Strategisk ledelse i dilemmaer – organisation og omverden

Marlene Øhrberg Krag

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


For decades, focus has been on public management as one of the solutions to creating welfare, through public organizations. The context of today’s public management is complex and therefore requires a strategic approach. This thesis examines the following problem: How can strategic management be conducted in the Danish Health Authority (DHA), in the given context of complexity and within the deriving dilemmas arising from the many internal and external expectations to the DHA regarding the public value it, is aimed at creating? The question is answered through the following sub-questions based on Mark Moore’s analytical framework of public value creation and its elements: Value, legitimacy and operational capacity: 1. What internal and external understandings are there of the DHA’s main task, and which dilemmas derive from them? 2. What types of legitimacy is the DHA based on and which dilemmas derive from them? 3. Which organizational cultures characterize the DHA, and which dilemmas derive from them? 4. What understandings does the DHA management have of strategic management and of the existing strategic management practices of the DHA? The questions are answered through a case study with qualitative method based on document analysis and analysis of interviews. The empiric basis of the thesis consists of internal documents from the DHA and semi-structured interviews with seven managers of the DHA: Director, deputy director, three managers and two section managers. The overall analytical framework is Mark Moore's public value paradigm, theoretically elaborated through Lawrence's three perspectives on the main task, Suchmann's three types of legitimacy, Schein's three levels of culture for analyzing organizational culture, and the concept of strategic agility to explore existing strategic management practices. The analysis highlights that there are different understandings of the DHA’s main task, that the organization is based on different types of legitimacy which derive from different stakeholders, and that the organizational culture to a greater extent supports an advisory and political counseling role than the agenda setting role, which is considered the primary role by the management of DHA. Furthermore, the analysis elucidates that there is a perception of lack of leadership unity, that the strategic sensitivity in the organization could be strengthened, and that the management group has a perception of organizational lack of focus on leadership as a skill as opposed to the strong focus on professionalism. The analysis identifies seven dilemmas, some of which relate to the internal management context and others to the externally directed management context: counselor versus agenda setter, pragmatism versus professionalism, short-term versus long-term, resources versus ambition, unit versus organization, professionalism versus leadership, and exploitation versus exploration. The main findings of the thesis are summarized and discussed, including reflections on the validity of the findings, and the strengths and weaknesses of the method diploid. The thesis concludes that strategic management in SST can be pursued, by having insight into what is expected both internally and externally of the organization, the legitimacy on which it is based, and the organizational culture in which it is embedded. Consequently, the strategic management can be organized to ensure that the organization accommodates both shortterm and long-term agendas, bearing in mind that the short-term agendas to the extent possible are resolved by feeding into longer-term agendas. The conclusion shows that strategic management is based on sensitivity to the organizational contexts and thereby is a generic aspect not specific to the DHA, but are expected to be transferable to other public organizations. The thesis proposes continued focus on strengthening the strategic agility of the organization by strengthening the leadership unity, the strategic sensitivity and the organizational focus on leadership as a professional skill and competence, but also through a greater emphasis on exploration as an approach to continued development

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages55
SupervisorsChristian Tangkjær