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Management Structure Matters: An Analysis of what determines Orientations towards Reputation among Government Agencies in Sweden

Conference contribution
Authors Magnus Fredriksson
Published in European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) general conference. Oslo, Norway: 6-9 September 2017
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Links https://ecpr.eu/Events/EventDetails...
https://ecpr.eu/Events/PaperDetails...
Keywords Government agencies, Reputation management, Sweden
Subject categories Communication Studies, Public Administration Studies

Abstract

In this paper I present the results from a study which investigates what motivates governmental agencies in Sweden to orientate towards reputation in their communication. Earlier research on reputation management has provided valuable insights when it comes to the processes, consequences and challenges that arise when public sector organizations become oriented towards reputation. However, we still lack good explanations for why certain organizations are more oriented than. There is also a lack of studies investigating organizations which are a more obvious part of the political system and (in many cases) with a less evident role in relation to the general public – a good description of the conditions for most governmental agencies. Previous research has mostly focused on hospitals, schools, universities and other types of public sector organizations offering services in close connection to the public, but at a safe distance from their principals. This paper analyses Swedish government agencies on the basis of a quantitative content analysis of their policy and strategy documents for communication. It investigates the importance of six intellectually contending, but not mutually exclusive, explanations including task, media attention, political attention, geographical location, management structure, and organizational capacity. In the end, it becomes evident that governmental agencies, in general, are no exception when it comes to reputation – as most other types of public sector organization, they have a strong orientation towards reputation. It also becomes evident that the agencies’ management structure is the most important determinant. This suggests that the new public reforms are highly relevant if we want to understand the adaptation of reputation, but not without the support from the growing group of career managers who are individually held accountable

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