Regionale endringer - nøkternhet, pragmatisme og status quo: En kvantitativ studie av holdninger til regionreformen blant fylkesadministrasjonenes ansatte
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This thesis seeks to understand the regional administrative employees' attitudes to the ongoing regional reform in Norway. The reform consists of two elements – the merge, both voluntary and by force, of counties, and the delegation of tasks and responsibilities in certain policy areas to the counties. Attitudes to this reform have been expressed by both politicians and the public through opinion polls. Less is known, however, of the views of those employed in the regional administrations, whom this reform will in many ways may affect. Through an original dataset consisting of 1301 respondents, the views of the employees have been statistically mapped. While the focus has mainly been on providing an understanding of their views through descriptive statistics, the study has also sought to understand what drives these preferences. The thesis establishes a theoretical understanding of the administrations, and draws upon recent research of regional administrative preferences in European regions. Through this, the employees are viewed as pragmatic and careful in their wishes for big policy changes. This view is largely confirmed by the employees and their attitudes to the regional reform. Overall, the employees are relatively consistent in their views between the counties, and appear to be careful, though pragmatic in their preferences – while still appearing to prefer the status quo arrangement between the three administrative levels (national, regional, local). Where there is a wish for more policy responsibility, it is primarily driven by individual factors generally, and the existing structures of the county administrations specifically.