Making sense of formal arrangements in practice - the case of the Investment Fund for Rural Areas
07 / 2008 - 06 / 2012
The public sector is characterised by the division of authorisation and tasks between different institutions and layers. Due to internal or external developments, this division can be reviewed and revised leading to new formal arrangements on how to organise public processes. A recent and extensive Dutch example is the Investment Fund for Rural Areas (Investeringsbudget Landelijk Gebied, ILG), in which essential tasks and responsibilities are to shift from the national level to the provinces, essentially changing the institutional relation between them.
Such formal arrangements are put in practice by civil servants, albeit not one-to-one. Civil servants have to make sense of the formal arrangements and integrate them into a usually highly complex context. The question is how this sensemaking process passes off. Special attention will be paid on the newly to develop relations between the national and provincial civil servants involved, since these relations are expected to influence the sensemaking process and vice versa. The answer will allow for inferences for the institutional level.
Few studies have paid attention on how civil servants in their day- to-day practice make sense of formal arrangements. However, neither of them has put special attention on changing relations in it, nor on the inferences for the institutional level
Therefore, the research objective is:
- to get a better understanding of the sensemaking proces process of civil servants in translating formal arrangements into a practical context and changing relations it; - to distil inferences from this for the institutional level; level; - to make recommendations for further implementing the ILG an ILG and similar schemes in the future.