Ethical Tensions in Municipality Management




ethical tensions, municipal management, leadership tensions, public administration, Sweden


This study investigates ethical tension situations that municipal managers face in their everyday working life by identifying the occurrence and nature of such situations, their contextual and organizational dependence and what resources are available to handle and/or solve them. The study is based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 21 municipal managers from various sectors. In total, 222 ethical tension situations were revealed. The main finding of the study is the identification of the importance of contextual and organizational dependencies, regarding not only managers’ experience of ethical tensions but also the resolution of such tensions. In the paper a contextual model of managerial tensions is presented that gives account to the different logics, value systems, norms, regulations, and ethics, that make up the complex world in which municipal managers find themselves and need to handle.


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Author Biographies

Stefan Tengblad, University of Gothenburg

Stefan Tengblad is professor of Human Resource Management at the University of Gothenburg. Over the years, he has published extensively in areas such as managerial work, organizational resilience and work organization. Publications have appeared in Oxford Univ Press, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Studies, Journal of Business Ethics, Scandinavian Journal of Management, Economic and Industrial Democracy among others.

Margareta Oudhuis, University of Borås

Margareta Oudhuis is a professor emerita of Work Science at the University of Borås. Her research interests cover a wide range of areas such as work organization, organizational resilience, sport management and leadership issues. She is an author and co-author of a number of books as well as articles published in Palgrave, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Economict and Industrial Democracy among others.



How to Cite

Tengblad, S., & Oudhuis, M. (2024). Ethical Tensions in Municipality Management. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, 28(2), 58–75.



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