Mellomledere – innflytelse og forpliktelse i en kommunesammenslåingsprosess
This study looks at the importance of middle managers in change processes, more specifically, in municipal merging processes. Middle managers are an important group when it comes to implementing changes, but there is relatively little literature on the influence and commitment of middle managers in such processes. The merging of municipalities is a reform that is a part of the centralization of the public sector that has taken place over time, and can be seen in the context of New Public Management (NPM). The study looks at reforms and the implementation of new organizational forms in a Norwegian context. In line with the development of NPM, it is expected that the middle managers will play a more strategic role during such change processes. This is a highly relevant topic as it can be expected that similar processes will also take place in the near future. The problem is analyzed through the power and opposition model of Falkum (2008). This decision model is especially adapted to Norwegian conditions where corporate democracy stands strong, and this is captured by the model through the opposition aspect. Qualitative research design has been used through interviews of key informants. The study is based on the influence of middle management in the municipal merger of Røyken, Asker and Hurum municipality, which from January 2020 is merged under Asker municipality. The study aims to answer the extent to which influence can have an impact on the midle managers commitment to implementing the reform. The study shows that middle managers expected a great deal of influence during this process, and that influence is important for middle managers' commitment to implementing the reform, especially at their own unit. Another factor is that the commitment of middle managers is in strong relationship with their role understanding of their position as a middle manager. The study shows that the middle managers did not oppose the decisions that were made, and that this may be related to a high degree of involvement and that commitment was significant.