Gaining Legitimacy as a Public Official: The Case of Supportive Employee Attitudes to the Standardization of Work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The standardization of work processes is a common feature of the public administration, aiming at both efficiency and equal treatment of citizens. Combining this standardization with employee motivation is considered a challenge. This challenge is explored, based on a survey to 261 social insurance officers (SIOs) at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Results reveal that, contrary to expectations, 73 per cent of these officials perceived the standardized protocols as supportive, rather than burdening. Justifications were codified in order to identify factors affecting these attitudes. Four categories emerged. These factors are discussed and it is concluded that the standardization of work increased professional status, by providing with legitimacy and authority. However, in order to ensure compliance and increase professional status, better opportunities for officials to influence protocols and contribute to the shared knowledge base are required.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
  • Economics and Business


  • street-level bureaucrat, public official, professionalism, Standardization of work, social insurance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-552
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch