Systematic quality work in Swedish schools

Ulf Lundström


This article analyses the intentions and internal logic of a systematic quality work programme in Swedish schools as an example of institutionalization of an international super-standard in large public organizations. A programme theory analysis is used to illuminate the intentions, inner logic, involved actors, possible limitations and underlying assumptions of the evaluation system, which together constitute the systematic quality work. What is realistically achievable is also highlighted and analysed in relation to current research and the welfare liberal, and social democratic education policy perspectives expressed in the National curriculum. The programme analysis indicates an ambitious, all-embracing, and ever-present evaluation system and exposes inherent potential contradictions. The programme could foster improvement and mirrors the distribution of responsibilities that characterizes Swedish school governance, which implies that how the programme is enacted in schools will be decisive for its results. The potential of the programme in practice is discussed in relation to the varying local context’s inherent risks and dilemmas, concerning governance, reductionism, constitutive effects, and working conditions.

Full Text: PDF

Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

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

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