Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen
Copenhagen Business School · Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy

Professor

About

85
Publications
8,484
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
984
Citations
Introduction
Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen currently works at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School. Niels does research in Organizational Studies, Political Communication and Public Administration. His current project is about immunmechanism in the welfare state

Publications

Publications (85)
Chapter
Full-text available
In the chapter we analyse the discursive figure embedded in the educational event, First Lego League. We show that the articulation of the child is not a matter of seeing the child as a potential that needs to be shaped. Instead, the child is seen as a potential, which must be potentialized. We take a closer look at this discursive figure and exami...
Article
Taking a point of departure in the paradoxical fact that the increase in educational knowledge leads to an increase in uncertainty for educational organisations, this article explores how uncertainty and contingency have increasingly become an integral part of school governance. The article draws on Niklas Luhmann’s theory of ‘World Society’ as a f...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides a historical perspective on the relations between public organizations and function systems using Denmark as case. Current concepts like ‘public value’, ‘co-creation’, ‘relational coordination’ and ‘inter-professional management’ promises new coherence and shared communities in the single public organization. The present artic...
Article
Full-text available
Ifølge professor Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen fra Institut for Ledelse, Politik og Filosofi på CBS kan det tilsyneladende enkle udsagn-at borgeren er vigtigst og skal saettes først-rumme nogle store vanskeligheder. For selvom mennesker forstår hinanden, så er de ansat i systemer, der ikke forstår hinanden. Derfor kan skolelaereren, psykologen, socialrå...
Article
Full-text available
Max Weber excluded the phenomenon of emotions from the idea of rational bureaucracy. Modern European organizational theories are on the other hand almost obsessed by emotions and especially affect. Emotion re‐entered organizational theory around the limited topic of ‘emotional labour’, but today, passion is generally praised as a driver in successf...
Article
Full-text available
Many studies have documented how welfare service and professional practices increasingly depend upon the willingness of the citizen to engage actively in dialogues with professionals. This, however, produces the problem of how to deal with citizens who are silent. The framework of Motivational Interviewing presents itself as one solution to this pr...
Book
Full-text available
Denne bog handler om, hvordan vi fra sociologien kan analysere afhængigheder og forbindelser mellem radikalt forskellige iagttagere såsom organisationer, algoritmer, mennesker og organismer. I bogen foreslår Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen at bruge begreberne medie og form som analysestrategi. Medier repræsenterer forskellige horisonter af løst koblede m...
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary discourses of management are full of encouragements to 'expect the unexpected' and to celebrate 'the future of the future'. Many new public managerial technologies of change-such as steering Labs, future games, and managerial performance arts-promise the co-creative 'potentialisation' of employees, citizens and organisations. This pape...
Chapter
Full-text available
Should we drop critique just because of its impossibility? This chapter tries to find a way to eat the cake and have it too, insisting in the meaningfulness of having a critical practice taking as point of departure the impossibility of critique. First, we discuss the classical concept of critique and how it ran into problems as demonstrated in man...
Chapter
Was bedeutet es, im öffentlichen Sektor so zu führen, dass seine vielfältigen Aktivitäten und Elemente horizontal koordiniert werden? Wie ist es möglich, eine Form der hierarchischen Einheit aufrechtzuerhalten, obwohl die Komplexität des öffentlichen Sektors zunimmt? Steigert das zunehmende Vertrauen in Selbststeuerung und Selbstverwaltung auch die...
Chapter
Wir stiegen in dieses Buch mit der Frage ein: „Wenn Management der Fall ist, was liegt dahinter?“ Wir können diese Frage nun beantworten: die Auflösung der Prämissen des Managements.
Chapter
Dieses Kapitel stellt unsere letzte erkundende Perspektive dar, indem wir uns nun auf die Beziehung zwischen der öffentlichen Verwaltung und dem Bürger konzentrieren. Wir behaupten, dass die Selbstverwirklichung der Bürger zum Gegenstand der öffentlichen Wohlfahrtsverwaltung geworden ist. Bürger und die Aktivierung ihrer Ressourcen werden zunehmend...
Chapter
Geht es, die Gesellschaft von außerhalb der Gesellschaft zu steuern? Das heutige politische System tut so, als würde es dies tun. Vor allem dann, wenn beispielsweise die USA und wechselnde Bündnispartner in militärische Einsätze verwickelt sind. War nicht der Irakkrieg der Versuch, eine neue Gesellschaftsordnung von außen zu erzwingen? Im besten Fa...
Chapter
Wir begannen hoch über den Wolken mit einer allgemeinen Perspektive auf die Ausdifferenzierung der Gesellschaft und zoomten dann immer näher heran. Zuerst warfen wir einen Blick auf die allgemeine Entwicklung der öffentlichen Verwaltung, beobachteten dann aus der Perspektive der einzelnen Organisationen heraus und schließlich nahmen wir die Grenze...
Chapter
Wie wählen einzelne Wohlfahrtsorganisationen zwischen konfligierenden Interessen und priorisieren sie? Jeder Manager einer Einrichtung weiß, dass wichtige Entscheidungen das Zusammenspiel verschiedener Gründe erfordern. Idealerweise fügen sich ökonomische, politische und fachliche Interessen zu einer perfekten Einheit zusammen, aber das ist nicht i...
Chapter
Was braucht es, um Wohlfahrtsleistungen zu innovieren und zu reimaginieren? Was würde es bedeuten, die Qualität der Wohlfahrtsleistungen zu steigern, indem die einzelnen Bürger und ihre Bedürfnisse ins Zentrum der Bemühungen gerückt werden? Wie können wir die Gewinne neuer Wohlfahrtstechnologien ernten? Jede dieser Fragen definiert Wohlfahrtseinric...
Chapter
Wir haben die allmähliche Ausdifferenzierung der Gesellschaft beschrieben. Wir haben Veränderungen der Zeitvorstellungen in Organisationen durch die „Logik der Anpassungsfähigkeit“ aufgezeigt. Wir haben auch eine Beschreibung der Auflösung hierarchischer Strukturen im öffentlichen Sektor und der Entwicklung in Richtung einer recht komplexen, Potent...
Chapter
Wie können Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter so gesteuert werden, dass sie innovativ werden? Wie können Führungskräfte des öffentlichen Sektors Erwartungen an das Selbst-Management der Mitarbeiter kommunizieren, wenn sich die Erwartungen an die Organisation beständig verändern? Wie können alle Beteiligten Erwartungen bilden, wenn nur noch das Unerwa...
Chapter
Was bedeutet es, den öffentlichen Sektor zu steuern, ohne die Möglichkeiten und Herausforderungen der Zukunft zu kennen? Wie kann in eine unbekannte und unsichere Zukunft investiert werden? Wie können zugleich spezifische Strategien für Organisationen geplant und ihre Fähigkeit gesteigert werden, sich schnell an unvorhergesehene Entwicklungen anzup...
Article
In management and organization history, the concept of the decision has often been understood as an ahistorical phenomenon. The changing contexts, technologies, and subjects of decision-making have been thoroughly studied, but decision itself is rarely made an object of historical investigation. Addressing the question of how the very form of the d...
Article
This article proposes a new theoretical concept of second-order contracts for a better understanding of how the state fulfills its role as metagovernor. While the literature does an adequate job of developing the concept of metagovernance, it has been less effective in showing how metagovernance establishes a new type of relationship between govern...
Article
The citizen is currently presumed to lack both the will to take responsibility and the imagination to see what his or her responsibility may include. This "lack of responsibility" becomes an object of intervention because function systems see themselves as depending on the citizens: The educational system sees itself as depending on the student to...
Chapter
Full-text available
Borgerens personlige ansvar ses i disse år som noget, der bør fremmes af den velfærdsprofessionelle. Arbejdsløse skal tage ansvar for deres egen jobsituation, elever skal tage ansvar for egen læring, patienter skal tage ansvar for egen sundhed. I kapitlet undersøger vi med sundhed som eksempel, hvad der sker med det personlige ansvar, når det gøres...
Article
A number of articles have shown that the relationship between organisation and employee has become an intimate relationship. This is indeed the case in Denmark. This article shows how the problem of lay-off is discursively rearticulated in the context of passion as a problem of intimate breaks. Lay-off becomes a tricky problem of breaking up in a l...
Article
Full-text available
I løbet af de sidste 10-15 er skolen begyndt at forvente af forældrene, at de tager et udefineret og grænseløst personligt ansvar for deres børn som skolebørn. Det personlige ansvar bliver dermed genstand for offentlig styring på nye måder. I denne artikel undersøger vi, hvordan begrebet ansvar påvirkes af denne styring. Vi peger på en forskydning...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores how organisational play becomes a managerial tool to increase and benefit from undecidability. The article draws on Niklas Luhmann's concept of decision and on Gregory Bateson's theory of play to create a conceptual framework for analysing the relation between decision and undecidability. With an empirical point of departure i...
Chapter
We argue that hyper responsibility emerges as a new form of personal responsibility equivalent to the emergence of heterophony. We focus on the challenges for the health system and how it ascribes responsibility to the citizen. One of the current challenges for the health system is that it depends on non-health factors as it recognizes that the ind...
Article
This article studies the implications of current attempts by organizations to adapt to a world of constant change by introducing the notion of playful organizational membership. To this end we conduct a brief semantic history of organizational play and argue that when organizations play, employees are expected to engage in playful exploration of al...
Article
Over the past 10–15 years, state-funded schools have begun to require parents to assume an undefined and infinite personal responsibility. In this article, we investigate how schools organize responsibility games to respond to this challenge and how these games affect the concept of responsibility. We point to a dislocation in the way parents are a...
Chapter
There is a growing interest in conceptual history in management and organization studies. The work of Reinhart Koselleck and Paul Riceour is most often cited in this regard, and in this article I want to suggest adding the work of Niklas Luhmann to the mix. Koselleck and Luhmann, as it happened, had offices quite close to each other at the Universi...
Book
In this thought-provoking book Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen uses a unique combination of deconstruction, systems theory and discourse theory to critically discuss topics such as the management of feelings, partnerships as second order promises, and work-life balance as an immune defense against over-socialized employees. He assesses the parallels betwe...
Chapter
Full-text available
The idea of partnerships has united the right and left of the political spectrum, the public sector with voluntary organizations, voluntary organizations with private companies, and private companies with the public sector. In general, partnership is construed in opposition to contracts. Contracts are often criticized for being short-sighted, infle...
Chapter
New Public Management (NPM) has established itself as the paradigm to watch when it comes to understanding changes in the public sector. It is generally agreed that the normative purpose of NPM is to improve the market orientation, public choice, competition and cost efficiency of public administration. In order to achieve this purpose, NPM normall...
Chapter
In this chapter I seek to analyse how the form of contract is reshaped to work as a public steering medium in relation to citizens. In private law a contract is defined as a voluntary agreement binding on individual freedom. Freedom and personal responsibility are presumed in private contracting. However, today’s public sector is making a misreadin...
Chapter
Full-text available
Es gibt mindestens drei Merkmale, die auch ein soziologisch ungeschulter Beobachter intuitiv mit einer Organisation verbindet. Zum einen kann man der Organisation eigene Zwecke zuordnen, die sie mit den vereinten und dadurch potenzierten Kräften ihrer Mitglieder verfolgt. Unter diesem Aspekt hat man Organisationen auch als Perfektionsformen soziale...
Article
This article explores Niklas Luhmann's semantic analytical strategy. With Luhmann we get a sociologically informed conceptual history in which Koselleck's guiding distinction between conceptual history and social history is replaced with a distinction between semantic and social structure, where the latter should be interpreted as the form of commu...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Social Sciences currently exist in the light of constructivism. A number of Social scientists see themselves as different kinds of constructivists and the constructivist spectrum is broad, from Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann via Pierre Bourdieu to Michel Foucault and Niklas Luhmann. Why does constructivism have its break through now? In my vi...
Chapter
My own work taking departure in systems theory has to do with contemporary conditions public management and its changes within the last 70 years. I am interesting in a topic likes ‘citizen contracts’ because they express a new management ambition regarding citizenship and because this concept put classical distinctions of the legal state at stake s...
Article
Full-text available
Artiklen analyserer kampagnen: ”Leg dig sund”, som er tilrettelagt af Fødevarestyrelsen og Sundhedsstyrelsen. ”Leg dig sund” retter sig mod især udsatte familier og deres vilje, viden og handlekapacitet til at leve sundt. Centrum i artiklen er kampagnens kobling til leg. Hvordan kan det være, at leg står så centralt i kampagnen? Hvad har leg og kam...
Chapter
Creation games imply that organizational elements are created through play. What happens if play does not only apply to individual elements in organizations but also their constitutive boundaries? That is the question addressed in this chapter. The place where play with boundaries can be seen in the most radical form and with the greatest implicati...
Chapter
The question in this chapter is: In what ways are play, power and pedagogy coupled in creation games? The previous chapter necessitates an enquiry into the relation between play and power. Does power define play or is it the other way around so that power is now played into existence? But it also seems necessary to include the logic of pedagogy in...
Chapter
We can begin a second-order observation with this question: How have play and games made their way into organizations? The first time I came across examples of play and games for organizations, I was convinced that I had encountered something entirely new. But nothing is ever entirely new. There are only displacements.
Chapter
The emergence of social creation games raises a range of questions. The question that I will focus on is: In what ways do creation games implicate organizational conditions for the creation of organizational unity and integration?
Chapter
Full-text available
This book is based on a specific epistemology and a specific concept of observation, which embraces a programme about observing observations as observations.
Chapter
In my analysis I have shown the way in which, first of all, a new organizational language has emerged, which articulates play as an important element in modern organization and management. This language did not develop overnight. It has evolved gradually since the mid-1800s but has also undergone significant shifts. From the 1860s on we can observe...
Article
Full-text available
In this article we explore the language of passion, which has evolved to be a significant element in the descriptions of late modern job life. Niklas Luhman’s theory of social communication systems frames the analysis. It allows us to make a clear distinction between semantics and systems and enables us to track the empirical developments in semant...
Article
Full-text available
A new form of contracts has emerged between public administration and the single citizen within the last 15 years. The present article will attempt to situate citizens' contracts in a larger systemic framework, in order to understand more fully an increasingly complex public administration that is making new and contradictory demands on public mana...
Chapter
This book discusses the three epistemological interests, i.e., concerns the production of contingency; concretistic interest in the description of the constitution of the operational form of a partnership; and a diagnostic interest, which is about diagnosing the space of possibility of communicative practice. These epistemological interests are pur...
Chapter
What has distinguished the concept of partnerships since the middle-1990s has been that partnerhips are articulated as a form of cross-sectoral cooperation. Today’s partnerships not only cut across company boundaries or lines of business, but they also cross back and forth between the public, private, and voluntary sectors, and across policy areas...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the means by which different systems of communication collide in the development of outsourcing and contracts across the public and private sectors. It differentiates the organisational systems from the function ones. Unlike the function systems, organisational systems do not have their own symbolically generalised media as w...
Chapter
First-order contracts make external reference to an externally defined legal order. Second-order contracts create preconditions and premises for future promises. First-order contracts focus on exchange. The issue is what is to be exchanged, for example, money for building maintenance. In contrast, second-order contracts focus on development. These...
Chapter
Partnerships represent a semantics, that is, a reservoir of concepts that are currently available to an organisation for the description of and communication about interorganisational relations. This chapter discusses semantic analysis, which focuses on how a partnership is formed as a concept, including the relation between concept and counterconc...
Chapter
This chapter provides a semantic analysis of contract semantics in legal theory. It discusses whether and how legal-contract theory forms concepts that can be considered to be equivalent to the partnership concept and to collaborations involving many function systems. The chapter highlights three ‘clusters’ of theory. The first is Ian R. Macneil’s...
Chapter
Contracts represent a specific form of communication. They are not established primarily between individuals but between systems of communication. This chapter presents a form analysis of contracts and provides the basis for the analysis of the specific partnership form of contracts. The analysis is based primarily on the works of Niklas Luhmann an...
Chapter
Partnerships can hardly be said to establish communities across boundaries, contrary to the ideals contained in the semantics of partnerships. However, they enable structural couplings between different function systems and with qualities that are significantly different from first-order contracts. Politics communicates about first-order contracts...
Chapter
This chapter explores the relation between contract and organisation associated with partnerships, putting important constitutive conditions at stake. As it is, second-order contracts seem to be able to simultaneously function as a contract and as an organisation. An organisation represents a system for decision making. A contract represents a rela...
Book
Everyone is talking about partnerships: environmental partnerships, social partnerships, public-private partnerships, partnerships between NGOs in Europe and the third world. How did partnerships come to emerge almost everywhere and at almost the same time? What is the inner logic of partnerships? And at what point does that logic begin to break do...
Book
i>Beyond the Workfare State explores equality, discrimination and human rights in relation to employability and 'welfare-to-work' policies, bringing together a wide and distinctive range of illustrative studies that gives voice to a variety of potentially marginalised groups.
Article
Full-text available
The new practices of human resource management can be seen as an expression of management communication, which has become increasingly pedagogical. This article is based on Luhmann systems theory regarding second-order observation. The article tries to observe how management communications observe the self-observations of employees, and claims that...
Article
A critical debate on the concept of negotiated economy has to start from a mutual recognition of fundamental methodological and epistemological differences between the various research positions in the field. In reply to a recent critical comment by P. M. Christiansen on our use of the concept of negotiated economy, we argue that Christiansen not o...
Article
Full-text available
This article is about the emergence of new forms of active citizenry, empowerment, and self-help that meet in the so-called citizens’ contract. Based on Danish social policy, the article shows how the articulation of the citizen as ‘fellow citizen’ has led to the current contractualization of the relationship between the administration and the indi...
Article
Full-text available
The paper advances the hypothesis that the discursive introduction of 'emotions' has profound effects on the constitutional level of organisations. Our reflections depart from Luhmann's systems theory, where the concept of emotions refers to the communicatively inaccessible consciousness, whereas 'organisation' refers to a communication system repr...
Article
Full-text available
If New Public Management (NPM) offers new tools for managing public sector organizations, then we must also attempt to observe the effects of these tools and address these observations to managers. This is the ambition of this article, which tries to shed light on some of the perennial problems associated with New Public Management. To this end it...
Chapter
One of the major academic discussions of the 1990s has concerned the relation between politics and administration. The themes of these debates have been many and varied. It has been suggested that the level of politics should concentrate on the general direction of policy — the ‘big picture’ — and leave matters of detail and implementation to the a...
Article
Zusammenfassung Zeit einiger Zeit findet im öffentlichen Sektor eine Entwicklung statt, die mit dem Schlagwort des Vertrags bezeichnet werden kann; gekennzeichnet ist diese Entwicklung zunächst durch Ausgliederung und neuerdings durch die Entwicklung interner Verträge. Die neueste Form stellen Verträge zwischen der Verwaltung und den Bürgern dar, b...
Article
Full-text available
For many years, private companies have been intuitively understood as part of the economy in the same way that political parties are considered a part of politics and museums are considered a part of art. Today, concepts are linked together in ways that create immediate wonder. We have coupled concepts such as “the political organisation”, “the...
Article
Full-text available
Jeg vil i denne artikel forsøge at stille skarpt på fænomenet beslutning. Jeg vil undersøge, hvilke muligheder det giver at stille beslutningsproblematikken op inden for en kommunikationsteoretisk systemteori. Kommunikationsteori sættes i denne sammenhæng i modsætning til handlingsteori. Det drejer sig om at se beslutning som kommunikation i stedet...
Article
Full-text available
This article addresses the phenomenon of decision. I want to examine the possibilities of defining the question of decision within a communication-theoretical systems theory. In this context communication theory is defined in opposition to theory of action. The aim is to view decisions as communication rather than action and therefore also to free...
Article
Full-text available
This article is about the effects of the semantics "complexity and change" used for intraorganizational communication about the relation between organization and environment. Our hypothesis is that communications along this semantic will have profound effects on the organization as to steering as it undermines the idea of organizational unity and e...
Article
Full-text available
One of the major discussions of the 1990s has been about the relation between politics and administration. The themes of the discussions have been many and varied. It has been suggested that the level of politics should concentrate on the general political outlining and entrust the remaining to the administration. It has been criticised that pol...
Article
Full-text available
The main argument in this paper is that private companies become an integral part of the political system when public services are contracted out. Private companies begin to compete for influence on political goals to strengthen their positions for future tenders. Firms that are subcontractors to the public sector find that everyday financial decis...
Article
Full-text available
A current topic and goal in public health care is to make the citizens take a personal responsibility for their own health. Health games and play is one method used for this purpose. The point we like to make in the article is that may be these new forms of play deconstruct personal responsibility rather than enables it. Maybe games of health turn...
Article
The departure of this article is a Danish public campaign called 'Healthy through play'. The campaign is organized around a cartoon figure named Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum is the campaign's description of itself, but it also becomes a semantic of the State. With Yum-Yum, the state is turned into a cartoon character with long plushy ears, widely spaced eyes,...

Network

Cited By