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Maktens administratörer: ledande svenska statstjänstemäns och politikers syn på tjänstemannarollen i ett förändringsperspektiv
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
1998 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall theme for this dissertation is the position of higher Swedish civil servants in the borderland between politics and administration and between flexibility, loyalty, impartiality, and autonomy. An important assumption is that the attitudes and beliefs are especially significant in a system such as the Swedish, where civil servants may act under conditions of substantial autonomy. The dissertation is based on interviews with higher civil servants and a sample of members of the Swedish parliament. Among the civil servants the study is limited to the higher echelons in the national public administration - undersecretaries of state, assistant undersecretaries of state, and director-generals of administrative agencies. The study is comparative - comparisons are made between 1971/73 and 1990. The central instruments of analysis consist of three role conceptions of civil servants. They are constructed from three fundamental coordinating principles and are designated the judicial, the political and the market-oriented civil servant roles. In a second step, the theoretical role typology is adapted to "the practice" which is manifested in the Swedish public administration's development in a longer perspective.

How the role of the civil servants in the political system was perceived, as well as the political positions, was found to be dependent on the positions of the interviewees in the politico-administrative system. This meant that the undersecretaries, irrespective of role perception, found themselves farthest to the left among the studied groups, then followed by the assistant undersecretaries and farthest right the director-generals. An exception to this rule was the politically-oriented director-generals, who were left of all the assistant undersecretaries irrespective of role perception and even to the left of the judicially-oriented undersecretaries. An important observation was that the market-oriented role of civil servants had strengthened its position over time. It could also be observed in 1990 that the undersecretaries were clearly different from their colleagues in 1971 through applying more of a political perspective of the civil servant role. The analyses showed that among the non-political civil servants - the assistant undersecretaries - the political role model had a strong position at both interview occasions. Furthermore, both politicians and civil servants showed a more negative attitude to politics and the administration. The higher civil servants had begun to waiver somewhat in their belief in themselves and the capacity of the state. The analyses of the role perception of the MPs showed that their opinions were closely connected with their political affiliation. Among social democrats and members from the Left Party (the former Communist party), the political role conception was dominating at both times and among non-socialists the judicial. An important observation when dealing with the views of the members of parliament was how surprisingly unfamiliar politicians were with the work of the public administation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholms universitet , 1998. , 306 p.
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 59
Keyword [en]
interviews, comparative, civil servant roles, higher civil servants, members of parliament, politico-administrative system, public administration
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-45916ISBN: 91-7153-779-1OAI: diva2:370348
Public defence
1998-06-04, Hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-11-16 Created: 2010-11-16 Last updated: 2010-11-16Bibliographically approved

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