Welfare Services in the Welfare Society
It is often said that welfare organisations are in constant need of change and development, among other things leading to new governance forms, more leadership and changed leadership, increased performance checks and quality measurement and the development of digital services. The public sector’s role as the sole supplier of welfare services has also changed. A market, or quasi-market, has emerged of private organisations offering welfare services as an alternative to public sector ones.
The changed circumstances of the production of welfare services places new and different demands on organisations, as well as on the people who are a part of them. Welfare employees are in a force field that shapes their everyday lives and generates contradictory expectations as regards professional practice, identity creation, and social relations.
Welfare services are based on an egalitarian principle and complex in nature. Typical of welfare services are elusive qualitative results or effects that do not make themselves visible until a long time after the service in question has been delivered. Welfare services also frequently involve many actors, and not least the citizen him-/herself as a user. It is thus not enough to see welfare services in separate contexts. Otherwise, the impression will be given that welfare services are less composite and that they are easier to govern, lead, and organise than they really are.
In this research theme, we are interested in welfare services, in welfare organisations, and in welfare work and its changed prerequisites and conditions. The aim of our research is to increase understanding, to expand on explanations, and to discuss the consequences of developments within these fields.