The Roles and Networks of Local Civil Servants

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2007
End date: 31/12/2008
Funding: 1300000 SEK


The research on civil servants as independent and important actors has mostly focused on the state administration. Swedish public administration, however, can be characterized by at least two civil service cultures – a state culture and one based in the municipalities. This is partly the result of two very different historical contexts. The lack of knowledge about the civil servants within municipal administrations is problematic as this local public administration has a great impact on people’s daily lives.

This study addresses two main research questions. What links can be identified between how municipal civil servants view their own role, and their contacts with other actors? What consequences do their own interpretations of their role and their networks have for the ability of the municipal administrations to combine economic efficiency and democratic goals?

The study has four more specific aims: (1) To map municipal civil servants’ own understanding of their role in the civil service; (2) to use formalized network analysis to describe their contacts with other civil servants as well as other actors; (3) to identify mechanisms that can explain the existence or absence of a connection between role interpretation and personal network; and (4) to study the influence that civil servants’ own role interpretations and networks have on the performance of the municipal administrations, by linking the results from 1-3 to different measures of economic and democratic results.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:59