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“Shared management responsibility does not in of itself lead to improved administrative support”

2019-10-20

REVIEW. Jörgen Tholin’s review includes a number of recommendations which are now being looked over and discussed by University Management. 

“We have already agreed that shared responsibility for management does not, in of itself, lead to improved administrative support,” says Wallmark.

The context for Kerstin Tham’s and Susanne Wallmark’s clarification is the suggestion — presented by Tholin in his review of Joint University Administration and Services — of implementing matrix management, where certain aspects of line managers’ responsibilities would be delegated to administrative managers at faculties.

Were it to implemented, the recommendation entails some employees from departments within Joint University Administration and Services (gemensamt verksamhetsstöd) being stationed at faculties (either full or part-time) under the leadership of administrative managers. These managers would also be responsible for the employees’ work environment and staff appraisals.

Tholin’s matrix management model is one of the initiatives suggested in his rapport outlining improved administrative support.

“Susanne and I have great respect for faculties’ need for closer administrative support. This is why we need to collectively create good relations and meeting places in order to ensure that day to day work functions in the best possible way at our faculties and institutions,” says Tham.

At the same time, the Vice-Chancellor and the University Director are clear that the current challenge in improving administrative support will require several different measures and approaches to achieve the desired effect. However, they do not believe that parts of Joint University Administration and Services should work under shared leadership — as suggested in Tholin's review.

“We will now, among other things, continue to work on the improvement measures that have already been initiated, for example that we now have an administrative manager at each faculty,” says Wallmark.

She also explains that parts of Joint University Administration and Services are already working within a type of matrix management structure, if this is defined as employees being assigned tasks by more than one manager or supervisor.

“For instance, this currently applies to employees in the University Executive Office and the Finance Department, many of whom spend some of their working hours at a faculty,” says Wallmark.

“We support employees within administrative departments being stationed at a faculty and getting assigned everyday tasks from someone other than their manager. However, we do not believe in delegating away managerial responsibilities.”

The University Management Group held a meeting last week where they had a preliminary discussion about Tholin’s report and how the University should proceed in improving administrative support. Additionally, the Administrative Managers Group were also visited by Tholin and delved further into these issues.

Text: Per M Eriksson