A Swedish framework law has enabled integration between public agencies in vocational rehabilitation. With the support of this law, coordination associations can be formed to fund and organize joint activities. The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze how the law has been interpreted and translated into local coordination associations and how local institutional logics have developed to guide the organization of these associations.
Data was collected through observations of meetings within two coordination associations and supplemented with documents. The material was analyzed by compilation and examination of data from field notes, whereupon the most important aspects were crystallized and framed with institutional organization theory.
Two different translations of the law were seen in the associations studied: the association as an independent actor, and as an arena for its member organizations. Two subsequent institutional logics have developed, influencing decisions on autonomy, objectives and rationality for initiating and organizing in the two associations and their activities. The institutional logics are circular, further enhancing the different translations creating different forms of integration.
Both forms of integration are legitimate, but the different translations have created integration with different degrees of autonomy in relation to the member organizations. Only a long‐term analysis can show whether one form of integration is more functional than the other.
This article is based on an extensive material providing insights into a form of interorganizational integration which has been scarcely researched. The findings show how different translations can influence the integration of welfare services.
Andersson, J., Löfström, M., Bihari Axelsson, S. and Axelsson, R. (2012), "Actor or arena: contrasting translations of a law on interorganizational integration", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 778-793. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777261211277014Download as .RIS
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