COMA is a cross-departmental center representing a collaboration between Department of Politics and Society & Department of Sociology and Social Work, but including members from other departments as well. The objective of the center is to generate cutting edge scientific knowledge about the conditions and opportunities for managing organizational change, innovation and improvement in the public sector from both a local, a national and an international perspective.
COMA researchers share an interest in theories of organizations, public administration and leadership. We use a plurality of recent and classical theories, concepts and models from these traditions. The following concepts show some often-used theoretical frameworks and concepts in our research: Neo-institutional theory – especially the Scandinavian version of sociological institutionalism, but also historical and economical institutionalism; management theories; Culture theories; Theories of professionalization; Inter-organizational network theories; Theories of organizational change and decision-making; theories concerning digitalization and digital era governance (DEG); New Public Governance (NPG) and inter-organizational collaboration; New Public Management, Marketization and Performance Management; Evaluation of the impact of the implementation of novel interventions.
COMA researchers use a plurality of both qualitative and quantitative methods to enhance knowledge. Often rich case studies are the preferred method, but large quantitative studies are also used as well as mixed methods designs utilizing the entire range of social science methods. We conduct both basic and applied research. In both cases we conduct research designed to contribute to both theory and practice.
The focus and normative contributions of the research within COMA are, for instance, identification of public actors’ interpretations, disruptions between sectors, levels and professions’ rationalities and domains as well as changes in practices in connection with new ideas and models. Furthermore, we focus on the development of new organizational, managerial and administrative methods and models adapted to the public sector’s special characteristics: e.g. politicization, complexity and public sphere.