The public financed welfare services in Sweden are expected to challenge the public sector as we know. In essence, we are becoming older people and fewer younger people, as in many other western European countries. This demographic shift raises total real costs of the current level of public services in a way that is unlikely to be met merely by increased productivity, whether public or private. The public sector, and not least at the local government level, thus needs to change.
In this area of PUMAR research, we ask questions about what local government ”success” means. In private firms, sales and profits rate performance. What are the equivalents in the municipalities? What could it be? The management control of local government is furthermore acknowledged as a variable. Deducing financial performance to geographical and demographical conditions turns a blind eye to the impact managers and elected politicians may have on both financial performance and the quantity and quality of for example municipal goods and services. What constitutes ”successful” public management, how do we recognize it and is it possible to improve it?
Theory-wise, ideas in the fields of strategy, management control, learning organizations and organizational culture are used to describe, analyze and develop current management practices in the Swedish public sector.