Når samarbejde bliver opfattet som et nødvendigt onde

Giulia Lorenzen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


Set in a New Public Management leadership dilemma of a public servant COO who wants to create a better collaborative work environment between her two groups of operational managers, this master project aims to understand and resolve differences in professions and difficulties in finding a common ground for service deliverances, in Køge Communes technical unit for facility management and construction. The two groups are conflicting over a structural internal customer-supplier setup in which the one group is facing the task of delivering construction projects on time and at market quality, while the other group is responsible to the public end users as the service contractor. While the two groups on paper are sharing common organizational values and a desire to collaborate, this is made difficult by opposing views on public service roles and incentives. The main goals of the project is: 1) to aid the COO in understanding how relational structures between the groups are forming their social behavior, especially focused on how this translates into barriers and conflicts in the group members’ daily communication and actions, and 2) examine communicative ways to change the institutionalized logics, that acts as social constructed barriers between the groups, with the intention of making the groups collaborate more easily and resolve their value conflicts. From a social constructivist viewpoint and based on qualitative data collected from interviews and focused group-interviews the project analysis and discussion draw on institutionalism, economic principal-agent theory and narrative theory. This helps in terms of assessing the underlying logics of the technical unit’s service and business operation setup and in deconstructing the conflicting stances between the two groups, and for offering new meaning to the managers’ problem filled narratives in the attempt to empower the COO to take new communicative leadership actions. In the project’s closing argument, the actant model is put in use to clarify the roles of the ‘characters’ in the main narrative, which the COO has to change if a better collaborative work environment in the unit is to prevail. The project concludes that an existing decoupling strategy, in part reproduced in the CEO’s storytelling of the unit’s mission, constitutes the different fault lines in values that inhibits meaningful collaboration between the two groups of operational managers. The COO’s new understanding can help her in transforming the underlying competing and dissonant logics of the technical department’s modus operandi. By starting to recast some of the narrative roles in the organisation and externalise “a new common enemy”, thus act as a common ground on which the two groups can start collaborating despite the unit’s internal structural differences. In perspective the COO is faced with different communicative actions for her leadership while treading the path of a new dominant narrative for the organization.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages51
SupervisorsMads Mordhorst