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date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Swedish public servants and the question whether they are to be considered as traditional bureaucrats or as “managers,” modeled after the private sector. The chapter shows that nowadays Swedish public servants can hardly be characterized as old-fashioned bureaucrats, but neither as fully fledged managers. Instead, they are generally best described as “private servants.” The privatization of the public servant is partly expressed by an alignment between the public and the private sector regarding the statutory regulation of working conditions. Also, New-Public-Management-inspired reforms have created a situation where public servants have come to regard the agencies as formal organizations in their own right. They tend to see themselves as just another worker in any organization, whether it be public or private. There is a limited, and declining, understanding of the specific requirements that are entailed by the position of public servant.

Keywords: New Public Management, privatization, background of public servants, recruitment policy, politicization, private servant

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