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Bridging Boundaries in the Borderland of Bureaucracies: Individual Impact on Organisational Adaption to Demanding Situations in Civil and Military Contexts
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Ledarskapscentrum.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to reach a deeper understanding of how boundaryspanners are bridging boundaries between uniformed bureaucraticorganisations and their environment, characterised by demanding conditions.The main part of this thesis is based upon empirical data gathered through 71interviews with Swedish civil and military informants from several uniformedorganisations. Four articles have been included in this thesis in order to addressthe overarching aim.

The results show that boundary spanners are crucial to the adaption ofuniformed organisations to demanding conditions. A number of aspects thatare included in the process of organisational adaption have been identified. Oneof the tasks is to balance between structuring and improvisation where much isat stake. The other task is to create confidence among the involved actors andcontribute in different ways to create a sense of symmetry between partners.Finally, the third task for boundary spanners is to recognise improvised rolessuch as spontaneous links in order to maintain stressful conditions and bridge agap in the bureaucratic organisation.

The present thesis contributes to sociological theory of emotions, disastermanagement and military studies through a common denominator, namely thedemanding context. Taken together, the findings increase awareness of howorganisations act towards their environments and how individuals, especiallyboundary spanners, adapt the organisation to its environment. For leaders andmanagers, it is important to make decisions, provide mandates andauthorisation, as well as invest confidence in boundary spanners. Thehierarchical chain may remain in existence, but it can be made shorter and moretransparent through this kind of knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad universitet , 2013. , 93 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 12
Keyword [en]
Uniformed organisations, bureaucratic organisations, rationality, adaption, systems theory, contingency, stressful environment, boundary spanners, civil-military relations, disaster management, emotional labour
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3788OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-3788DiVA: diva2:619263
Available from: 2013-05-02 Created: 2013-05-02 Last updated: 2013-08-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Structure versus freedom of action: Leadership during the rescue operation following the 2004 tsunami
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Structure versus freedom of action: Leadership during the rescue operation following the 2004 tsunami
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Emergency Management, ISSN 1471-4825, Vol. 7, no 3-4, 304-322 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical understanding of leadership during a complex rescue operation following a major disaster in a foreign country. The analysis followed a grounded theory approach. Seventeen informants from three Swedish authorities were interviewed on leadership in the emergency handling of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. A theoretical conceptualisation was developed which includes three superior categories: antecedent conditions, situational constraints and core aspects of leadership. Within the last-mentioned superior category a core variable was identified: a balance between the need for structure and the need for freedom. Leaders who strive to create structure at the expense of freedom of action are less inclined to delegate and more likely to wear themselves out. Conversely, those who strive to create great freedom of action bypass many links in the organisational chain, thus 'short-circuiting' the organisation as a whole.

Keyword
Collaboration, Decision-making, Disaster, Freedom of action, Leadership, Stress, Structure, Tsunami
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-989 (URN)
Available from: 2010-12-20 Created: 2010-12-20 Last updated: 2017-01-04Bibliographically approved
2. The inadequacy of an ordinary organization: Organisational adaptation to crisis through planned and spontaneous links
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The inadequacy of an ordinary organization: Organisational adaptation to crisis through planned and spontaneous links
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Organisational Behaviour, ISSN 1440-5377, Vol. 15, no 1, 87-102 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-1248 (URN)
Available from: 2011-06-20 Created: 2011-06-20 Last updated: 2017-01-04Bibliographically approved
3. The Inadequacy of Bureaucratic Organizations: Organizational Adaptation through Boundary Spanning in a Civil-Military Context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Inadequacy of Bureaucratic Organizations: Organizational Adaptation through Boundary Spanning in a Civil-Military Context
2012 (English)In: Res Militaris, ISSN 2265-6294, Vol. 3, no 1, 1-23 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Paris: , 2012
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3438 (URN)
Available from: 2013-01-17 Created: 2013-01-17 Last updated: 2013-08-07Bibliographically approved

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