Utvecklingsarbete som styrteknik

– en analys av hur utvecklingsledare erfar makt i de regionala stöd- och samverkansstrukturerna


  • Harald Liebenstein Gegner Lunds kommun
  • Verner Denvall Socialhögskolan, Lunds universitet




state governance, governance technique, power, development work, social services


Development work as governance technique - an analysis of how development leaders experience power in Swedish regional support and cooperation structures.

In this article, we study the experiences of power carried out by regional development leaders in Swedish regional support and cooperation structures (RSS) within the state’s governance of social services. The article answers two questions regarding: 1) the development leaders’ experiences of power in vertical and horizontal control rationalities in governmental knowledge management, and 2) the significance these experiences have for their understanding and comprehension of governance. The context is the national strategy on the knowledge management of social services. Knowledge management is exercised through interaction between the state, regional structures, government agencies, and RSS, implemented as a partnership.

Our analysis is based on a series of recurring group interviews carried out as research circles with six regional development leaders. The analysis model in the article is primarily based on concepts such as control rationality, social technologies, and the relational exercise of power as a manifestation of normative power through subtle forms of control.

The analysis reveals that the development leaders’ diverse experiences with power are shaped by the underlying governance rationalities in their operating context. In horizontal governance, they describe feeling a sense of participation and autonomy. In contrast, their experience of vertical governance is characterised by a feeling that someone else is in control. Their understanding of how power is constructed influences how they perform governance. They define governance as development, meaning a governance technique that allows for action and a sense of participation. We argue that development work should be considered a subtle social technology based on relational power, which organisations and professionals should recognise and put into concrete action.





Referera så här

Liebenstein Gegner, H. och Denvall, V. (2024) ”Utvecklingsarbete som styrteknik: – en analys av hur utvecklingsledare erfar makt i de regionala stöd- och samverkansstrukturerna”, Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, 30(3), s. 719–738. doi: 10.3384/SVT.2023.30.3.4496.