“DET ÄR EN UTOPI ATT TRO ATT ALLA BARA ÄR PÅ TÅGET OCH SJUNGER JA TILL ALLTING.” En kvalitativ intervjustudie om socialchefers erfarenheter av konflikter mellan det politiska styret, verksamheten och externa aktörer.
Sammanfattning: Leading a social service organization can be a challenging task. Within social services administrations there are three levels whose widely different perspectives make communication and relationships within social services administrations difficult, as well as creating room for misunderstandings and disagreements. These levels are: the politicians; the administrative management; and the professionals. Based on the fact that the different levels within the social administration need to cooperate for a good and functioning administration, it is important to examine which conflicts occur and how they are handled. The aim of the study was to increase the insight and understanding of how directors of social services administrations experience and manage conflicts in their work with a focus on the relationship between the political board, the social service operations and external actors. The questions asked were what conflicts are experienced, how these are handled, why they arise and whether they are necessary and natural, or can be avoided. In order to answer the study's questions, semi-structured interviews were conducted with five directors of social services administration within the Västra Götaland region. The interviews were analyzed based on the theoretical frame that consisted of leadership theory, different conflict types, domain theory and institutional organization theory. The results were also compared to previous research. The results show that the directors of social services administration experienced several different conflicts with politicians, professionals, the media, citizens and within themselves. The conflicts within the organization were managed through power-gaining or relationship-building strategies, such as educating, following structures and promoting involvement and participation. For conflicts with the media, great emphasis was placed on action plans and communicators. Towards the citizens, a willingness to convey information and respond to dissatisfaction in a good way were described as important ways to handle and avoid conflicts. The conflicts were mainly caused by different perspectives and ways of thinking, lack of clarity, personal chemistry, politicians' and professionals' ignorance and a lack of resources. The conflicts can be claimed to be necessary and natural, but also to a certain extent preventable and above all resolvable. The discussion also mentions that a lack of trust-based governance in collaboration and as a whole, as well as clashes with NPM governance, could also contribute to the conflicts.
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