Att gestalta och omgestalta sitt ledarskap: verksamhetsnära chefer inom kommunal omsorgsverksamhet reflekterar över chefsroll och arbetets innehåll

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    The present doctoral thesis aimed to explore what it means to be a first-level manages in a Swedish municipal social care administration, seen from the managers’ perspective. The empirical data derives from a participative, constructivist project which intended to contribute to new practice-based knowledge and to the learning and development of the participating managers. The participating managers reflected over their work and their managerial role by the use of a combination of repertory grid interviews, personal diaries and group discussions. Qualitative descriptive phenomenological analyses of the extensive material painted a vivid and nuanced picture of their work situation and professional role. In Paper I the project and the used methods were described in detail. Short extracts of data illustrated the potential of the general approach of combining constructivist techniques in participative and action oriented projects. The first brief results illustrated by “A day in a team manager’s working life” and by three “leadership dilemmas”: The spider in the web; The border patrol; and The open door, presented a picture of the managers’ complex work situation and how they were stimulated to address the problems arising. Paper II showed the many facets of social care management, where six “faces” portrayed the complex managerial role. The results indicated that managers in this and other welfare organizations need to construe and re-construe their managerial role in order to balance the contrasting demands on their role, thereby ac-complishing a personal equilibrium. Paper III further explored the managers' leadership role ideal, grounded in the concept of care. Several aspects of the managers' work situation resulted, on their own or in conjunction, in difficul-ties fulfilling their caring leadership ideal. These difficulties of which the managers spoke were arranged into three distinct patterns: problems, dilemmas and paradoxes. The results gave insight of the nature of these difficulties, the implications which these might have on the managers, their staff and the delivery of service, and the discussed remedies. Taken together the results raises new questions about municipal managers’ abilities and possibilities to handle ideals and requirements which are difficult to consoli-date particularly in times or resource scarcity. Is it possible to be an at the same time caring and efficient manager? How can mangers’ options to handle the complexity of modern welfare organisations be strengthened?

    Original languageSwedish
    • Birgerstam, Pirjo, Supervisor, External person
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Psychology (501)


    • constructivist
    • dilemmas
    • leadership
    • phenomenology
    • role
    • social care
    • worksituation

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