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Making work invisible: New public management and operational work in critical infrastructure sectors

Abstract

Based on a study of reliability consequences of new public management (NPM) reforms in
Norwegian critical infrastructure sectors, this article suggests that the discourse of work found in
NPM renders essential aspects of operational work invisible – including practices that are known
to be of importance for reliability. We identify two such organizationally ‘invisible’ characteristics
of operational work: the ever ongoing situational coordination required for keeping a water supply
system or an electricity grid running, and the aggregating operational history within which this
happens. In the reorganized infrastructure sectors, these crucial aspects of operational work fit
poorly in market oriented organizational models and control mechanisms. More generally, our
analysis contributes to the understanding of how some types of work fit poorly within the discourse
of work found in NPM.

Category

Academic article

Client

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 220756

Language

English

Author(s)

  • Petter Grytten Almklov
  • Stian Antonsen

Affiliation

  • NTNU Social Research
  • SINTEF Digital / Software Engineering, Safety and Security

Year

2014

Published in

Public Administration

ISSN

0033-3298

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons

Volume

92

Issue

2

Page(s)

477 - 492

View this publication at Cristin