Public Servants’ Values and Mental Mediatization – an Empirical Study of Swedish Local Government

Johan Sandén, Jaakko Turunen


Public servants’ value dispositions is a central theme of inquiry in Public Administration research. Various trends and reforms in the public sector, New Public Management, the audit society, marketisation and mediatization, for example are expected to affect these values. This article analyses whether, and in what ways, mediatization affects public servants’ values. Drawing on survey data from local government officials, we explore the mediatization thesis at the level of individual public servants using the concept of mental mediatization. Regarding their values, we empirically establish a dominance of organizational professionalism rather than democratic professionalism among local government public servants. We then analyze mediatization at the level of individual public servants in local government, in contrast to previous research which has focused on the mediatization of politics and central government. While finding an interesting gap between strong beliefs in, but little self-assessed impact of, mediatization, the article rejects an expected correlation between mental mediatization and public servants’ value dispositions.

Key words: local government, mediatization, mental mediatization, organisational professionalism, public servants’ values

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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