Department of Sociology

The ‘organizing’ of social and health services provided to persons with multiple needs

Primary investigator: Maricel Knechtel, MPhil.

This dissertation project is part of The Contract Organization: Individualization, Standardization and Conflicting Demands at Work, coordinated by Associate professor Michael Alvin. The background for these projects are the major changes that have been taken place at the workplace. Although these changes have been going on and been discussed for more than 30 years, they are still difficult to comprehend.

Alongside these changes, organizational life seems to have grown in complexity: performance requirements increase, work processes are more and more standardized, and systems become integrated.  Interaction across organizational boundaries seems to have become mandatory, being an important element in the transformation of the public sector. These developments appear at times abstruse and paradoxical. Those working within these systems might simultaneously experience an increased autonomy on the one hand, and a leeway limited by interaction and/or control- and management systems on the other.

This project seeks to shed light on how these changing and conflicting demands (technical, economic, professional, legal, humanitarian, political, etc.) within and outside the organization interact and/or compete with each other. Moreover, this project intend to map where these demands come from and which consequences they have for the organization, the workforce within them and third parties, i.e. clients, patients, etc.  

This project focus on the organizing of services that are provided to persons with multiple needs (patients with psychiatric diagnosis, addiction, financial problems, unemployment, etc.). By examining organizations "from the inside out" and “from below and up”, this project aims at identifying and follow the actual activities in the concrete client- and case processing, thus disentangling the organizational complexity outlined above.

The data for this project will include: interviews with clients, street-level bureaucrats, doctors, and significant others in the network of the respective client/patient, records and other documents, and other ethnographic data.

Grants: The project is funded via a grant from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE)  & a faculty financed doctoral position awarded to the Department of Sociology by Uppsala University’s Faculty of Social Sciences

Advisors: Associate professor Michael Alvin & prof. Rafael Lindqvist (both at Uppsala University)