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Welfare Technologies and Governance: Trust, Control and Service Quality

This was a project dealing with the introduction of welfare technologies in Swedish municipalities and regions. In many cases, welfare technologies aim at increasing service quality, but can also facilitate monitoring and control of employees.

Project manager
Project participants
Mårten Blix, IFN

Lovisa Persson, IFN and Kristianstad University

Linda Moberg, Uppsala University

The concept of New Public Management is often used as a generic term for public sector reform that contributes to increased monitoring and control. According to theoretical research, there is a risk that increased control weakens the intrinsic motivation of employees. Furthermore, some research suggests that intrinsic motivation plays a larger role in the public than in the private sector. The potential conflict between control and so-called Public Service Motivation must be studied in depth with empirical methods.

Using the above perspective, the following questions were posed about the introduction, implementation and consequences of welfare technologies in Swedish municipalities and regions:

  • When and why are welfare technologies introduced?
  • How are the technologies implemented?
  • What are the consequences for users, employees and taxpayers?
  • How can successful and failed examples of the introduction of welfare technologies be characterized?

In particular, the introduction of digital time measurement in home was studied using a survey to collect information on the timing of the introduction in each municipality. Since the system was introduced at different points in time it is possible to identify effects on service quality, costs and working conditions. 

The project was funded by a grant from Forte: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare.