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Emma Ek Österberg

Senior Lecturer

School of Public
Visiting address
Sprängkullsgatan 19
41123 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 712
40530 Göteborg

About Emma Ek Österberg

Emma Ek Österberg is an associate professor in public administration. Her research interests concern governance and organization in the public sector, often with a focus on administrative policy reforms and their consequences. Emma has, among other things, studied procurement, market formation and various forms of public sector auditing. In recent years, she has participated in research projects on labor market integration, social procurement, the organization of transport policy and audit in elderly care.

Ongoing research projects

Changing roles, emerging networks: Local governments as employer, procurer and entrepreneur in labour market integration

Labour market integration of foreign-born persons is a key challenge both for integration policies and for the organising of future working-life. A large number of local labour market integration initiatives have been developed from bottom-up in recent years, led by municipalities in collaboration with public organizations, companies and non-profits; a phenomenon that is still understudied. This project aims at examining the changing roles of the local government in creating and scaling up novel initiatives for labour market integration, as well as the construction of emergent networks among them. Head of project: Patrik Zapata. Financed by the Swedish Research Council 2020-2023

Organising labour market integration of immigrants: theory and practice
This multidisciplinary research programme aims at investigating labour market integration initiatives directed at immigrants, from the perspective of contemporary organisation theory. The project has its roots in practice-based approaches to labour market integration. Thus, its aim is to study how initiatives intended to support labour market integration of refugees and other immigrants work in everyday practice: how they are made sense of by integrators and by the immigrants, and how they are organised with the help of a variety of ideas, people, objects and activities. Programme director: Andreas Diedrich (programme website). Financed by Forte 2017-2022

Previous projects (selection)

Organizing for auditing

We live in a society that has become organized around audit, but where auditing processes and their consequences have not properly been integrated into our thinking about governance and democracy. This is problematic since auditing is likely to have significant ramifications on state performance and state legitimacy. The overall aim of this project is to develop an understanding of how auditing has been organized in the Swedish state and the consequences of this institutional development on democracy and governance. The project draws on, and integrates, two theoretical traditions: institutional organization theory and historical institutionalism. Projektledare: Bengt Jacobsson, Jon Pierre, Göran Sundström. Finansierat av Riksbankens jubileumsfond.

The Swedish Transport Administration - a modern state authority?

How modern can a government agency become, if it still wants to be an authority? This project studies the Swedish Transport Administration's attempt to realize the idea of ​​being a modern organization. The notion that state authorities operate in the service of both citizens and the business community permeates the Swedish Transport Administration. The agency neither designs nor builds, but procures such services from private companies. It is market ideas that prevail, and the agency sees itself as a partner to the business community. In the project, we analyze the Swedish Transport Administration's efforts to be a refined purchaser, to be responsive in its planning and to be active in EU work and how these ambitions are packaged. The project is interdisciplinary and includes researchers in business administration, political science, public administration and linguistics. Project leaders: Bengt Jacobsson and Göran Sundström.

Teaching and supervising

Emma is involved in teaching, supervision and examination at the doctoral, master's and bachelor's level, primarily in organization, management accounting, public audit. She also teaches on courses for practitioners, including the course "State inspection in theory and practice".