Bridging Boundaries in the Borderland of Bureaucracies Individual Impact on Organisational Adaption to Demanding Situations in Civil and Military Contexts
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this thesis is to reach a deeper understanding of how boundary spanners are bridging boundaries between uniformed bureaucratic organisations and their environment, characterised by demanding conditions.The main part of this thesis is based upon empirical data gathered through 71 interviews with Swedish civil and military informants from several uniformed organisations. Four articles have been included in this thesis in order to address the overarching aim.The results show that boundary spanners are crucial to the adaption of uniformed organisations to demanding conditions. A number of aspects that are included in the process of organisational adaption have been identified. One of the tasks is to balance between structuring and improvisation where much is at stake. The other task is to create confidence among the involved actors and contribute in different ways to create a sense of symmetry between partners. Finally, the third task for boundary spanners is to recognise improvised roles such as spontaneous links in order to maintain stressful conditions and bridge a gap in the bureaucratic organisation. The present thesis contributes to sociological theory of emotions, disaster management and military studies through a common denominator, namely the demanding context. Taken together, the findings increase awareness of how organisations act towards their environments and how individuals, especially boundary spanners, adapt the organisation to its environment. For leaders and managers, it is important to make decisions, provide mandates and authorisation, as well as invest confidence in boundary spanners. The hierarchical chain may remain in existence, but it can be made shorter and more transparent through this kind of knowledge.
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