Församlingen i granskningssamhället
Sammanfattning: The empirical aim of the thesis is to investigate what happens when global market-oriented models for auditing and quality assessment are taken up by local parishes. Particular attention is paid to the diaconal work of the parishes. The study is based on case studies where a number of parishes and auditing models provide the object of study. The thesis also has a theoretical aim: to test, in interaction with new institutional theory, complementary theoretical tools of analysis for the study of parishes and congregations. Control is nothing new for the church. But models for quality control and auditing taken from their context entitled New Public Management, are new in the practice of the church. A survey shows that parishes are restrictive about embracing new ideas on auditing and quality control. Opposition to new auditing concepts is both organizational and ideological. Top-down implementation is difficult because of the independence of the local parishes. Ideologically there is opposition to management techniques where the parish is seen as a business with religious experts producing services for their clients. At the same time parishes are, in their roles as employers, property owners and with responsibility for burial services etc, forced to provide reports to the relevant authorities. The case studies show that internal follow-up of the core activities of the parish is of an informal character. The exception is when social care activities are run in cooperation with other organizations. In such cases formal reporting is required. The translation and implementation of three auditing concepts (TQM, Balanced Scorecard and Social Audit) are studied in six parishes. The original focus on evaluation and measurement in the auditing concepts is seldom visible in practice in the diaconal work of the parishes. With assistance from new institutional theory it can be shown that the studied concepts bring with them norms of an “ideal organization”, the market based independent actor with control over its resources and boundaries. Even if an organizational concept is not institutionalized as a routine the parishes are exposed to its expectations. By adopting a concept such as Balanced Scorecard the Parish priest’s role as manager, with a leadership hierarchy and boundaries, is made clear. It is this rationality that the institutional surroundings, such as the national office for the working environment, seek. Actors from the surrounding “auditing society” contribute to a shifting of the focus for auditing and control in the Church of Sweden: from the beliefs and lives of the members to the resources and behaviour of the organization.
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