The Use of Quantitative Data in Leadership Practice in the Area of the Social Welfare

Peter Bogh

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


The objective of my thesis is to study and learn about how data influence leadership processes in the area of welfare for children and young people with special needs.
In social welfare administration, there is of ever-growing focus on the fact that data is a necessity for public leaders, and most municipalities have some experience using data in leaders’ decision-making
Knowledge is scarce regarding what data are doing to leadership processes. Therefore, my thesis explores: How the use of quantitative data influence leadership processes in the social welfare department in a Danish municipality.
The thesis is exploring empirically through a theory called Direction, Alignment and Commitment (DAC). This theory emphasizes that leadership should be seen as practices that produce direction, alignment and commitment in an organization. In order to explore how data inter-twine with leadership processes, I use Actor-Network Theory (ANT). By using this theory, I get the opportunity to explore how leaders and employees use data in their everyday practice. An advantage by using ANT is that in this theory comprises of both human and non-human actors. The point is that data themselves become an actor in the production of leadership practices.
In terms of research methodology, I have generated data through interviews. I have inter-viewed two managers and two employees. In my analysis, I have used ANT to grasp and understand my data. Hence, I have identified six crucial actors: Managers, middle manager, social workers, management control system, data, and professional practice. I can conclude that the introduction of data in leadership practices have potential to create the commonness in organisation which is the most central part of DAC-Theory.
The authors behind the DAC-Theory are encouraging more research into how leadership practices occur in everyday practice in the workplace. My thesis hereby contributes with new knowledge since I explore how leadership practices emerge in a department in a municipality in a situation where data are introduced as part of a decision-making tool. My new insight shows that data have a potential to coordinate individual leadership beliefs if they are used to create a common understanding of workplace practice and outcome.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages56
SupervisorsChristian Tangkjær