Fresh research on public service innovation

INTEGRATE’s Mette Sønderskov, Rolf Rønning and Siv Magnussen have published a new article on public service innovation in Public Policy and Administration.


Innovation has been highlighted as a magic formula that can solve deep-seated, emerging complex social and economic problems in the public service sector. However, public innovation efforts face both drivers and barriers. Innovation depends on context, and currently different competing governance paradigms’ influence has attracted growing academic and political interest regarding the potential of public service innovation. Today, new public governance (NPG) has been suggested as an alternative paradigm to classic public administration (CPA) and new public management (NPM), as the focus of attention has shifted from traditional hierarchical forms of government and market-based competition strategies to interactive- and collaborative-based governance. In this paper, we discuss how elements from different governance paradigms interact, support and undermine one another in terms of innovation in hybrid organisations. Although hybridisation has been described in extant studies on administrative welfare reforms, it barely has been examined in the public innovation literature. This is a theoretical paper based on a scoping review; however, we use the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) as an illustrative case to explain how hybridisation may lead to both stimulations and perversions regarding the development, implementation and spread of public service innovation. Finally, the paper reflects on how public leaders can handle hybridity within their organisational units.

New research on social identites of impaired workers and professionals

Tone Alm Andreassen and Per Koren Solvang have published an article in Sociology of Health and Illness about the social identities invoked by mpaired workers and professionals in health care and employment services. It can be accessed HERE.


For persons with a long‐term illness or impairment, return‐to‐work decisions involve considerations about work capacity, opportunities in the labour market, the impact of injuries, further treatment requirements, physical and cognitive rehabilitation, and mental health recovery. These considerations are undertaken by the affected individuals as well as by professionals in health care and employment services. Drawing upon institutional theories of organisations, especially the understanding that institutional logics provide different social identities to injured individuals, we study rehabilitation processes following multi‐trauma or traumatic brain injury (TBI) within the Scandinavian welfare model. We identify which social identities are activated in professionals’ considerations and in the stories of the injured individuals. The aim is to understand how professionals’ reasoning about the clients’ problems influences return‐to‐work processes. Our primary finding is that the wageworker identity, invoked by the injured individuals themselves, is subordinated by the professionals to the logic of profession and the associated patient identity. Consequently, not only is impaired people’s anti‐discrimination right to reasonably adjusted work ignored, ignored is also a possible resource in the rehabilitation process. Additionally, individuals who view themselves as wageworkers tend to be left unserved.

Relevant research on social mobility

This article from John H. Goldthorpe examines the relationship between education and social mobility. He challenges the notion that education policy promot mobility, and suggests that it might be a «positional good» resisting a mobility regime. Full article can be read HERE.

Publication on co-creation

Flemming Larsen, member of our expert panel, has written an article in Journal of Social Policy with Dorte Caswell about co-creation in Danish municipalities titled «Co-Creation in an era of Welfare Conditionality – Lessons from Denmark». You can read the article HERE

Welfare conditionality, and the underlying understanding of unemployment because of lack of motivation, has been widely criticized. This article analyses if and how more co-created services can be a pathway to address some of these challenges. As Denmark currently is moving towards a softening of welfare conditionality for the vulnerable unemployed, and local authorities try to develop models ‘in between’ welfare conditionality and genuine user involvement, this constitute a good case for analysing this question. The analysis build on comprehensive ethnographic data from a four-year research- and innovation project in six Danish municipalities. The employment services in the project have tried to design new strategies involving clients in the development and implementation of services. Among other things, this includes developing integrated services, qualifying the meeting and the talk between front-line workers and clients, engaging the employer side and NGO’s outside the public services and promoting other measures to ensure real involvement of the citizens in the processes. The analysis lists some of the potentials and pitfalls in these innovative processes and reflects upon the feasibility of such new type of co-created services.

New publication on digital coping!

Eric Breit together with Cathrine Egeland, Ida B. Løberg, and Maria T. Røhnebæk have published the article Digital coping: How frontline workers cope with digital service encounters in Social Policy & Administration. You can read the full article HERE. Abstract below:

This article addresses how frontline workers cope when dealing with digitally mediated service encounters. It draws on a qualitative study of frontline workers’ experiences in an increasingly digitalised work environment in the context of employment assistance services. The material shows that digitalising service encounters leads to two overall types of change for frontline employees, and the article explores related coping responses. First, the technology leads to an increased availability of the frontline workers to the clients. This is coped with by handing over, or ‘outsourcing’, responsibilities to clients through digital platforms, and by reducing what is experienced as ‘noise’ related to incoming enquiries. Second, the technology leads to increased transparency of the service interactions, which is coped with by being careful about the content of client communications. The analysis of these changes and their related coping responses contributes to the research on digital public service encounters and highlights avenues for empirical studies and theoretical development within a topical, yet little studied, field.

New publication!

Our members keep publishing! Espen Dahl has just published and article with Thomas Lorentzen titled: «Social assistance dynamics in Norway revisited: A two‐decade prospective study of trajectories of young social assistance recipients«

The juicy title leads to an article revisiting earlier research on social assistance dynamics with a holistic life-course approach. You can read the full article HERE.


This article revisits earlier research on social assistance (SA) dynamics by applying a holistic life‐course approach, made possible by sequence analysis. We followed the life‐course over 20 years of young recipients of SA in Norway. The data material was derived from administrative data collected and linked by Statistics Norway. The study population was first‐time SA recipients aged 18–24 years in 1995. In addition to SA, spells of social security, schooling, work and earnings were examined. We found that SA plays a minor role over time, but that social security receipt constitutes an important trajectory for more than a quarter of the SA population. Education and work with medium earnings make up distinctly different and rather successful trajectories for about half of the SA population. Gender and early school‐leaving matter for trajectory affiliation. Women’s trajectories are to a greater extent than men’s characterised by unstable employment and low‐paid work.

INTEGRATE meeting 12.10.20

After a successful expert panel meeting, we now turn our attention to our next meeting. For this, we have invited guests outside of the core-research group to learn about relevant developments within the research field. These guests will get to present their work and learn more about what we do in INTEGRATE. We look forward to exciting presentations!

Expert Panel Meeting 15.09.20

On Tuesday 15.09.20 we will arrange our first wholly digital expert panel meeting in INTEGRATE! The program includes a key-note speech by professor Stephen P. Osborne on «Public innovation and marginalized groups», as well as two parallel sessions for discussions on ongoing research.

INTEGRATE look forward to this opportunity to meet with international peers and discuss our work.

Ph.D position in INTEGRATE

Do you want to be our colleague? INTEGRATE is seeking a new Ph.D-candidate candidate with a relevant background, for example, Sociology, Political Science, Public Administration, Organisation Science, Health Sciences, or Social Work.

The position belongs to the ‘Organizing for Outcome’ – O4O – project funded by the Research Council of Norway. The position is located at OsloMet’s Centre for the Study of Professions (SPS). Read more about the position HERE. The application deadline is 15.09.2020.

Spread the good news to potential candidates!

Har du lyst til å bli vår kollega? Vi søker en stipendiat til prosjektet ‘Organizing for Outcome’ – O4O med relevant bakgrunn i for eksempel sosiologi, statsvitenskap, offentlig administrasjon, organisasjonsvitenskap, helsefag eller sosialt arbeid.

Arbeidssted Senter for profesjonsstudier (SPS) på OsloMet. Du kan lese mer om stillingen HER. Søknadsfrist 15.09.2020.

Spre gjerne til aktuelle kandidater!