The Paradox of Public Management - The Actions and Roles of the Public Manager in Enabling the Process of Networking in Social and Health Care for the Elderly

Katri Nykänen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


This study has its origin in both theoretical and practical demand for understanding the role of the public manager in networks and the management of elderly care services. Within this context the dissertation is a study into the paradox of public management through networks, their processes and management and has the aim to add to the existing theory of the public management and to the paradox of public management. The theoretical framework of this study has three focus points: The process of networking, the managerial actions during this process and the participation and roles of the public manager either as an active member in the network or as the public manager in either the sector or department level. To study the process of networking I conducted a dialogical action research that allowed me to create a model of the process of networking. Action research was a suitable research method to study management practices and the participation has been crucial in creating new concepts that describe what actually happens in the studied organizations and allowed creating a longitudinal model that combines theory and praxis This study adds to the existing theoretical and practical understanding by identifying and clarifying the role of the first actions in the organization to networking by emphasizing the role of the internal conditions to the later phases. I have included planning the process of networking and the implementing the solution and the network practices to the process, i.e. what happens inside the organization to create networks and to implement solutions created in a network. In these phases the emphasis is on the municipal organization while during the phases constructing the network and collaborating for the solution the emphasis is on the network. By paying attention to the phases of networking and to the organizational level of the public manager the results of this study challenge the earlier research that has assumed the public manager to take an active role in the process of networking as the network manager. At thebeginning the role of the public manager is the most instrumental to the success of networking and again at the last phase the role of the public manager is highlighted. The important role of the public manager during these two phases is created by the fact that these phases mainly take place in the organization. During the middle phases the network and the network manager are able to work more independently and the network manager take responcibility of the managerial actions. Enabling of the process of networking in the hierarchically organized public service production means both active participation in the networks and supporting the networking from the role of the public manager in the sector or department levels. The results indicate that the enabling of the process of networking is dynamic and requires the public manager to be flexible when it comes to the active participation and roles in the process.
Translated title of the contributionJulkisen johtamisen paradoksi, verkostoitumisen mahdollistaminen julkisen sektorin vanhuspalveluissa
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Möller, Kristian, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7782-6
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7783-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • public management
  • public sector
  • network management
  • networks
  • action research


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