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  • 1.
    Andersson, Thomas
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Technology and Society.
    Tengblad, Stefan
    University of Borås, Borås, Sweden.
    When complexity meets culture: new public management and the Swedish police2009In: Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management/Emerald, ISSN 1176-6093, E-ISSN 1758-7654, Vol. 6, no 1/2, p. 41-56Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how new public management (NPM) reform from the national level is implemented as practice in a local unit within the police sector in Sweden.Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative case-study approach is applied using semi-structured interviews, participant observations and analysis of documents.Findings: The paper illustrates different kinds of resistance at the organizational level. The dominant form of resistance was found to be cultural distancing. The paper demonstrates a tendency among police officers to deal with a changing and more complex work context by embracing a traditional work role.Research limitations/implications: The paper shows that reforms that add complexity may fail because of potential contradictions and the limited capacity and motivation of employees to deal with the complexity in the manner prescribed by NPM. Practical implications: The paper shows that the popular trend to adopt multi-dimensional forms of control (for instance the balanced-scorecard approach) may fail if there is a lack of consensus about what goals and measurement are important and/or there is a lack of dialogue about how the new goals should be implemented in practice.Originality/value: Research about NPM-reforms in the police sector is rare. The original contribution of this paper is to study NPM-reforms with a focus on the role of complexity in relation to resistance.

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