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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2011

Virpi Sillanpää

This paper aims to identify the focal elements of performance in Finnish welfare service organisations, how performance is measured in welfare services, and what are

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the focal elements of performance in Finnish welfare service organisations, how performance is measured in welfare services, and what are management needs regarding the development of performance measurement in the sector.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the relevant performance management literature of welfare services is reviewed, then interviews with 15 managers of Finnish welfare service organisations in public, nonprofit and for‐profit sectors are reported.

Findings

The paper identifies the key elements of performance in Finnish welfare services. The results of the research indicate that Finnish welfare service organisations are relatively active in their performance measurement. Development needs relate to acquiring more systematic performance measurement approaches and new measures for the quality and long‐term effects of services.

Practical implications

Research elaborates the concept of performance in welfare services, thus enabling practitioners to analyse and develop their organisations' performance. The summary of current measurement practices and development needs in current practices serves to develop suitable performance management tools for welfare services.

Originality/value

In welfare services, performance management is a rather complex issue. Research on the topic, especially that on nonprofit, for‐profit and public Finnish welfare service organisations. is meager. This paper provides new information about the issue in Finnish welfare services.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

John Storm Pedersen and Adrian Wilkinson

The purpose of this paper is to: first, explain why a new model of the provision of welfare services to citizens arises from the digital society; second explore some core…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to: first, explain why a new model of the provision of welfare services to citizens arises from the digital society; second explore some core elements of the competition between the new model of the provision of welfare services and the classic ideal model of the professionals’ provision of welfare services; third, suggest why it is most likely that the two models of the provision of services are combined into a symbiotic co-evolution scenario; and fourth, examine why and how this symbiotic co-evolution scenario results in new participatory spaces for the main actors associated with the provision of welfare services.

Design/methodology/approach

The review of the literature examines how the new model for the provision of welfare services facilitated by big data challenges the traditional professional model for the provision of welfare services. The authors use the Danish case to illustrate a number of themes related to this looking at the hospital sector as an example.

Findings

The proposition is that a symbiotic co-evolution scenario will emerge. A mix of the classic ideal model and practice of the service professionals’ provision of services and the digital society’s model of the provision of services is the most likely scenario in the years to come. Furthermore, Data-driven management (DDM) as an integrated key element in a symbiotic co-evolution creates (opens up) participatory environments and spaces for the main actors and agents associated with the provision of welfare services to the citizens.

Research limitations/implications

DDM’s impact on the provision of welfare services is still being realised and worked out, and more empirical research is needed before it is possible to point at the most likely scenario. However, according to the authors’ analytical framework, the institutional logics perspective, as presented in Section 2, a symbiotic co-evolution is most likely such that DDM will constitute a new logic within the provision of welfare services on the basis of which citizens as end-users could be provided with welfare services, but it is not likely that the new logic of DDM can displace the classic service professionals’ model of the provision of welfare services. Therefore, the new logic of DDM will be combined with and integrated into the existing logics within service provision, such as the Weberian bureaucracy, the Street-Level Bureaucracy, the New Public Governance and the Market. In spite of this, DDM can successfully be promoted by international management consulting firms, as a management concept which can remedy all the problems of the classic service professionals’ model of the provision of welfare services to citizens.

Practical implications

As a consequence of this, new relationships among professionals, data analytics, (middle) managers and citizens will be created regarding the provision of welfare services. Considering the new participatory environments and spaces and the new relationships among the classic service professionals, the data analytics, the (middle) managers and the citizens as end-users, the provision of welfare services may become an arena for negotiation of a new future model of the provision of welfare services to citizens.

Originality/value

The digital society has emerged from and developed further via: digitising, online information in almost real time, algorithms, data-informed decision-making processes, DDM and, ultimately, big data. The authors expect to see further digitising, more sophisticated algorithms and more big data. The authors suggest that a new model of the provision of welfare services to citizens will emerge from the development of the digital society. The authors also suggest that this new model will compete with the classic model of the provision of welfare services.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 38 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 22 July 2013

Virpi Sillanpää

Earlier research highlights the need for the welfare service sector to measure the impacts of their services. However, it seems that the welfare services lack measures to…

Abstract

Purpose

Earlier research highlights the need for the welfare service sector to measure the impacts of their services. However, it seems that the welfare services lack measures to show their long-term effects and impacts. This paper aims to present a framework to measure the multidimensional impacts of welfare service innovations and report the empirical results from two case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

In the first part of the paper, the impact measurement literature is reviewed and a framework for measuring the impacts of welfare services is presented. The empirical part of the paper reports the application of the framework in two cases for measuring the impacts of interventions in welfare services in Finland. The aim of the case studies was to assess and illustrate the usefulness of the framework designed.

Findings

The framework proposed in the research may serve as a practical tool for decision-makers for assessing the impacts of different services and service innovations in the welfare service sector. This type of assessment is needed, for example, when new service innovations are designed and budgeted for.

Originality/value

This research introduces a framework for measuring the impacts of welfare services at different levels. In addition, the paper provides information about the measurement process and challenges related to the implementation of impact measurement.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 62 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Book part
Publication date: 25 February 2021

Els-Marie Anbäcken, Anna-Lena Almqvist, Carl Johansson, Kazushige Kinugasa, Miho Obata, Jinhee Hyun, Jinsook Lee and Young Joon Park

Purpose: The aim is to explore how family relations are affected by societal changes in relation to informal and formal caregiving and self-determination of older adults.…

Abstract

Purpose: The aim is to explore how family relations are affected by societal changes in relation to informal and formal caregiving and self-determination of older adults.

Design/methodology/approach: Care managers (CMs)/social workers (SWs) (N = 124) participated in a comparative vignette study including Japan, South Korea, and Sweden. Systems theory was used.

Findings: Japanese CMs/SWs clearly describe their efforts to create networks in a relational way between formal and informal actors in the community. South Korean CMs/SWs balance between suggesting interventions to support daily life at home or a move to a nursing home, often acknowledging the family as the main caregiver. In Sweden, CMs/SWs highlight the juridical element in meeting the older adult and the interventions offered, and families primarily give social support. Regarding self-determination, the Japanese priority is for CMs/SWs to harmonize within the family and the community. South Korean CMs/SWs express ambivalent attitudes to older adults’ capability for self-determination in the intersection between formal and family care. Swedish CMs/SWs adhere to the older adult’s self-determination, while acknowledging the role of the family in persuading the older adult to accept interventions. The results suggest emerging defamilialization in South Korea, while tendencies to refamilialization are noticed in Japan and Sweden, albeit in different ways.

Research limitations/implications: In translation, nuances may be lost. A focus on changing families shows that country-specific details in care services have been reduced. For future research, perspectives of “care” need to be studied on different levels.

Originality/value: Using one vignette in three countries with different welfare regimes, discussing changing views on families’, communities’ and societal caregiving is unique. This captures changes in policy, influencing re- and defamilialization.

Details

Aging and the Family: Understanding Changes in Structural and Relationship Dynamics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-491-5

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2011

Teppo Kröger

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the changes that have taken place in the central regulation of social care in Finland since the 1970s. The changes in vertical…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the changes that have taken place in the central regulation of social care in Finland since the 1970s. The changes in vertical central‐local relations are discussed in the context of economic and welfare state development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a case study, applying the concept of “the Nordic welfare municipality” to the case of Finland. With this concept, the author refers to the inherently contradictory character of the Nordic model of welfare governance: to a system that emphasises local self‐government but that, at the same time, perceives regional harmonisation as imperative.

Findings

After strong central control during the most intensive construction period of the Finnish welfare state in the 1970s and 1980s, a radical decentralisation reform was implemented in 1993. However, since the early 2000s pressure for centralisation has increased again as emerging regional inequalities in care service provisions came under criticism.

Originality/value

The paper identifies a cycle of decentralisation and recentralisation that reflects the fundamental discrepancy between the maxims of local autonomy and regional equality that are both formative elements of local governance within the Nordic welfare model.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 13 August 2018

Karen R. Fisher, Xiaoyi Zhang and Max Alston

Some social policy theorists assert that East Asia has a distinct social welfare regime that due to the influence of Confucian values relies on families more than in other…

Abstract

Purpose

Some social policy theorists assert that East Asia has a distinct social welfare regime that due to the influence of Confucian values relies on families more than in other countries. This theorisation has been questioned, partly because it is a static, reductive generalisation. The purpose of this paper is to ask whether this characterisation is relevant to aged care services in Shanghai.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses data from ageing profile statistics, policy documents and ethnographic fieldwork to examine Shanghai aged care services.

Findings

These data show a growing reliance and preference for state aged care service provision to complement family care. It finds that changes in Shanghai aged care services in the last ten years have moved towards a model with similar patterns in high-income countries. It suggests that differences in the service system that were attributed to Confucian values were more likely due to the degree of economic development and internationalisation.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature by re-examining the structure of Shanghai’s welfare regime in the context of the dynamic nature of aged care services and preferences of older people.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 38 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 19 July 2021

Marco Brydolf-Horwitz and Katherine Beckett

A growing body of work suggests that welfare and punishment should be understood as alternative, yet interconnected ways of governing poor and marginalized populations…

Abstract

A growing body of work suggests that welfare and punishment should be understood as alternative, yet interconnected ways of governing poor and marginalized populations. While there is considerable evidence of a punitive turn in welfare and penal institutions over the past half century, recent studies show that welfare and carceral institutions increasingly comanage millions of people caught at the intersection of the welfare and penal sectors. The growth of “mass supervision” and the expansion of the social services sector help explain the blurring of welfare and punishment in the United States in daily practice. We suggest that these developments complicate the idea of an institutional trade-off and contend that welfare and punishment are best understood along a continuum of state management in which poor and socially marginalized populations are subjected to varying degrees of support, surveillance, and sanction. In presenting the punishment–welfare continuum, we pay particular attention to the “murky middle” between the two spheres: an interinstitutional space that has emerged in the context of mass supervision and a social services–centric safety net. We show that people caught in the “murky middle” receive some social supports and services, but also face pervasive surveillance and control and must adapt to the tangle of obligations and requirements in ways that both extend punishment and limit their ability to successfully participate in mainstream institutions.

Details

The Politics of Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-363-0

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2013

Minna Kaarakainen, Sanna Suomalainen and Virva Hyttinen

The purpose of this study is to investigate the Finnish welfare state from the point of view of the production and funding of care services. The authors examine the views…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the Finnish welfare state from the point of view of the production and funding of care services. The authors examine the views of different generations as to which agency should be responsible for providing care services, and how such services should be financed.

Design/methodology/approach

The data used in the study was gathered in May 2011 in Finland, informants were aged 18 and 74 (n=1,011). Statistical methods used were analysis of variance (ANOVA), cross tabulation and multinomial logistic regression analysis (MLRA).

Findings

The authors’ results show that most of the respondents hoped to be able to take care of themselves in their senior years. If this were impossible, the public sector was seen as the primary service provider. As expected, most of the respondents thought that the service system should be funded with tax revenue. Nevertheless, the authors’ results show that younger people are more willing than older people to take personal responsibility for funding the care services they need in their old age.

Originality/value

The research findings indicate that in the future respect and the role of individual preparedness will be stronger. The fact that younger generations react seriously to individual preparedness may be vital for the whole system since public economic resources are limited. At the same time, research results exert pressure on decision‐makers and current systems to create new, innovative options for funding and organising services.

Details

Working with Older People, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

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Article
Publication date: 13 January 2012

Antti Lönnqvist and Harri Laihonen

The purpose of this paper is to examine productivity at the level of a welfare service system. This approach aims at optimizing the performance of the whole system and to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine productivity at the level of a welfare service system. This approach aims at optimizing the performance of the whole system and to avoid sub‐optimizing the production of individual services or organizations. The paper also aims to develop a definition for the concept of welfare service system productivity and demonstrate its applicability.

Design/methodology/approach

First, a literature‐based definition of welfare service system productivity is produced. This definition is applied empirically in a case service system. Empirical data were collected by interviewing a total of 17 managers either in the Social Service Department (City of Helsinki, Finland) or in external service provider organizations.

Findings

The findings show that the system‐level productivity concept is a challenging phenomenon in practice. The practitioners representing different parts of the system could not easily see things the same way. This study also shows that the concept can be applied as an analytical tool. The key benefit of lifting the level of analysis from organizational to system level is that new kinds of challenges and areas for improvement are revealed.

Practical implications

Despite the conceptual nature of the paper, the purpose is to comprise a managerially relevant approach that helps to increase understanding about the issues affecting system‐level productivity and to identify the potential for productivity improvements in a welfare service system (e.g. by locating productivity barriers).

Originality/value

The existing literature on public sector productivity is mainly concentrated on individual organizations whereas system‐level approach is given little attention.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 61 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2011

Ingeborg Marie Helgeland

Purpose – Young people exhibiting serious behavior problems represent an enormous challenge for municipal child welfare services in Norway. In working with these…

Abstract

Purpose – Young people exhibiting serious behavior problems represent an enormous challenge for municipal child welfare services in Norway. In working with these youngsters, it is vital to create opportunities for them to participate in the decisions affecting their lives. The study aims to explore the dilemmas involving issues of participation on the one side and protection on the other: it is one where the child welfare worker is being required, on the one hand, to provide youths with an opportunity to participate in decisions affecting them while at the same time being required to protect those youths in their care from harming themselves in various ways. These two concerns of participation and protection are spelled out specifically in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children of which Norway is a signatory.

Methodology – This study draws from a qualitative reanalysis of interview data from a 15-year longitudinal study of 85 child welfare clients in Norway. They were followed up at three points in time: first when they became clients (age 14–15), next when they were young adults (age 20), and finally when they were 30 years old. All of these 85 informants had initially come to the attention of child protection authorities owing to the severity of their behavior problems.

Findings – The chapter describes how these young people experienced both participation and protection of the child welfare services at the time they were provided and later on when they had become adults. One important finding of the study is that, as adults, their opinions had changed and they then believed that the protection usually in the form of guardianship earlier provided to them as youngsters had been beneficial to them.

Details

The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-075-9

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