Volume 53, No. 3 | New governance trends in Danish municipalities

Kurt Klaudi Klausen | Models of structural design in Danish local government

Danish local governments are using a multitude of governance paradigms, primarily NPM and NPG. It is argued that governance takes the form of packages of design and steering mechanisms that materialize in various models such as the classic bureaucratic organization, the business model, and the corporate model of local government. The historical development of successive packages is explained as attempts to achieve strategic design fit and as isomorphic processes of symbolic adapting. Managers have to be capable of decoding the mix of paradigms, live with the ambiguities and inconsistencies and adapt via strategic maneuvering in order to create meaning and legitimacy. 

Keywords: local governance paradigms, design packages, strategic maneuvering, institutional isomorphy

Ulf Hjelmar and Mads Leth Jakobsen | Free municipality experiments should (also) be understood using an innovation doctrine 

There is a long-standing Danish and Scandinavian tradition for free municipality experiments where municipalities are granted exemptions from legislation so that they can experiment with new welfare solutions. Despite a strong societal focus on the phenomenon, there is a need to qualify the governance doctrines decision makers can use to develop and evaluate free municipality experiments. Through an analysis of the idea behind free municipalities and the development and content of the Danish free municipality experiments, strengths and weakness are identified in the most relevant governance doctrines historically – bureaucracy, New Public Management and New Public Governance. However, this does not provide a full understanding of the innovative logic of the programs and the associated opportunities for governance. The article introduces an innovation doctrine as an additional management doctrine that can address the innovative logic and experimental behavior of political entrepreneurs at the local level and support policies and programs provided by the state. 

Key words: free municipalities, innovation program, public sector innovation, bureaucracy, New Public Management, New Public Governance

Ulrik Kjær, Niels Opstrup and Mette Kjærgaard Thomsen | Systematized co-creation? Danish municipalities use of temporary committees

One-way Danish municipalities try to facilitate co-creation processes is by establishing the type of committees made possible by the municipal statute section 17, subsection 4. These 17-4 committees do not have formal decision-making power but can be established ad hoc, include member from outside the municipal council, and often seek to work across traditional sector boundaries. For a 17-4 committee to have potential to facilitate co-creation, two criteria must be met: 1) focus must be on developing new policies and solutions, and 2) the committee must include external members from outside the council or municipal administration. A survey among all 98 Danish municipalities shows that eight out of ten municipalities have established one or more 17-4 committees. Most include external members, and many of them focus on developing new policies. In total, two out of three of the committees live up to the above-mentioned criteria. From the viewpoint of the municipalities, the committees help make political decisions more responsive to citizens’ needs and wishes and infuse the political decision-making processes with new knowledge.

Keywords: temporary committees, co-creation, municipalities, policy development

Tina Øllgaard Benzen | Co-creating governance: Potentials and challenges

Co-creation is on the rise in Danish municipalities as a strategy for solving societal problems as well as problems related to governance in the public sector. In this article, a theoretical framework for co-creating governance is developed and used to analyze potentials and challenges in co-creating a pedagogical supervision system in Roskilde Municipality. The results show that co-creating governance strengthens ownership of supervision solutions, employees’ motivation to work with supervision as well as a perception of supervision as more supportive of task quality and efficiency. However, the results also show that co-creating governance systems demands substantial resources and requires facilitation and support throughout the chain of command. In addition, concerns about accountability and risks of de-coupling relevant actors may arise in the complex co-creation processes.

Keywords: co-creation, governance systems, potentials, challenges, supervision

Tilde Marie Bertelsen, Morten Balle Hansen, Trond Bliksvær og Bente Vibecke Lunde

From efficient service provision to co-production: the diffusion of a new governance paradigm in Danish eldercare
From 2008 to 2017, a public sector innovation termed reablement diffused among Danish municipalities. We show how this transition is an example of New Public Governance (NPG) strategies supplementing and to some extent replacing New Public Management (NPM) strategies. Further, we analyze the diffusion pattern based on hypotheses derived from the diffusion-of-innovation literature. We find a surprising relationship between fiscal stress and time of adoption. Those municipalities with high levels of fiscal stress adopt early relative to municipalities with lower levels of fiscal stress. Thus, innovation seems to be the politics of ‘hard times’ and as a tool to overcome economic austerity. 

Keywords: innovation diffusion, local government, co-production, elder care, reablement

Independent article

Jan Werner Mathiasen | Trauma, anxiety and guilt: Repetition compulsion in Denmark’s military activism?

Military contributions to international operations have been Denmark’s preferred security policy instrument since 9/11. The Danish military activism, thereby, resembles a self-referential identity project originated in the national trauma of 1864 and dominated by defense mechanisms against anxiety and guilt. Anxiety related to the near-annihilation of Denmark and guilt from not having acted politically responsible in the past. Since 9/11, the German occupation and the footnote policy, therefore, emerges as powerful identity markers that drive and enhance Denmark’s military engagement. Consequently, the military activism continues without significantly balancing the advantages and disadvantages of the specific military contributions. The military activism endures because Denmark, through repetition, secures the historical survivals in 1864, 1940 and during the Cold War as its own.

Keywords: Denmark, military activism, collective identity, chosen trauma, psychoanalysis

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