Local government actors’ making sense of the financial crisis

Sara Brorström


This article examines what happened in local government organizations when they faced the financial crisis of 2008/2009, exploring actors’ perceptions of how the crisis affected local governments. It contributes to research into actions taken when organizations face financial crises, using a sensemaking approach, in accordance with the ideas of Karl Weick, as both a methodological tool and theoretical point of departure. The article concludes that, while the actors hesitated to call the 2008 financial situation a crisis, the situation did prompt organizational change. The crisis was described as an opportunity to be innovative and creative, but the described changes made tended to address old problems in old ways. The actors also pointed out that the crisis could still prompt change in local government organizations in the future.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413