Civil Servant, Machine or Customer? - A Case on the Effects of the Swedish Government Service Centre
This case is an example of the Swedish Government Service Centre as a political project to rearrange and reinvent the public sector. It is a revelatory case, describing a process which begun quite recently, introducing the importance for researchers and policymakers to follow and be aware of what issues this rearrangement of public administration raises for the Swedish welfare state. It is an embedded unit of analysis within a case. The case concerns the instalment of the Swedish Government Service Centre. The embedded unit of analysis is the consequences for payroll consultants who were transferred from the Univer-sity of Gothenburg to the Swedish Government Service Centre; how the change has af-fected them and their work, and effects on the employees at the university. Data has been collected through document reviews and qualitative interviews. The theory used is classical sociological theory on work, the state as a facilitator of neoliberal values and projects, and the digitalisation of public administration. The study shows that the payroll consultant pro-fession is de-professionalised and that important social aspects of work are lost. This causes many challenges for civil servants in general. One of them is that collective agreements, which used to be well known and strictly followed by the payroll consultants, now, are more unknown and thereby lose their position as guiding and regulating agreements.