Department of Business Administration

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Explaining Public Management on a broad scale

Published: 2021-09-21

Course world premiere, brand new book, pod cast and new cases about policies. And it's all about Public Management: Meet some of the people behind KEFU and Pumar, two very active, productive and closely related organisations at LUSEM.

Mikael Hellström and Ulf Ramberg are looking forward to use the new book on Public management in the two new courses.

”It's world premiere today!” 

What Ulf Ramberg, Associate professor at Department of Business Administration and one of the driving forces behind both KEFU and Pumar, is referring to is a brand new course, explaining and introducing Public management.

”People connected to KEFU network has been given the opportunity to develop two courses within Studiechansen for the Department of Business Administration and today we are launching the introductory course. The second one, ’Public management, Nordic experience’ will be launched later this fall. Our colleague Ola Mattisson, course leader for the two courses, has been heavily involved in this work,” explains Mikael Hellström, Lecturer at Department of Business Administration.

The two Public management courses are credit bearing and given online via Canvas. Ulf and Mikael have noticed a great interest in the courses and are satisfied with the application numbers. These new courses are far from the only ones developed:

"Together with LUCE we have developed two courses about Innovation and governance in the public sector. One of the courses is given in cooperation with K2 and the other in cooperation with IIIEE,” Ulf says. 

KEFU and Pumar, what's what 

KEFU was in the beginning a short for Rådet för kommunalekonomisk forskning och utbildning (Council for Municipal Economic Research and Education), in fact the abbreviation is so established nowadays that it is the only name used externally.

Pumar is short for Public Management Research and is an arena where the research can be shown. 

KEFU is not a research group in the established sense, it’s more an arena where practitioners and researchers can meet and discuss common issues. It initiates and supports research and education that can be applied in governance and control of Skåne's local government. The work in KEFU is more empiric and oriented towards an external audience of professionals working in Region Skåne and the municipalities of Skåne, while Pumar is research related and oriented towards other researchers. The resources and people involved can be the same though:

”Pumar is a network at LUSEM containing our own researchers and can be said to be an arena where our public sector research can be shown, made visible. We also have a couple of researchers from other universities but they have worked at LUSEM before. We collaborate in projects with similar research groups in Sweden like CKS at Linköping University. Such a project can be ongoing for up to six years!" Mikael says.

The unique thing about KEFU is the practical research they conduct, which is not very common: 

”The research that the KEFU board grants is a mixture of what the board judges as practical current and relevant issues to be researched and if the applicant encounters these issues with relevant methods and theories. That practioners are in majority is, if not unique, special and not so common. Researchers interested in governance and control of local government can always apply for KEFU research grants.”

”Its is also rather unique that KEFU has been around since 1984. Region Skåne, Skåne's municipalities and LUSEM's long-term support have made it possible for KEFU to establish an infrastructure for research on local government. In the last ten years alone, KEFU-funded research has contributed to LUSEM's researchers receiving more than 36 million in external research grants,” Ulf explains.

KEFU-podden, one way of reaching out

Through different channels people can take part of all this knowledge and get latest news about KEFU and Pumar. Mikael again:

”We reach out through our courses and conferences and we have started a pod cast, 'KEFU-podden'. We also have a newsletter that is sent out to our 7 000 subscribers. KEFU publishes reports and awards an essay prize each year. We also host our annual 'KEFU day' which this year will be given in November on the theme: Conversion – in thought and action.”

Ulf adds: ”We want to reach out and we want people to apply for the money KEFU makes available each year as research grants.”

Co-written book with University of Edinburgh

A brand new new book has recently been launched, Managing public services. Making informed choices, is a publication in which many colleagues in the Pumar network are co-authors. Editors are Ola Mattisson, Senior lecturer at Department of Business Administration and Irvine Lapsley, Professor of Accounting Emeritus at University of Edinburgh Business School and Honorary doctor at LUSEM. The book is a good example of LUSEM collaboration:

”Around 10 colleagues from LUSEM have contributed and written articles in the book,” Mikael explains. 

”We are also very pleased that we can use our new book as course literature for current and future courses,” Ulf says. 

Case for understanding policies change

Another ongoing interesting project is the collaboration between KEFU and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, about improving policy implementation.

”To be able to do that we will create cases with the purpose of understanding how the dialogue between key people like the Chairman of the City Council, Chairman of the Regional Board and others, works. We will enable this through educational materials that they can use, in terms of practical cases. Highlighting things like ’This can be difficult as policies change’,” Ulf desrcibes.

Public management studies and research seem to be a current affair at LUSEM and the cooperation within KEFU and PUMAR definitely makes it relevant in many places.