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Journal Article

Challenging Organizational Issues When Municipal Contact Centers are Implemented in Sweden  pp198-209

Irene Bernhard, Kerstin Grundén

© Dec 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp181 - 322

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Abstract

Abstract: Two case studies of the implementation of Contact Centers (CCs) in Swedish municipalities are compared and discussed from an organizational perspective. The research method was semi‑structured qualitative interviews with different personnel c ategories in both municipalities. Several challenging organizational issues for management and employees were identified. The implementation strategies varied between the cases and affected the pace of implementation, attitudes and motivation, the menta l constructs and understanding of the implementation. The financing of the CCs and recruitment strategies created problems, but in somewhat different ways and different phases of the process in each case. The potential of using registered information as a source for planning and decision‑making was not fully utilized in the municipal organizations, although some statistics were produced. In both cases there was a combination of formal and informal learning strategies and flexible co‑operation among the employees in the CCs which contributed to continuous learning processes and a good, co‑operative working climate. There was a need for continuous updating of skills in both cases, but with slightly different focus, related to the organization of the wor k. The organization in response groups required more specialist competence, compared with the organization without response groups, which required more general competence. Two challenges for the case administrators in the back offices were to adapt to a more process‑oriented organization of their work and to co‑operate more with their colleagues both in the back office and at the CC. They now had the possibility to plan their administrative work in a better way than before, but some administrators miss ed the previous spontaneous contacts with citizens. Initially, many case administrators were afraid of losing their jobs and work tasks to CCs, contributing to negative attitudes towards CC and hampering the learning process in taking part in the impleme ntation process.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Contact Centers, New Public Management, implementation, e-government, municipalities, MOA model

 

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