• Esben Lund Esmarch
  • Rolf Eg Klint Sørensen
  • Azra Dubicanac
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
Over the past decades, there has been a political focus on new methods of managing within the public sector. One of these methods, appropriately named “New Public Management” has, with its performance focus, influenced both the organization of public employment services and the professional practice of the frontline employees at the job centers.
A recently completed literature review from KORA reveals a number of dualities within the public employment services, as performance management can be implemented and expanded with different objectives.
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how frontline employees articulate the consequences of performance management with regards to both their maneuverability and their understanding of the profession.
To answer the problem statement, we start with a single case study and hold five qualitative semi-structured single-person interviews. In addition, we have chosen to include a number of documents that provide us with relevant and important background information about the case.
In this thesis, it has partly been our intention to scientifically test the complexity of the chosen case and we have sought to generalize analytically based on the patterns presented in the empirical dataset using an abductive research approach. In the interpretation of the variations that appear in the empirical dataset we have used a conceptional framework. Furthermore, the purpose of the thesis has been to contribute with relevant perspectives on how performance management affects the frontline employees’ articulations of their maneuverability and the forward-looking development. This dichotomic aim of the thesis is expressed in the problem statement where the analytics have referred to the importance of performance management on the frontline employees’ maneuverability and understanding of their profession.
Through the interaction of the abductive research process we have let the empirical data appear as is and considered empirical material in relation to relevant contextual and institutional conditions, while continuously incorporating selected theoretical concepts in the understanding and explanation of the patterns that appear in the empirical data.
The collected empirical data form the background of the analysis where the frontline employees’ articulations are subject to interpretation through the inclusion of organizational theory and the organizational translation process when political ideas and train of thought are to be implemented in the professional practice. Likewise, the informants’ experience themselves as torn between the organizational objectives and the professional autonomy are interpreted as well as how the frontline employees’ are handling the opposing pressure.
From the analysis we can conclude that performance management is not clearly affecting the frontline employees’ articulations of their approach towards practice in neither a positive nor negative direction. From the analysis it appears difficult for the frontline employees to articulate the performance-based focus as well as describe the importance of this in the practice. The analysis shows that the frontline employees articulate that the professional practice unfold as usually through, among other things, regulatory frameworks and not letting it become controlled from the performance-based focus. The social workers professional assessments has been formed and is negotiated through the daily interactions on the collective level. The profession theory had relatively limited potential in explaining the attitudes and experiences at the micro level through individual articulation as the frontline employees were struggling articulating how performance management affects their understanding of the profession.
Publication date31 May 2018
Number of pages108
ID: 280215734