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DARMA Annual Conference 2016:

The Administration Society

Anders Forssell, Uppsala University, Uppsala (Sweden)

Download Anders' presentation as PDF file...

The book "Administrationssamhället" (the Administration Society" was published in Sweden in late 2014, and attracted attention in mainstream media, e.g. Dagens Nyheter and Sveriges Radio. The book is a study of what public administration is, and which the most important trends are, concluding with recommendations for how administrative work should be organized. The title of the authors' own debate article in DN translates to "Break the evil trend and take control of bureaucracy".

One of the central findings of the study is that the balance between administrative tasks and administrative staff seems somehow to have been disturbed or even lost. Core staff reports a growing burden of documentation and reporting for purposes that may not always be evident. Everybody, including doctors, police detectives and university professors have become administrators...

The book concludes that some of the trends in current public (and probably private) administration and management leads to unintended and undesirable consequences: inefficiency (we do things the wrong way) and shifting of goals (we do the wrong things).

The book concludes that there are ways to counter the negative trends, one of them is an argument for professionalization of managers and administrators, i.e. very much in line with DARMA's bylaws and raison-d'etre.

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