Tjenestemannsorganisasjoner og nasjonal forvaltningspolitikk: Modernisering med en hånd på rattet og en fot på bremsen?
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This study is inspired by an international school of research that is theoretically informed and empirical oriented, combining political science and organization theory. The theme of the study is the relationship between the state employees` unions and administrative policy in Norway 1980 – 2004. The unions studied are the Norwegian Federation of State Employees` Unions (Statstjenestemannskartellet, LO Stat), the bargaining cartel for state employees in the Confederation of Vocational Unions (Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund – Seksjon stat, YS-S), and the Confederation of Academic and Professional Unions (Akademikernes Fellesorganisasjon, AF) representing people with higher education. Two questions are discussed: First, the extent to witch the unions responded to and had an impact on administrative policymaking through organized attention, participation and institutional talk. Secondly, the extent to which the results of administrative policymaking affected the unions themselves. The main focus is on the responses and activities of these organizations, which are viewed as institutions. The research questions whether the responses implied that the organizations were either active and aggressive, passive and reactive, or fellow player or opponent. The essential observation is that it would be inadequate to understand and explain the development, institutionalization and consequences of the administrative policy in the 1980s and 1990s without taking the responses of the unions into consideration. These organizations have actively affected the organizational frame, content and result of administrative policy along three dimensions, even if the political reality also were constructed through political diffusion, authorization and acceptance as a consequence of the passive responses of the unions. First, the unions have brought in a frame of interpretation that focuses on the political-democratic state in the political discourse, and emphasize political cooperation as one of several considerations. Secondly, all the unions contributed to the shaping of new and very important regulatory frames and guidelines for handling the restructuring of the state. This also included the establishment of the Norwegian Association of Public-Owned Enterprises (Arbeidsgiverforeningen NAVO). Thirdly, these organizations had a lasting focus on structural devolution. These dimensions were important in the construction of the political reality.The administrative policy also affected the unions themselves, constructing a turning point in the tension between stability and change in the new millennium. The relationship between the unions and this area of politics followed three very different lanes. LO Stat seems to be robust and stable, but might be exposed for privatisation from the inside. YS-S was dramatically changed as a result of the relationship. AF was partly wound up because of the encounter between the historical heritage, routines and inner life of that organization and properties of the policy area. Thus, the study shows great variations, both between the unions and across time. This count for the degree of impact and which dimensions they influenced, and also to what degree the administrative policy affected the unions. These variations, the visibility, degree of passiveness and active response have been discussed and explained through four varieties of institutional theory. These varieties are a routine perspective, an obligation perspective, an interpretation perspective and a strategic perspective. AF was perceived as the most passive organization, through its narrow self-understanding and routines for wage negotiations. YS-S is seen as the most obligation-oriented party, with increasing ambition as to be an important political actor. LO Stat, in turn, is viewed as the only of these organizations with strong traditions for being a political actor with access to an important political network.