, thereby addressing difficulties we’ve often faced when trying to solve wicked problems in our respective organizations. The context of the thesis is situations, where the knowledge of a particular field is spread upon various actors and the power to solve the problems is also spread upon various actors. Thus, none of the actors can single handedly drive a strategy to solve the problem and hence need to engage in a network cooperation. In the thesis we use Fastholdelsescentret within Arbejdsskadestyrelsen as our empirical background. Fastholdelsescentret was established in 2008 with the objective to identify workplace related injuries in order to cooperate with the municipalities with the aim of speeding up the process in cases where the connection to the job marked is threatened. This is handled by engaging in so called round table talks where both the injured party as well as other relevant actors participate, e.g. the employer, the union, the municipality, the insurance company and Fastholdelsescentret. The round table talks usually take place in the municipalities. Fastholdelsescentret are to make quick temporary decisions in cases where there is a risk of long term sick leave. This enables the injured party to start up a program addressing the reestablishment of his work possibilities. We’ve examined how the actors each handle workplace related injury cases. We’ve also tried identifying the barriers and the enhancing factors that affect the results of the actors. We’ve compared our results with the nine recommendations compiled by Koppenjan and Klijn addressing network managers’ strategies for solving wicked problems. From this outset we’ve compiled recommendations addressing network management at a general level. The empirical data in our thesis consists of semi structured interviews with the manager of Fastholdelsescentret, with two case workers from two municipalities and with two case workers from two insurance companies. We’ve also conducted a focus group discussion with several case workers from Fastholdelsescentret. Additionally we used secondary data consisting of two surveys compiled by Det Nationale Forskningscenter for Velfærd, SFI, and several internal evaluations compiled by Fastholdelsescentret themselves. 6 According to our findings, Fastholdelsescentret tries to work in a network based fashion and they consider themselves to be the main actor in cases of work related injuries. This understanding is however not completely shared by the other actors, presumably because they have sort of a temporary structure – somewhat like a task force - which inhibits them from fully engaging in the cases. The other actors only partially see themselves as working in a network based structure. In conclusion we’ve found that in order for a network to function properly it is crucial that the network actors acknowledge themselves to be network actors. Furthermore, it is crucial that they have the skills, the will and the opportunity to engage in the network, and finally it is significant, that the various initiatives in the case are coordinated as well as timed. The network needs to be managed and the participating actors need to be perceived as legitimate co-players. Finally we’ve found that it is critical for the actors to share a common understanding of the success factors of the network. We’ve also examined how the actors’ understanding and actual managing of the network related to cases of workplace injuries fit the nine recommendations made by Koppenjan and Klijn addressing network managers strategy to solve wicked problems. Our analysis has shown that the actors’ understanding of networking as presented in our data match the elements drawn up by Koppenjan and Klijn, though without fully following each step of their nine recommendations. Stemming from our analysis of inhibiting and supporting factors we’ve identified a number of factors not included in Koppenjan and Klijns recommendations, which can be considered additional recommendations to network managers:  The actors should ensure a common understanding of who has which role within the network.  The actors should ensure that all actors of the network understand and acknowledge the significance of participating in a network.  A possible decoupling by network actors from their home organizations strategy should be accepted and integrated by the home organizations.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages88